Wednesday, January 4, 2012


BobCat's a riot.  This feline lush came to us as a feral stray.  We'd see him hanging around from time to time, and I guess the pickings at our place must've been good, because he'd started to make our house a regular part of his rounds.  We'd see him all over our neighbourhood - his territory was easily one square kilometer - and sometimes weeks went by where we didn't see him at all.

We had a cat already.  Her name was Amelia, the petite female version of Bob.  Where Melia was a delicate little orange and white kitty, BobCat was her perfect opposite.  The only thing they had in common was their colour.  I've always had a soft spot for orange and white kitties.  Two of my childhood cats were orange and white, and for sentimental reasons, I still maintain they're the best.

We found Amelia at the side of the road one fall night.  We'd spotted a dirty-looking white cat several times driving into town, and were in the habit of leaving a bowl of food at the side of the road for him or her.  One evening, Amelia jumped out of the bullrushes, nearly clawed herself into my pant leg, mewed piteously, and it was pretty obvious that we'd just been adopted by a new cat.  Amelia settled down on my lap on the car ride home, and acted like long-lost family.

Amelia had previously had a litter of kittens. She was still very young, probably under a year by our vet's best guess.  She weighed just 3 pounds, and was terribly emaciated.  Once we got her home, she settled down on a hutch in the corner of the kitchen and didn't move for 2 days. I felt terrible that someone would abandon such a wonderful creature, and Amelia quickly found her way into my heart.  We all have pets that we bond more with, and Amelia was one of those cats.
She was quite the card - very docile, very playful, and very diva-esque in her own special way.  She thrived on a strict schedule, and one of her most endearing qualities was her verbosity.  She had different meows for different things, and the most remarkable thing she would meow came out sounding like this:  ming wing.  I kid you not.  Ming wing.  It meant she was sitting in the tub, waiting for her daily Q-tip to bat around.
One early May day, I found Amelia's lifeless body in the middle of the road.  It was one of the saddest days of my life.

The next day, BobCat showed up on the doorstep.  But this day, he came in through the front door, walked straight into the house, something he had never done, walked up to Amelia's scratching post, dug his claws in, and then settled down on an Ikea chair in the living room and had a day-long nap.

It looks like we had a new cat.
BobCat cheated on us in the beginning.  BobCat's a schmoozer, and must have wormed his way into many a home and heart, because he went missing for days on end.

In the beginning, he'd stay away over night and normally be waiting on the stoop the next morning.  After two nights AWOL, I'd go on a recon mission.  Driving up and down the street at night-fall, the headlights of my car would catch his eyes at the side of the road.  I'd pop open a tin of his favorite cat food, and he'd come bounding over to me.  We'd drive home together, and he'd settle in for a few more days.  Once, I found him at a stable a kilometre from our house.  When I called him, he jumped out of a box-stall window and came bounding over to me.  You could practically hear the music from "Lassie Come Home" playing in the background.

One day, he came home after a week's bender wearing a flea collar and smelling of cigarette smoke and laundry softener.  I promptly put a new collar on him with a note that his name was Bob and that he had a phone number, but I never got a call from his other "adoptive" family.  As it was, I'm the one who had him neutered (you should see our vet bills -  I should have a payment plan, or just straight-out give our vet a BMW or Mercedes), but with some patience, BobCat became "our" cat.

We're going onto 8 years of Bob's presence.  He doesn't go far these days, mainly down to our barn and back, and spends his nights sleeping with yours truly.  Yep.  He's even pushed Cooper off the bed at night.  This winter he's really staked his claim.  He doesn't bother me at night any more, for which I am truly appreciative.  I can do without his 5AM wake-up call.

Plus he's spent nearly 15 minutes spilling out of the double-decker wicker-wonder cat bed, so I love him all the more.


Miriam said...

For obvious reasons, this post is making me feel happy and sad all at the same time. Bob sounds a little like William, and I so understand the attachment you feel for him and felt for Amelia. What a gift these animals are - we love them every day, somehow making peace with the knowledge that one day we'll lose them. That's a good lesson to learn.

Ron said...

Great photos. I have a soft spot for cats. The ones I know are useful and not very demanding - suits me just fine.

Shim Farm said...

Miriam - I so agree with your comment that we need to learn we'll lose them some day. They are truly a gift, these little foundlings who find their way to our corner of the world.

Ron - thanks for the compliment! Me too, I have a big soft spot for cats, and both Eric and I used to be committed "cat people". That was, until we found Cooper. Now there's a gift if I ever got one!

Demelza said...

It looks like you have a rather big ginger and white boy there to feed. Or I guess, he feeds himself quite a bit! The other day I was pottering in the garden and spotted a bit of fur lying on the ground. I then realised it was a very dead rat. I suppose one of the cats had caught it but couldn't be bothered to eat it. At least they didn't bring it into the house.

Cats - they bring us so much pleasure, but the older I get, the more I worry about them, especially if I don't see them at food time.

That was a well written story about both Amelia and Bobcat.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Demelza - glad you enjoyed my little story.

BobCat has really surprised me this winter. He's mellowing into an older cat now. He's gone from a very independent cat who needed his space, to an affectionate cat who just wants to be around us. I really love watching how these formerly wild cats become more and more tame with the passing years. It never ceases to amaze me how much trust they put in us, bit by bit by little bit!

He certainly is a big boy - 16 pounds - he's a really stocky cat who comes by his name honestly. From the beginning, we referred to him as "the Bobcat" to differentiate him from the other strays, since he was so much larger than the rest. The name stuck!

Robin said...

I love orange cats! Growing up we always had an orange one too. I didn't think that I could ever like another colored cat as well and then we got our boring black stray cat. Now I love black cats and have a soft spot for them too. Something about her ridiculously sweet personality, bad eye, and massive amounts of dead varmint presents has a way of making us all smoozly over her. She is actually our favorite cat (sorry old man Japser). I am afraid she is going to wind up like Amelia though. Come summer time we see her walking on the road all the time doing her rounds. Not a good thing for a cat with a bad eye and a slightly bum leg.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, I hope now that you've adopted her, Jack will stick closer to home. I'm a sucker for all colors. They all have their qualities and personalities, but something about those orange and white kitties, though...

(And I just went into the kitchen for a handful of cashews, and came out with a handful of cat kibble. I guess I've got cat on the brain LOL.)

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