Bobby is a large handsome young adult male, 2-4 yrs old, who appeared at the neighbourhood carpark in Apr/May 05. He is a beautiful tabby with white underside, topped off with a unique white diamond covering his nose and a white crest on his chest. A majestic-looking gentleman, he is an abandoned pet cat, and though shy and reticent at first, is easily socialised. He is very friendly and affectionate, and is so trusting that he will offer his vulnerable underside for a tummy rub, especially after a meal. Sterilized with a tipped ear.
Bobby popped up in Area 2 of the Clans, and jostled with Booties/Beanie, Timmy, and BlueEyes in the carpark.
He was a scaredy-cat, a majestic, virile male, with the most soulful eyes, but a scaredy-cat.
He was ravenous too. But within 3 days, he was putting his paws on btmao’s lap, and hoisting his body up to supervise the food-prep.
Was he an abandonee? We suspected so. He cries, and is bewildered. We’ve seen him prowling the linkway roofs calling loudly, and he wasn’t advertising his availability to the ladies, he was crying out to his family to come bring him home.
He was easily popped into the carrier for his mojo-removal two weeks later. More evidence in support of the abandonment theory.
Then one day, btmao came home after dinner service, and she looked really peeved. A boy had ran past as she served Bobby, and he casually stated: “My friend’s cat. His mother put him here.”
btmao lost it, and lectured him on responsible pet-ownership. Too bad, he ran off before she could get him to tell her his friend’s address.
So, indelibly an abandonee, Bobby was easy to befriend. Soon, he trusted me too. He was a fussy eater, not in the sense of food-pickiness, but rather comfort and reassurance. You have to sit with him, speak to him, and give him headrubs. You can’t leave before he’s done. Because he won’t be done. He’d anxiously abandon face-stuffing and follow you with plaintive “Where are you going? Can I come along?” meows.
When he’s done with food, he will present his tummy for the requisite after-dinner tummy rub. Otherwise, he’d also follow you with plaintive “Where are you going? Can I come along?”
And cursory rubs won’t do – rubs must last at least 5 minutes. He will see you off after that, but you feel horrible leaving the poor boy there, alone and forlorn.
Bobby became the friendliest tummy around. An aunt, and our mum, visited him on different occasions, and he presented his tummy to them without hesitation.
Still, Bobby showed us he definitely wanted a home. But Foster Mum was at capacity. We couldn’t board him, but we decided to try rehoming him anyway.
We decided against moving him into Foster-care after, as he seemed to be adapting well to the ways of the world. But he definitely still wanted a home.
Bobby was on the CWS adoption board for 9 months, starting from late May/early June. We had some enquiries for him, but no one ever made it to his carpark for a visit. We persevered, and he remained among our famous five on the CWS adoption board, together with Booties/Beanie, Frankie, Orli, Timmy.
We were still cautiously hopeful that his true parents would come along and scoop him home. Then things took a sudden downturn. In late November, a resident complaint about noisy cats in the middle of the night landed Bobby in trouble. We scrambled, and luckily got him released from the cat trap that very night.
At this point in time, Foster Mum was again at capacity – so he couldn’t check-in. We decided to move him to Area 1 instead. Dazed, and a bit limpy, he wandered around, and gravitated to the carpark. It was heart-rending to see him being so bewildered, and scared.
We don’t blame him. This was like a second abandonment. And he wasn’t at fault. He had been in Area 2 for 6 months, without incident. If he was a noisy nuisance, complaints would have been lodged much earlier. Plus, he’s mojo-less already. The culprit must be someone else. We suspect it was the elusive Ivan the Terrible. But why did the resident pick out Bobby to the town council?
It was easy to fathom. The Area 2 carpark was very near some of the flats. Residents could easily see Bobby, and had probably seen him frequently – he doesn’t hide and the only place he’s ever found in is the carpark. The complainant must have ASSumed it was Bobby making the nuisance. Bobby was the hapless victim of lazy, irresponsible complaining.
Over the next weeks, we had anxious nights and distracted days, hoping Bobby would stay, and alternately wondering if he’ll adapt to the new lay of his land. Plus, Ivan lurked in Area 1 from time to time too. We hoped he was away while Bobby oriented himself.
Initially, we had to sweep down all levels of the carpark to find him. But after a week, we sort of got confident he was staying.
Bobby did still manage to give us a few scares – he disappeared from time to time. And btmao would find him back at his old home. Luckily, he did not develop an aversion to the carrier. We brought him back to Area 1 each time. We were worried about the vacuum effect in the Area 2 carpark, but we were even more worried about Bobby’s commuting.
We did debate, at several points, whether the coast was clear enough to let him go back. This was an especially attractive option when, after a few weeks, Bobby spotted a horrible limp (probably an encounter with Ivan, and not the first), and began to behave skittishly with me – some person(s) must have spooked him really bad. We ruled Ivan out since they’ve ‘met’ before, and Bobby did not carry any emotional scars from their meetings. This time, he even hissed at me during the first few days I found him without btmao at my side.
