Largest Cat in New York: Samson the Maine Coon : If you have pets of your own and especially a cat, then you know how interesting and fascinating they are as pets. If you ask any cat lover why they love cats, they will be sure to give you about a million reasons as to why. Cats not only have a rich history but they are still quite mysterious even though many people try hard to understand them. We have managed to learn a few things about them, but it seems that there is still more to learn about our old furry partners.
It is general knowledge that cats have been a big part of human history, mainly due to the Egyptians worshipping them as Gods. Cats were revered in ancient Egypt so much that even they received the then proud tradition of mummification. Cats have become more domesticated since those times and are still revered but as precious pets and offer much entertainment on the internet. It is safe to say that cats have always intrigued humans and they have always found ways to love and admire them in different ways. Cats are still considered sacred in old Egyptian religions that are around to this day.
When talking about cats, we could not leave out the fact that they have been in the spotlight for many years now even gaining celebrity status through social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Many great cats have achieved following in devoted fans who love cats and adore their personality traits. Many cats have even broken world records for various reasons such as being the longest cat in the world; it went to a Maine Coon living in the UK named Ludo. Many have become celebrities just in their hometowns or cities. One such cat is Samson who is quite big in New York City, literally and figuratively.
Samson is a Maine Coon who lives in Brooklyn with his loving owner Jonathan Zurbel. Jonathan is a 42 years old social media strategist, music producer and DJ. The reason why Samson is so famous is that of his large size. Samson weighs a whopping 28 pounds. He is about 4 feet in length and is four years of age gaining the status of being the biggest of NYC. His size and weight are not because he is fat and simply eats too much; it is because he is a purebred Maine Coon, which is the largest cat breed in the world.
His enormous size had people amazed and shocked not only because he is quite big but because he is big even for a Maine Coon cat. Maine Coon males grow up to be about an average 15 to 25 pounds only according to a website dedicated to the breed called Maine Coon Fancy. This fact has Dr. Lisa Lippman, an established veterinarian in Manhattan, shocked as well. She has been quoted saying, “He is by far the biggest cat I’ve heard of, especially in New York City.” (Hoffman, 2016). She even mentioned how most cats she sees to are not more than around 10 pounds.
The owner, Zurbel, had this to say about his precious pet’s status “He’s the [largest] act in the city, and I welcome any challenges to step up.” (Hoffman, 2016). That shows how proud he is of Samson and how much he loves his unique standing in the society. But that is normal for any pet parent; they all love their pets unconditionally and do not think any different of them if there is something unique or exclusive about them.
The story of Samson’s adoption is very sweet. Samson was originally Zurbel’s brother’s cat whom he bought when he was just a kitten from a breeder in southern New Jersey area. The brother had to sadly give him up because of how his work schedule kept him busy. He knew he could not care for him and give him the attention he deserved. An average cat requires effort and attention, but because of his sheer size, Samson needed more. Because the cat was beloved by all, Jonathan stepped up to care for him and took him in as his own. Since then they have been together and have a lot of love for each other.
Samson is not a typical kitty, and so he behaves differently from other cats as well. He has more dog-like traits, which is amusing. Zurbel has mentioned how Samson loves to play fetch most of all like any other dog and follows him around from one room to another, lying down on the floor like a dog as well. Zurbel thinks that his quirks make him more adorable and precious which we wholeheartedly agree on. Samson is also very affectionate and friendly which means that when he gets attention from strangers, he loves it.
Samson does not particularly like being walked on a leash, so Zurbel has taken to wheeling him around on a green pet stroller around his neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. He, of course, gets noticed by people a lot while on the street, attracting a horde of photographers and fans wanting to pet him and wondering about his massive size. Zurbel said, “He draws crowds of photographers. People’s reactions are often, ‘Holy s - - t! Is that a cat? That’s a lion! Is it a bobcat?’” (Hoffman, 2016). This reaction is quite understandable because who would expect to see such a big cat out on the street so casually.
Samson loves the attention he gets from strangers, but his attitude remains warm and friendly. His fan following increased so much that Zurbel decided to create his Instagram profile. He regularly posts photos from Samson’s perspective and has gained about 123,000 followers. With such increase in fame, Zurbel mentioned how he knows that cats have ruled the internet for years now. People love seeing pictures and videos of cats online, so he thought it was perfect to create an online profile for him, which he was obviously correct about.
Pleased by the positive reaction he has received online from Samson’s many followers has, Zurbel had this to say, “[Followers] cannot believe it, but they also adore him. And that’s what I want, I want people to see a beautiful animal who is kind, tender, funny, sweet and a great companion and not just focus on his size. So I’m happy so many people adore him. He is so beautiful and majestic.” (Hirsh, 2016). So if you want to be one of those 123,000 followers being amused and amazed by Samson, then you can follow his profile @catstradamus on Instagram.
