XO (The Wonder Cat)

XO (The Wonder Cat) is a Tonkonise cat.  The "tonk" breed is a mix - 50% Siamese and 50% Burmese.  The breed is known for being very intelligent, demanding and loving.  Tonkonise are know as the "cat that thinks its a dog."  XO plays fetch, wants to sit in my lap, bites my feet for attention, and in general follows me around whereever I go.  What is particularly nice on cold nights is that he climbs into bed with me, cuddles up and keeps me warm. For a link to the Animal Planet Cats 101 show about Tonkonise cats click here I believe the champagne mink kitten in the video is in fact XO but I can't be sure.

XO has starred on Animal Planet's show Cats 101.  He was filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia harbor when he was about 12 months old.  (I was his supporting actor!)  We had a lot of fun that day.  You can see the episode if you Google "Cats 101 Tonkinese." Or just click on the picture above.

XO's name has dual meaning.  In honor of his loving personallity it means "hugs and kisses."  But is is also an acronym for Executive Officer, the second in command on a ship.  He of course thinks he is the Captain.

Traveling internationally on a boat with a pet does present some challenges.  First you have to keep the pet from falling overboard.  In XO's case he is normally outfitted with a harness that keeps him safe - at least most of the time.  He has slipped the harness and fallen in a couple of times, both fortunately when we were at a dock.  You also have to deal with the animal control authorities in each country.  This can be a expensive and lengthy process.  It has also become quite expensive to fly him with me when I visit my children - the going rate is about $270 per round trip on top of the airfare.  Fortunately my older son Trevor loves to have XO visit, so he stays in Chicago when I am doing a lot of air travel.