I guess the spooking was done by kids: once while I was feeding him, a family with 2 kids got out of a lorry, the kids, a boy and a girl, preceeded to hazz Bobby, from a distance. Their fantastic parents did not even bother to control of course.
Poor Bobby couldn’t enjoy his food though, he kept looking up and checking the danger zone, and was especially wary of the pyjama-clad little freaks.
The horrible monsters, and their useless handlers left only when he was almost done.
By January this year, I was tempted to take him off the adoption board, at least for a while as he rehab his fear of people, since his skittishness wasn’t abating, and he wasn’t ready for meeting anyone.
In the end, I decided to let his adoption notice run its course.
In February, I got an email from CWS – someone was interested in Bobby! I did not have my hopes up, given the state of Bobby’s psyche. But I called Alvin anyway, and laid out the situation to him. Alvin listened, and said he’ll call the next week to arrange a vist, as he was tied up with work til then.
So that was that. I thought that was it, as experience tells me.
Imagine my surprise when, like clockwork, his wife, April, called on Monday the following week, and visited Bobby the next night! They stayed for nearly 2 hours, and we talked a fair bit – they were looking for a companion for their Mao Mao, a boy whom they picked up and adopted in August last year. As it turned out, April has had her eye on Bobby since December!
Bobby, as I expected, did not make a good impression – he hid under the cars the whole time! I felt like a con, and kept apologising for the boy’s out-of-character behaviour.
But Alvin and April were very understanding and patient. I liked their sincerity.
At the end of the visit, April said they would like to visit during the coming weekend, and try to feed him, as we suggested.
And indeed, April and Alvin visited both weekend evenings, and stayed for at least 2 hours each time. They came armed with Natural Balance, after listening to what we found out about cat food nutrition. I liked them even more.
April and Alvin also showed their determination to befriend and know Bobby. Imagine grown-ups on knees in grimy carpark lots, trying to entice a scaredy cat with food and treats, for 2 hours!
Through the three visits, btmao and I talked to April and Alvin. We explained the introduction process, and told them about how adults tend to take longer to accept each other, and that males tend to take longer than females. We also talked about FiV/FeLV, the risks to both cats, and testing. Alvin and April were understanding about the introduction bit, and were still willing to take on the challenge. They also agreed that doing the tests makes sense. I’ll confess that their empathy, and their sincerity left a very deep impression. I felt apologetic on Bobby’s behalf.
I decided to take the plunge then and proposed to let them take Bobby home the following Saturday, if he and Mao Mao pass the tests. This is because Bobby would probably be more receptive to friendship in a home environment, and at the rate we were going with the friending, it could take months – given Bobby’s personality, I was certain that speeding the process up by ensconcing him in a home environment was the better option. I also felt that the Area 1 carpark environment was too close to the cause of his skittishness, to have his true personality come out, he had to be removed from the site.
April and Alvin were game and amendable to the proposal. I was both happy and anxious of course.
The intervening dats was a horribly restless week to endure.
Finally, the big day arrived. We got to the clinic first, and Bobby’s test results? FiV positive, FeLV negative. Right then, we resigned ourselves to the possibility that Bobby might never get a home at all.
We told Alvin and April about his results when they arrived. Mao Mao’s results? Cleared of both FiV and FeLV. Mao Mao was also aged – 7-8. April and Alvin were surprised, as they had thought he was about 4. They were also impressed and very happy with the professionalism of Dr E and his willingness to entertain questions, and share knowledge.
Anyway, deliberation time. Dr E did mention the availabilty of vaccines.
I was very very touched when April and Alvin decided to vaccinate Mao Mao!
So, on Mar 4 06, Bobby has a home again.
Mao Mao wasn’t too keen of course, but it was as expected. Hopefully, they won’t take too long to accept each other.
On Mar 11, the following weekend, we visited Bobby. He was aloof and distant. Probably, he was angry with btmao for ‘abandoning’ him, his third experience. His only response to us was to hiss at btmao toward the end of our visit. It was bitter-sweet, of course.
But the fact is, Bobby lucked out, despite the long 9-month wait. Alvin and April are responsible and conscientious, and the extent to which they went to help Bobby settle in was commendable! April bunked in with Bobby, and Alvin, to whom Mao Mao is very attached, worked on reassuring Mao Mao.
Today, April contacted me – she was concerned with Bobby’s growing over-confidence. Where he would previously give way to Mao Mao, he now expected Mao Mao to do so instead. He was becoming a bit of a tyrant and a bully!
I feel bad for Mao Mao, having seen it with Teddy and Bam Bam, our resident coots.
We discussed a few things, and hopefully, it’s part of their own way of working out the social order. I’m trying to find ways to help bring Bobby down a peg or two, and to bring up Mao Mao’s confidence.
I’m also keeping my fingers crossed, but with our home slacker experience, especially with Bam Bam, the resident evil, I feel it’s only a matter of time before Bobby and Mao Mao works it out.
The boy, Bobby that is, better behave, or I’m going to smack him to his senses!
Bobby at home
Bobby and Mao Mao in a moment of peace
My name is…
Bobby’s got a new name too. April decided to call him BoBo (as in Ball-Ball) .