Back in the new year, a fill-in shift in New Aids gave me the chance to meet a new resident. He was in his last few days of lockdown, and was more than ready to be released to face the world. Scooping his box and offering food became an exercise in fending off his enthusiasm for a visitor, and stalling his plans to exit the cage. He was immediately on my list for blogging about, but I was asked to hold off until he’d had his glory moment on our “Pets and Pickers” TV series.
Dillon, in the Val Jones area, may well have been sired by Bill and there are two junkyard cats in the Single-Wide, though they come from a different site. Bill came in loud and scary, but some TLC and medical attention didn’t take long to have him changing his mind. Now he clearly likes people, and subsequent visits, once he was out of his cage, confirmed that he is very much in favour of human attention. Karen tells me that he is an expert supervisor and follows the morning cleaner around, making sure that everything is done up to standard, and begging for attention.
Collins Dictionary defines a junkyard dog as being a “mean and combative person willing to use any means necessary in defense of something”. We all know that most cats take pride in not being dogs, so a junkyard cat – Bill’s variety at least – is anything but mean and combative, with humans at least. Sadly, he’s not so loving with other cats, and is occasionally put in time-out to cool down.
When I met him, immediately I had the song from “Showboat” in my head. If you don’t know the Kern and Hammerstein classic musical, the song comes towards the end, and is a showpiece the heroine sings as an audition. The Bill she sings about is nothing special:
his form and face, his manly grace|
are not the kind that you would find on a statue….
I don’t know if our Bill was named for this Bill – but it’s the perfect name, in context. He’s a rough-coated boy, with the characteristic big head of a late-neutered aging tomcat, and balding patches over his eyes. His black fur is liberally flecked with white hairs for the salt-and-pepper ageing look. He’s a chonk, without the elegant springiness of roomie Obelix.
…can’t play golf or tennis or polo
or sing a solo, or row;
he isn’t half as handsome as dozens of guys that I know…
But this Bill is a (mostly) sweet boy who loves attention, and will happily accept any amount of petting. If you’re volunteering on a Wednesday evening, you’ll likely hear volunteer Justin crooning to Bentley and Roe, two of his many favourites – and he has a whole repertoire of songs to use.I sing to select cats as well – and there can only be one song for this boy…
I can’t explain – it’s surely not his brainthat makes me thrill. I love him because he’s … I don’t know… because he’s just my Bill.