Who would ever think that Bob would be a popular name for a cat? But we’ve had several Bobs at the Sanctuary: there was Snotty Bob, with his permanent cold; quiet short-tailed Bobby in the Old Aids; we still have Belly-Rub Bobby in the front courtyard, and if you are very quiet you might occasionally see Wobbly Bob in the back.
Back courtyard Bob came to us as so many cats did 10 or so years ago – development was hitting Blundell Road between Garden City and No 4 Road, and long-standing houses were being torn down to make way for townhouse developments. An elderly man was feeding a colony of ferals in his back yard, and when he moved out, the developer turned to Richmond Homeless Cats, and Carol arrived with her traps. There were about 10 cats trapped from that site, and they all came to us – mostly black and white “cow cats” and brown tabbies. The last to be trapped was a rag doll cross who was whisked away by med-staff Leslie, and named Clooney.
Darla, from that group, has her own blog entry, and had her own fans, but most of the others remained quite shy. They included Sonny and Cher, Bob and Marley (do we hear a theme here?), Harmony, Cookies ‘n’ Cream, Molly and a couple of others.
Bob was actually one of the first to venture out and express interest in contact with humans. But at some time in the years he’s been with us, he had some sort of neurological episode that leaves him very unsteady on his legs. Bob’s quite a long cat, and when startled, it sometimes looks like his front end wants to go one direction and his back legs in another. This unsteadiness has understandably left him feeling vulnerable, and his former friendliness has changed to a skittish wariness.
Chicken to the rescue! – he’s fairly food-motivated, and when chicken is being handed out, I am sometimes aware of Bob sneaking up behind me. He’s happier not making eye contact, but he no longer runs away when that happens, and he will actually approach closely enough that he can take food from the hand.
Life must be a pretty scary prospect for poor Bob, but I think he’s learning again that humans are his friends, and that touch is possible. We just need to encourage volunteers and visitors to move gently around him and to let him know that he’s in a place of safety.