Cats can be a handful sometimes, but they can also be the easiest pets ever. They only need food, water and some petting. They do not require much in the way of maintenance, and that is a great quality about them. Some cats can be volatile or mean, but that is because they haven’t been trained well enough. If the owner spends time and effort into caring for their cat, then the results can be amazing. It is not a wonder that cats are second on the list of best house pets. Cats, even at their worst, cannot hurt you as much as a dog could. They rarely scare humans or kids, which is why many people prefer to have cats instead of dogs in a home with children.
The loving yet independent nature of cats is what makes them so adorable, and that is why Zurbel cannot even imagine being separated from Samson. He cares for him like a child, and that tends to create a connection that is robust and unyielding. Any pet owner feels the same way and cannot think about being away from their pets whether they have cats or any other animal. Many people even prefer the company of their pets instead of humans. And if you had a cat like Samson you would feel the same.
Most people get cats as pets because they are smaller and do not grow up to be as big as dogs. While that is true, there are many cat breeds out there that grow up quite big. Samson is a purebred Maine Coon, one of the largest breeds of cats. Other big breeds include Savannah, Ragdoll, Chausie, Ragamuffin, Norwegian Forest Cat, Siberian Cat, British Shorthair, Turkish Van, and American Bobtail. These breeds come from different parts of the world such as Russia, Asia, Scandinavia, UK, and Africa which means they are all exotic and unique in characteristics.
Caring for big cats is not a simple task. They require more attention and care than an ordinary cat. Samson is a laid-back pet but still needs more food and attention than a regular house pet. According to his owner, Samson goes through at least six cans of wet food in one day and many bags of dry food per week. It is not just food that he needs in large quantities. He also needs at least 4 pounds of litter every week. Zurbel likes to keep Samson looking neat and gets him groomed regularly for about $120 every couple of months. That is expensive, but it is because of his size and how much hair he has.
Of course, for Zurbel, all of this trouble is worth it for the adorable Samson. He assures that Samson is a good pet; very sweet and affectionate. He also shared some interesting facts about Samson, like how he loves to play fetch, likes to watch running water, hates drones, gives amazing massages and loves the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” and can watch it for one straight hour. It seems that Samson is a lovely pet and friend which is what any pet owner could ask for. Our pets become so close to us that they feel more like family or our best friend than just a pet.
Even though Samson is a huge cat, he does not have any health problems, which is fantastic. Samson is big in size because it is natural not because he is fat. Zurbel hates it when somebody calls Samson fat because that is simply not true. His groomer, Carolyn Ayala had this to say about the common misconception people may have about Samson’s size, “He is genuinely long, broad, heavy and strong. He is big and well-proportioned. He’s a real big Maine Coon. I have groomed many obese cats but [he’s] not the same… He is the Fabio of cats. He’s a gentle giant.” (Hoffman, 2016).
Samson’s size is the first thing anyone notices about him, and that causes them to think that he is just another obese cat. Samson is quite strong and is very active in his daily life. He plays and runs just like any other cat. Zurbel makes sure that he does not gain any unnecessary weight because that may cause health problems that would be even more difficult for a cat his size to face. As we mentioned before, caring for a cat this big is not easy. There can be complications and risks involved that you may not expect.
Jonathan told Mashable last year in an interview that by keeping Samson and facing all the little problems every day, he has come face-to-face many issues that people are still unaware of. He said he would like to use Samson as an example and inspiration to raise awareness about cat issues like shelters and adoption. He also mentioned that even though it is enjoyable to have a celebrity living in his home, people should think very carefully before adopting a pet, especially a big breed like Maine Coon. People get excited by looking at Samson and think of getting a cat like him, but they need to stop and think. You need to make sure you are sure that you can take care of such an animal and give them the care they require. Otherwise, you should get the smaller breeds that are easier to handle.
New York Post. (2016). Meet Samson — the biggest cat in NYC. [online] Available at: https://nypost.com/2016/08/06/meet-samson-the-biggest-cat-in-nyc/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].
Hirsh, S. (2016).Meet Samson, the biggest cat in NYC. [online] Mashable. Available at: https://mashable.com/2016/08/27/largest-cat-in-nyc/#ykkrY4lZcqqn [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].
Life with Cats. (2016). Meet 28-Pound Maine Coon, Samson. [online] Available at: https://www.lifewithcats.tv/2016/08/06/meet-28-pound-maine-coon-samson/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].
Bored Panda. (2017). The Largest Cat In NYC Who Weighs 28 Lbs And Is Larger Than Most Bobcats. [online] Available at: https://www.boredpanda.com/largest-cat-nyc-samson-jonathan-zurbel/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].
Megan Charles, (2016). Watch: Meet New York’s largest cat – who is 4ft long and has over 100,000 Instagram followers. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/04/watch-meet-new-yorks-largest-cat—who-is-4ft-long-and-has-over/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].