Back in '96, I moved back in with my friend Steve and discovered that the nice little old lady next door had passed away and the house had been sold to a young couple with a son and four cats. There were two white Persians (Puff Daddy and Rat Boy) and two orange Tabbies (Buddy and Moby). Puff Daddy was the only one that had not been neutered, and he was pretty much king of the hill. Moby was the littlest one and pretty much "runt of the litter".
One thing I've learned about cats over the years is that they have a very good sense of what you're all about. They also respond very well to people who treat them nicely. Over time, Moby overcame his shyness and allowed me to approach him. For the first couple of years, he would let me pick him up, but he wanted down right away. It took five years before he'd accept food or water from me. But he loved to hang out.
Many's the time he'd come over and simply walk right into the house and into my bedroom, hop up on the bed and curl up for a nap while listening to whatever music was playing on my stereo. Enya was his favorite, but he also liked Herb Alpert, Fleetwood Mac and the Moody Blues. Didn't much care for the Eagles, though. Go figure.
His routine was pretty regular. Every morning, he'd come over to say hello before wandering around the neighborhood doing whatever he did. He'd sit under the bush in the front yard and wait for me to come out. As soon as he saw me, he'd get up, raise his tail, and head across the yard to the front door. I'd sit down and let him rub up against me, purring. We'd go thru the whole standard greeting routine and then I'd take off. In the late afternoon, he'd be back, waiting for me.
In the warm weather, I'd leave the back of the bus open and he'd climb in and take a nap. When he wanted to leave, he'd just leave. In the colder weather, I'd often notice him hanging around and go bring him in. When he wanted to leave then, he'd have to let me know, which he usually did by either standing on my chair with his paws up on the back, looking out the window, or by sitting directly in front of the door, staring at it. About the only time he'd ever vocalize was when I didn't notice him in time. Then he'd let out a soft meow just to get my attention.
After I moved away in '99, I only came back a few times to visit, but Moby remembered me each time. I left in late August of '99 and didn't return until June of 2001. But he remembered me right away. During the two months I was there, he'd often come over in the evening and I'd wind up camping out in the bus with him overnight. Early in the morning, he'd wake me by rubbing up against me and purring, and I'd let him out.
One of our biggest adventures occurred that summer. It was late evening, and I was on the phone with a friend of mine up in Utah. The light was growing dim, and I didn't see Moby as he came up on the porch. As I opened the door, Moby slipped inside. Big mistake.
One of Steve's dogs was underneath the end table, as was her custom. She was getting too old to be chasing cats anyway. But the other was lying on the floor and he spotted Moby. With the door closed behind him, Moby had nowhere to go but forward. Down the hall he went, like greased lightning, with the dog hot on his heels. When it registered on me what happened, I extricated myself from the phone call with "I'll call you back". Then I ran down the hallway to check on things.
Steve had the dog by the collar, Moby was hunkered down inside my bedroom, not even blinking. Steve said "You take care of him; I'll get the dogs". I stepped inside and closed the door and stood there looking at Moby. He didn't really seem scared, just very, very
alert. Very slowly and carefully, I walked over and sat down near him, speaking softly the whole time. After a moment, he let me pick him up. At first, I tried to let him out the window, but I couldn't get the screen off. Then I decided to see if he'd let me pick him up and carry him out to the front door. Amazingly enough, he trusted me to do that. But as soon as I got the front door open, he jumped down and took off.
I told Steve it'd probably be a good idea if I camped out that night, on the off chance that Moby would come back. Then I could spend some time with him and he'd get over his scare. Just as I was putting my pillow and blanket in the bus and getting ready to get in, Moby came trotting around the front and hopped up inside. The next morning, everything was back to normal. But I never forgot how much he trusted me.
When I went out to Albuquerque last October, I found out that Moby's family had moved to Tucson. But they had farmed the cats out to various families. I spent a couple of weeks trying to find out what had happened to Moby, but the new tenants had no idea, and the realtor was no help in contacting Moby's family. I can only hope he went to a good home.