Sunday, January 20, 2008

Grumpy Gus

This is Bob. Bob has been with us now 12 years or so. He was such a lovable little bundle of yellow fur when my daughter picked him out over to the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk. He is still lovable, but he picks and chooses the moments he feels lovable. Catch him having a bad hair day and Mr Man, you better have the peroxide handy.

Bob is the crusty ole patriarch in our family of 7 cats. He rules the roost with strict indifference to the crew of youngsters below him. They know to leave him alone. Even Stub, our manic mutt, gives him wide berth. When Bob feels lovey dovey and begins to rub up against her, she freezes with a panicked look and waits for Bob to complete his between her legs rubbing ritual. He is just as likely to give her a swat upon completion of his rounds as look at her.

Don't get me wrong. I love this little fur bearing jerk. He is a member of my family. But he's still a jerk.

Bob's bad tempered ways may be what has allowed him to live as long as he has. He is one of our outdoor cats. Our outdoor cats usually don't make it more than a couple of years. Bobcats, fishers, fox and coyotes all lurk just beyond the edge of the yard. Combine the good ole boys who drive their pick ups too fast on our road and what we have is a very unfriendly cat world out there.

Most of the cats we allow outside can be counted on to show up at least for supper. When the Sun is riding high from Spring til Fall, Bob will only come in when his hunting expeditions have come up empty. Bob has been MIA for days, sometimes a week at a time. The first time he turned up missing, I spent hours combing the brush for him. And each time a Brier ripped into me, I vowed I'd kill him when I found him.

Eventually we learned to deal with his absences. He has so far always made it home. Not always in the best of shape, but he made it. Shredded ears, open sores, and fur missing from his tail. Bob has had some narrow escapes I am sure.

Now that Bob is entering the ole fart stage of his life, he doesn't wander as far or stay out as long as he used to. He now can be counted on to show up for supper usually. And now, we do not let him back out at night. It's tough on him but tougher on us. He will pester anyone who even comes near the door to let him out. His plaintive whining can get to you.

But my wife laid down the law. She is fed up with losing cats. We have lost far too many now that the coyotes are back. I have no proof it is the coyotes, but the uptick in missing cats coincides with their re-emergence in our area. I wonder though if it is not the bobcat who has made our property part of theirs. About 3 years ago I began finding bobcat scat (a pile of pine needles over poop) in the same spot on a regular basis. This animal is very precise. The spot is exactly in the same place everytime. And what is possibly unerving when thinking of cats and their well being, is that the spot is only about 30 feet from the house.

Yes, Bob has proven he is a survivor. He has come to grips with his enviroment and mastered the techniques needed to stay alive. His world is a very tough neighborhood. Bob's bad attitude has served him well out there.


Stinky said...

Awww... Daddy, you make Bob sound mean (though it is fairly accurate)....he's my innocent little baby :) Miss you and Love you and all the critters! I look forward to keeping up with you on this now! :) <3

Brambor said...

wow. 2 years for an outdoor cat. We have our first cat. 6 months old. We haven't let him out yet and probably won't.