He was a distinctive cat from the very beginning. At first his uniqueness was measured by his physical appearance. He was an older, large black and white cat with beautiful markings, who had one eye and one ear, and his meow sounded more like “owww”. As we got to know him, we realized this cat was much more than the sum of his appearance. We named him Bob, a strong name for what appeared to be a cat who survived a lot in his life.
It wasn’t long before he worked his way inside the house, and inside our hearts. He would follow us around the house, up and down stairs, to investigate what we were doing with the hope that we would be sitting down somewhere in our journey so he could join in. He was a lap cat who could spend an entire day on a lap it if wasn’t for the occasional trip to eat or to the litter box. Soon that “owww” started to sound like “wowww”.
He saw us through the major occurrences in a person’s life – buying a house, getting married, and losing a parent. He enjoyed making new friends – both the furry kind and the human kind. Our neighbor’s cats would come by every day to visit with Bob, and their respect for the elder statesman was evident. And if a friend or relative came to stay, Bob was more than happy to share “his room” with that guest. The only payment Bob required was some snuggling. He got to snuggle with the best – his Grandpa and Grandma, his Aunt and nephews, and he even made a special appearance in a sleeping bag with his cousins.
He was also very good at telling the time of day. He would let us know when it was time to get up in the morning for work and he would let us sleep in on the weekends. After waking one of us up on the weekends so that a little breakfast could be prepared, Bob was often found sneaking back upstairs to the bedroom for some extra zzzz’s with whomever was still lucky enough to be in bed. After getting out of bed a second time he would saunter into the bathroom and wait for the shower to be turned on so that he could get cleaned up for his weekend activities.
This past summer those weekend activities included a leisurely stroll around the yard, and it became quite evident that Bob had some horticultural leanings. He loved to smell each and every plant in the garden and then lay on as many of those pesky weeds as he could so as not to embarrass the family gardeners. When he felt adventurous he would walk the path to the neighbor’s garden for more species to sniff and to give her a few pointers on weed control. After all, she was lucky enough to have four cats who could help her with her weeds.
After busy days like that he would sit and stare at the fireplace hoping someone would start a fire to warm him. It if was still too early in the day for a fire, he would follow the sun around the house to get warm and cozy.
Bob had two songs written about him, toys that shared his unusual physical characteristics, and he also had many nicknames – Bob Cat, Bobby Socks, Robert (if and when he ever needed parental advice), and at Christmas he became Bob Cratchett. He could carry on a question and answer session with anyone willing to ask him questions and his responses were quick and honest. He would purr if you just looked at him, and he had a look and a way about him that could melt a person’s heart and make it impossible for him to ever be ignored.
Bob was also a very tolerant cat. He would get bathed quite frequently due to one thing or another, and he would just look at the bather with his eye wide open and hope for the best. Vacuuming, which occurred quite frequently in Bob’s house, was endured up until the last second when the vacuum would dangerously enter his personal space, and he would just get up and casually walk away. His tolerance proved to be a very important virtue as his body started to fail him.
As a result of an accident or trauma that happened to Bob before he adopted us, his daily routines became harder for him, and he relied upon us for assistance. He would endure our help as best he could, letting out an audible sigh. He never got angry at us for what we had to do and when it was over it seemed that he could just put it behind him and love unconditionally.
Bob was tolerant to the very end, counting on us and his compassionate and caring doctor to help him. He now sleeps eternally under his favorite bush that had been his first stop on his constitution around the yard. As each day passes since our Bob has left us we discover something new he taught us and another reason to miss him more. He touched us more than any creature we have spent time with in our lives, and we hope he feels the same about us.
Lynnie has Altzheimer’s, and it’s hard to know if traces of Bob Cat still pad through the halls of her mind. Thanks to these words she put to paper we can recall what a special person Lynn is.