One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

The Gardener’s Cat


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.

Friends Finally

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.

Badum of Arabia

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.


Comments on: "The Gardener’s Cat" (17)

  1. I’ve just decided going to bed but I couldn’t resist to say, you are a lucky one to have such a comrade and friend.

  2. You are so fortunate for him to have found you. ;-) Happy Fifth Anniversary! :-D

  3. Oh cat of many names!

    When I first brought Angie home Keyron had dubbed her Evangeline. Too much I thought, so I chose the short form.

    And because of her coloring (She’s red mackerel tabby though the red is more blond.) So she’s also known as Miss Clairol #29.

    We’ve only had her for a couple of years now so the naming hasn’t really gotten out of hand yet.

    I think its required of cats to have many names. Of course we are only privileged to know _some_ of them!

  4. dutchess decided that she absolutely had to knead on my ribs today. i’m very ticklish. poor kitty was evicted from my side very quickly. oddly enough, i’ve been able to tolerate her weight on me while i sleep. she’s the first cat to not trigger my “smother” reflex. happily she doesn’t like to lay on my face. she saves that for boy on the rare occasions he leaves his bedroom door open.

    Badum LOVES to make bread on me, often against my side while we’re snuggling at night, but pretty much any time I’ve made a lap he’d like to invade.

  5. “He believes that spider plants are trying to take over the world and only he can save us”
    Best quote of the week, so far!

    I love this little history of The Gray One. He is obviously a very special kitty. He is lucky to have found you, too. You seem to give him the best home a kitty could hope for.

    I was about to say the best home a kitty could WISH for, but then I remembered that he wishes you’d feed him sooner. So that one was right out. ;)

    Java, the secret to vanquishing the spiders is apparently all wrapped up in eating and regurgitating. Color me dubious. And yes, there’s always room for improvement. Thank goodness there isn’t a suggestion box.

  6. Happy Cativersary!! And awwwww. I am a sucker for a good cat origins story. But yes, all cats have more than one name. And different songs and quirks. (And jealousy of the computer. That would be Calliope).

    I love the identification of him as Kato to your Closeau. Cracks me up.

    They do love us and do a lovely job of providing a new pov. to things.

    Well, I’d best let my folk rock chica, Callie, have temporary dominion over the computer.

  7. Here’s to many more anniversaries with him.

    Thanks, Buddy!

  8. Hey Greg…wonderful background on your Buddy. I can’t wait to meet him. We have four cats now…highest was five, and all have more names than I can count. They all know most of them as well and will give you irate looks when you use one they feel is insulting.
    Here’s to fuzzy, purry and snuggly life sharers.

  9. Yay for the Gray Catsby!

  10. Happy Anniversary, boys!

  11. Great story, Greg. And great that he found you and recognized you for who you are. All this time, though, I’ll have to admit that his name was BAD-um–you know, the sort of name that a loving parent would bestow on a little one, acknowledging a certain catly mischievousness. How many of us are 100% angels?

    PS–Badum is right. Spider plants ARE out to control the world. Once they’re in all our homes you’ll see a side of spider plants you’ve never seen before. I can’t imagine a more unpleasant end…

    I don’t know, James. The piles of regurgitated/vanquished spider babies are pretty gross…

  12. I love the way cats choose their people, instead of the other way around. We had a cat- Ike (22 pounds!) that chose us. We have two terriers now & I think they would be TOO unwelcoming of a cat, but you never know.
    Great post & sweet story.

  13. Did I just read the “Catidude Abides”? I did, didn’t I?

    Well, I guess he really did bring the room together. Eventually, anyway. :)

    Happy Catifursary.

  14. What a great tribute to your friend. My favorite was “He who must be fed.” ;-)

  15. This just made my day. Badum of a million names, I salute you! How lucky you both are Greg. I love it that Badum chose you, cats that get to choose their humans are lucky and wise beyond words. Give that boy an extra belly rub from me :D

    It’s funny, Bird, he has a special fondness for people with your name, as well. ; ) We have both been very lucky. Consider him rubbed.

  16. Salina Inzaghi said:

    sooo true…a cat cant have just one name…it’s too vain to be simply a Blackie or a Kitty
    sometimes when i talk about my cat to my friends, they would ask, how many cats do you have? and when i say only 1, there would be a look of confusion. so why today u’ve a story about Teddy, when yesterday u told us about Ta-ted, and the day before it was Itam (meaning ‘black’ in my language) etc etc

    anyhow, i seriously believe cats, or any kind of pets (but cats most especially) make the best companion..even better than us human :)

    Ha ha…Salina, it’s refreshing to hear that cats the whole world over require more than a single name. What fun that we have them to bring the rest of us closer together. Badum and I had another grand adventure (two, actually, he insisted on a second visit) out in the yard last evening. Although rain threatened, we enjoyed creeping through the tall grass and playing at being fierce jungle hunters. I wish you and Teddy similar pleasures!

  17. .. :) what a delightful story of your origins with “Ba-dum” a cat of many names, and I suspect many identities, but the true identity is that of ‘friend’ and the truest form is that which comes from ‘cat’.
    ( * and dog..for the dog people because I know that bond exists as well ).
    I really enjoyed this story Greg, cute, silly, and so ‘cat-like’ in story-telling,

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