This is Bob. He's been with me since 1989. Sadly, he is dying of kidney failure. The vet told me 2.5 years ago that he might have a few months to live. Still hanging in there... but he's having trouble remembering where the catbox is.
This is John. He's about 3, and I got him in 2003. He was a "cat of opportunity" - I kind of wanted a cat to be held in reserve for when Bob is gone, but I didn't actively go seek a cat, out of respect for Bob's lifestyle. But now I'm really glad I got him. He's a very cool cat!
Bob & John don't get along very well except when it's feeding time. Then they're both more concerned with eating than with each other.
Bob was just hanging out on the balcony, eating plants and enjoying the view. But now John has Bob "cowed"** at the balcony door. Bob wasn't really thinking about coming back inside, but now that John is guarding the door, Bob can't think about anything else!
** That was a pun, in case you didn't get it. Bob's markings are reminiscent of a penguin (or a tuxedo) - and John's markings are reminiscent of a Holstein!
UPDATE. Bob passed away on Tuesday, April 15, 2003. These pictures will be left up - he was a beautiful cat with a joyous personality. God, I loved that cat!
Bob had some very special tricks and attributes:
- He loved to pet human heads. (Sometimes he'd chew on the hair as if it was grass.)
- He knew how to open the doors in the apartment where he lived his last nine years (the doors have handles rather than knobs).
- He was fond of broccoli (I think he thought it was a house plant).
- He used to perch on my shoulders.
- He had an unfortunate likeness for sleeping on my bladder (but I suppose that's more than most folks want to hear).
- He loved to have his butt patted, the way one pats a dog. My wife was patting him vigorously one day on the backside - I said to her, "Hey, don't hit my cat!" She said, "He likes it!" And I could see that indeed he did.
- He had excellent communication skills. He could speak to me in such a way that I could tell what it was he wanted me to do.
- He loved to play a game with the freshly laundered sheets when I made the bed. He would get up on the bed when I threw the sheet across the bed - he would hide underneath the slowly deflating sheet and wait for me to find him and touch him. Then when I touched him, he would meow.
- Laundry time was a favorite for Bob - he loved to jump up onto the warm basket of clean clothes and take a nap.
- Bob was known to make some amazing leaps. One time I heard him calling me - I went into the bathroom and couldn't see him. He was inside the shower! The only way he could have gotten in there was by leaping over the closed glass door.
- Although he hated to be bathed, Bob enjoyed getting into the shower when I started to run the water. This was a habit he got into later in life when his kidney problems increased his thirst for water. When I opened the shower door, he would squeeze past me and leap into the tub. Then when I started the water, he would get a drink from the faucet. When I pulled the knob up to divert the water to the showerhead, he'd stand his ground and continue drinking from the faucet. He'd get out when I got in and closed the door, though. Then he would stand outside the shower, begging me to open the door. After I stopped the water and opened the door, he would jump in again.
- When I was out of the apartment, Bob often sat in the windowsill. When I would pull my car into the driveway to enter the parking garage beneath the building, Bob could recognize that I was in the car and would go to the door to await my arrival.
- Bob was very fond of rain puddles on the balcony. It rained on his final weekend, and he spent quite a bit of time on the balcony.
Bob also had some amazing adventures:
- In 1990, Bob was temporarily living with a couple who had a big black dog, while I was living in Japan. The dog wanted to play with Bob, but Bob was aloof. Bob, although strictly an indoor cat, escaped from their home for a few days, but was eventually found and taken again into indoorhood.
- Bob survived a breathtaking fall, from the third-floor balcony of the place I lived before the Northridge earthquake. One morning before I went to work, I noticed that Bob was nowhere in the apartment. The balcony door was open (both for air and to allow Bob onto the balcony), and the only place he could have gone was off the balcony. My wife and I found him outside the building several days later - he was terrified. He was also bewildered by how easy it had been to get from the balcony to the ground compared with the difficulty of getting from the ground back to the balcony. He never fell off a balcony again.
- Bob went through two earthquakes.
- October 17, 1989 - The Loma Prieta earthquake (magnitude 7.1). Bob was home, I was at work. When I got home Bob didn't meet me at the door as he usually did. I went calling for him through the place and he came to me. It seemed probable that he'd found a place to wait through the aftershocks.
- January 17, 1994 - The Northridge earthquake (magnitude 6.7). We were all at home, sleeping, when the quake hit. Our building was incredibly shaken (everything in the apartment was on the floor). I found Bob cowering in a window (apparently ready to leap the three stories, repeating his off-the-balcony misadventure).
- Bob came this close to going to Washington to meet Socks Clinton. The Humane Society of the United States was sponsoring a Socks Clinton Lookalike contest. I entered Bob, and got a query back from Washington, asking a number of questions. One question was whether Bob would enjoy traveling to Washington. I thought back to the traumatic drive from the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles and realized Bob would not do well traveling by air. Another cat was selected to go and meet Socks.