My, we seem to be a little short on brotherly love round here.
Today I bring you a tale of Tigerman and SonFriend.
A few months ago, near the beginning of Spring when the weather reached the point where one could shed their jacket and walk around around outside in just a sweatshirt, my wife and I were paid a visit by the dynamic duo. They descended upon our backyard as if they were old friends and quickly claimed us (and the entire backyard) as their own. The wife and I were no strangers to having random cats suddenly befriend us. Our first cat, who’s celebrating her 20th year or so under our roof, was a stray who appeared one day clinging to the screen door of my mother-in-law’s house. We don’t know how old she was at the time but vets clocked it at being 1 or 2. Our other two cats are what I refer to as “stray by association”. You see last year, coincidentally around spring time as well, we were adopted by a little stray female kitty we ended up naming Mel. Being the big sucks that we are we ended up feeding her and in turn she was in our backyard 24/7. We did some active shopping around and ended up finding a home for her with my brother-in-law. Unfortunately, we weren’t aware that she was pregnant so 2 weeks later we get a call from Mike telling us he has a litter of 4 kittens. Rather than straddle the poor guy with 5 cats we decided to take the comedic twosome of Brit & Jemaine bringing out cat total to 3.
Their detailed adventure can be found here. Right now Let’s get back to the recent arrivals to Kitty Acres.
The more thickly built of the two (aka the fatter one) I ended up nicknaming Tigerman. As you can see he has a puffy little tiger-like face so hence the name. I know. I rock at naming, eh? Whoever said I lack in cleverness should be hung from the gallows. Anyway, Tigerman was a big pushover. He was extremely friendly, loved to play and of course eat. This struck us as odd because most strays weren’t as gregarious as he was so we assumed he either had a home and liked to roam or was a house cat that had either run away or was let go. His bulbous little gut, rather clean and shiny fur and pleasant demeanor lead us to believe that it was the former. He would show up at certain times of the day with his little gray buddy, looking for some attention and food.
SonFriend was the smaller and skinnier of the two. He fit the profile of a stray a little more than Tigerman just because he was much slighter than his thick necked companion however he was just as affectionate. He too liked to play and adored attention (and food) from us. The two of them were inseparable. I was never able to figure out if they were related but they traveled together, played with one another and even cleaned each other when needed. It was quite cute. While they didn’t look like siblings they acted like it. I had been struggling with naming the little gray guy and almost settled on the awesomely creative name of “Grey” but then thanks to Semi Pro I ended up naming him SonFriend due to his close relationship with Tigerman.
As Spring gave way to Summer two of them became regulars in our backyard. Although they were nice enough to bring in we simply couldn’t. 3 cats was already 2 more than we originally planned to have. Five would be ridiculous. Cats are great and all but our food and litter costs skyrocketed once we brought in the Flight of the Catchords so having any more was pretty much out of the question. Regardless we considered them our outdoor cats. Whenever there was some gardening or yard work to do they would readily assist by headbutting my leg or love rolling down the driveway. They would eat the parsley we had growing or camp out underneath our cherry tomato plant laying in wait as though they were in the Serengeti.
You would think that Tigerman would be the fighter of the two, but in fact the leaner SonFriend was the scrapper. He laid claim to us and our backyard and fiercely defended it. There’s a neighborhood gigolo cat (whom we assume is one of our cat’s father) who likes to traipse through everyone’s backyards looking for some loving. He and SonFriend would engage in some epic battles. Although outweighed and out-sized, SonFriend would always chase him away. Tigerman, the pacifist, would be around for morale support. This was their backyard and all other cats and critters had better beware.
Sadly a couple of months ago Tigerman vanished. He stopped coming by leaving only SonFriend as our only daily visitor. There were a few people in the neighborhood who had moved away so we like to believe he went home and moved as well. Like I mentioned earlier he was too well groomed and mannered to be “just a stray” so we assume he got packed up when his owners decided to leave – whoever they may be. He wasn’t dumb so we doubt he got hit by a car or anything like that and there aren’t really any predatory creatures in the neighborhood aside from rabid kindergarten children so we doubt anything malicious happened to him. Regardless, SonFriend lost a buddy and was depressed. He would “Roooooawh” whenever he saw us as if he was asking “Where is Tigerman?”. I had no answer for him but because he was so insistent on saying “Rooooawh” whenever he saw us, I renamed him Rolf. He finally had a full name. Rolf SonFriend.
The Summer brought forth some crappy rainy days. I felt bad that Rolf was out roaming the neighborhood in such weather so one clear day I build him a little makeshift shelter next to our shed. I sealed the seams, made a little door in the front and threw a tarp over it to help block off the downpour. I even had it a little elevated off the ground to prevent flooding. Our shag kitchen mat served as the carpeting inside while some old unused t-shirts were the blankets. Now he had a place where we could put his food and water and he wouldn’t have to worry about the elements washing them away. I was quite proud of the Cat House and Rolf seemed to appreciate it whenever the rains would come in.
As summer started to come to an end, my wife and I discussed what to do with Rolf once the weather decided to get cold. We didn’t want him out there but we couldn’t bring him in (despite how cute he was). After shopping around for some potential owners we decided that we would take him to the Humane Society by the beginning of October. They have a no kill policy (so long as they’re not suffering from any life threatening aliments or feral) and would give him some much needed shelter. They would also provide for him any medical attention that he may have needed. He wasn’t sickly, but it’s always good to have that option available. They would also allow us to keep track of his adoption status and give us the option of taking him back if he hadn’t been taken in after 60 days or so. Based on how lovable he was we couldn’t see it going that long. He makes friends really quickly.
2 weeks ago Rolf disappeared. He paid us one last visit just before evening while we were outside talking with our neighbors. He popped by like he always does, headbutted some legs, received some bum scratching and then made his way off to tend to Rolf business. We haven’t seen him since. The weather has been getting rather frigid the past week or so and I’ve grown increasingly concerned. I still put his food and water out daily but I no longer see his excited run to our back door as I open it. The food gets eaten but I think it’s that bastard gigolo mowing through it under the cover of darkness. Like an overly optimistic douche I keep putting out food for him and jiggling his bowl in the hopes he’ll come bouncing in from around the corner… but alas he hasn’t. I have resigned to the fact that he is now gone.
I’m usually pessimistic about everything I think and do but in this instance I choose to believe that he found a home. He was far too personable and friendly to not have made friends all across the neighborhood. I like to think that there were some other sympathetic schmoes out there who were thinking just like us and either brought him in as it was getting cold or took him somewhere safe. He was a streetwise little guy who earned my appreciation. Here’s to you Rolf SonFriend. I hope you found the happiness you were looking for, buddy.