... or The Cat Came Back
The other night, while working on the computer, I turned around to see Rocky the Cat sprawled on the chair behind me. We call him many things, but the well-travelled cat is one of them. He has just returned to us after spending a year with Butterfly, his original human. After spending his early years with Butterfly, he had dwelt with us for five years. However, although we love him dearly, we had thought it best to ship him back to Butterfly last year. Let me explain. (Before I do, let me note that the photos are clickable and that in browsers like Firefox and Opera the background colour will change slightly when you hover over them. If you roll over the image text, its colour will change too. It's just a slight little extra provided for our satisfied clients at no additional charge.)
In the last few years, we have been known to go away for a month at time or for even longer, and it has always been difficult to know what to do with Rocky. Cats aren't terribly portable after all, and, while The Rocks was a good traveller in his youth, he tends to sick up on long trips now. Rocky is a people cat, loves to be near his family. He isn't so much of a lap cat although he is also that when it suits him, but, most of the time, he likes to be near his people. So, he couldn't be left alone for very long. We'd have cat sitters live in, or find someone who would put him up for a while. Sometimes, we'd find a place in Sarnia; but he's also been the star border both in Hamilton and Brantford. It was always a hassle trying to arrange suitable company and care for him, however.; you simply can't continue to impose on the goodwill of others.
That's why last autumn found us driving Mr Cat back across the province to be reunited with Butterfly, his original human. She had purchased him at a pet store in Sarnia and then moved him to Ottawa with her. All went well for a while, but then she found herself in a tiny bachelor apartment with no escape from Rocky, who loved to chew on her hair and pester her mericilessly in the middle of the night. So it was that in 1999, she returned him to Sarnia to live in a bigger place with doors that could shut out antsy cats when necessary. He loved the extra space and being able to get out in the fenced yard for the first time in his life. And we loved having him, but in 2004 we were running out of cat sitters. That's why we returned him to Butterfly who, by then, was living in a house of her own.
You would think that might be the end of travelling for the well-travelled cat, but he is also the cat who keeps coming back. Now that we have moved very close to Butterfly, The Rocks has moved back in with us, mostly because we are home more than Butterfly and The Boy, and he really prefers to have company around him. In each of these photos, for example, he has been hovering nearby Cuppa and/or me — his people. I find that kind of endearing. On most nights he sleeps with us, and for whatever reason has been behaving himself really well, not even pestering us for a smackerel of tuna in the middle of the night. As a matter of fact, we are all sleeping rather well, all three of us in the same bed.
Another good thing for Rocky is to once again have access to a fenced-in yard. Outdoor survival would have been difficult for a lame cat, but sometimes, on a nice day, he likes to amble about his secure garden. He isn't as eager to get out now that he is an elder statescat, but he still enjoys taking the air on occasion.
You might not have noticed, but I quite like Rocky. I like animals and have had birds and cats and even a dog in my lifetime. Pets tend to bring out the tender side of us. We can fuss and coo and talk childish gibberish to them, and they don't mind. In fact, I think they rather like it. Something about the cat touches a part of my spirit. When I look at The Rocks sleeping contentedly, I sometimes gurgle inside as if I share some of the cat's contentment with life. I think we were meant to touch and be touched by nature. That isn't so very easy to do for most of us most of the time, but I think this cat gives me a small sense of communion with the universe. Not all cats or animals necessarily have that effect on me, but this one does. He's rather a great cat actually.