Generally, I try to find something good in each day. But some days, you just can’t help but really love. Today is one of those days.
Late breaking news: the sun came out, almost a week after its last, brief sighting. Weeeeee!!! Oh, the deadheading to be done! Heh. Such is the duplicitous life of a gardener.
But it’s a special day for another reason, too: there’s an anniversary to celebrate.
It was five years ago tonight. I’d gotten home rather late in the evening, hot and sweaty from a long June day of catering. Like any good gardener who’s also a catering director, I changed my clothes, grabbed a flashlight and wandered out into the dark garden to see what had grown while I was gone. There was a small, but strong mewing sound…and out of the darkness came a small – thin – gray cat. He looked at me hopefully and made his little cry again, part plaintive, but also sort of matter-of-fact as he rubbed up against my leg, suddenly purring like crazy.
I laughed and couldn’t resist petting him and he fell over on his back on the tops of my sneakers, for the first time presenting his belly for rubbing. Hi, I’m you’re cat. Sorry I’m late, he seemed to be saying, never considering that our household might not be able to manage another mouth to feed…and a cat, at that. It was true the parakeets had recently passed on to Bird Heaven, so we were only three, but one of those was a large and bossy dog. My new pal seemed unperturbed by this news. In fact, I’ve long suspected that he studied us at a distance for some time before making his appearance.
Emily, the dog, was not amused by the decision to welcome this cat and for about four months, it was necessary to install what I came to think of as the Berlin Baby Gate, splitting our already-smallish apartment into East for the Dog and West for the Cat. Eventually they became pretty terrific friends, but that summer, whew. It was intense.
Because of the Dog, my buddy was little seen during the first week of his residency, which only enhanced some initial confusion as to his gender. There were, after all, no easily visible testes to firm up an identity and other things baffled us, too. Who knew boy kitties could have all those nipples?!
And so there was some hesitation on the subject of naming upon his arrival. His sudden appearance seemed to duplicate the behavior of a cat I’d written about in some fiction, named Christopher Marlowe. But that wasn’t going to work if turned out to be a girl. Perhaps Cinders because of the charcoal fur, or Ella, perhaps. Nah, too similar to Emily. Eventually, as he became more accustomed to us and began to feel better (he was a little sickly and under-nourished on his arrival) we were able to make a closer examination and discovered proof of his Him-ness.
Still, it was a few nights later, when he first got what I’ve come to think of as The Zooms before a name occurred to us. He tore around the apartment in the dark. Up and Down. Back and Forth. Maybe even bouncing off the walls when he reached one, but all the while dribbling a toy catnip-infused mouse before him, eventually getting it into the bathtub where he knocked it around throughout the wee hours, the drain apparently doubling as goal in his game of Mouse Hockey.
The next morning, we settled on Ba-DUM, a sound effect as much as a name, in fact, the sound our growing kitty made when he jumped down off the counter he hadn’t been climbing on. Badum would be his name.
But he’s never had just one name. Emily, who never liked sharing attention with him, called him Badum Al Badump (International Cat of Leisure) and tried for a while to convince us she’d seen his name on the FBI terrorist watch list (oh, that should get my little garden blog a few .gov hits, eh?) and he should be deported.
With a little time, he quickly also became Buddy, Pal, Agent LaChat, The Little King, Pally-Wally, Shadow Kitty, Gray, The Son of the Pamet Puma, Squirrel Killah (he never has that I know of, but points for intent through the window, in this case), Kitty-kitty, Catdude, [Pally-Wally] Doodle, Kit…and so on.
Since we took up this Bachelors’ Life, my Little Buddy has come out of the shadows his big sister kept him in. His fun, friendly, thoughtful, funny and loving nature comes through a little more clearly each day.
A Few Random Facts about My Roommate:
* Badum loves to entertain and will happily present his under-carriage for rubbing pretty quickly upon your arrival.
* He is quick to purr, sometimes taking it up long before you’ve even touched him. He sometimes gets so wrapped up in The Purring that he rolls himself right off the couch or out of my lap and onto the floor.
* Except for the days when a new supply of organic catnip has arrived in the household, he is generally at the door waiting to greet me with noisy fanfare when I get home at the end of the day. If I’m late to feed him (a condition he believes exists four hours prior to his regular time of 5:00 p.m.), it’s noisy and full of attitude.
* He is Kato to my Clouseau, regularly lurking around the corner or behind some piece of furniture, waiting to attack my foot and take me down, to what end, I’m not sure. But it’s fun. Maybe it’s those Monkey Slippers.
* Although he often goes off in the dark to do secret cat things (eat), I generally wake up feeling him nestled up against me, or on top of me. Last week, I woke up to him lounging on my head.
* He believes that spider plants are trying to take over the world and only he can save us.
As for The Names, he continues to collect those almost as fast as the Nest collects cat hair (which is pretty fast, indeed, my friends). Mister Purrypants. The Gray Catsby. He Who Must Be Fed. The Purrmeister. Monsieur Le Pantalons de Purr. John Cougar Mellowcat. Bagheera. El Gatito Grios. The list goes on.
I’ve mentioned before, there’s always been something special about him, like he came to me for some particular reason. Seeing what good company he’s been this past year, that’s easy to believe…and I am grateful to the Universe for sending him in my direction. I’m happy to share my days and nights with him. He’s the best roommate a guy could hope for – funny, sensitive, wise…and foolish…and also soft, warm and cuddly (which is, honestly, more than one dares hope for in a roommate). I couldn’t be more pleased to have been found.
The Catdude Abides.