Boomer, the former Spare Cat, decided to make his home with us after we lost Frodo and Zoey, our cats of nearly 22 years. Boomer had appeared in the neighborhood a few months earlier and would sit on our windowsills and put noseprints on our windows and hang tangled on our screens as if impossibly caught, then when we went out to assist him, he’d miraculously get free. He’d sit with us on the patio and grill burgers or drink tea, kept me company as I weeded, and he’d mostly hang with Bob in the workshop for weekend and evening sawdust sessions.
Bob decided this friendly spare cat’s name was Boomer because “he looks like Boomer Esiason,” the football player. I don’t get it…
I’m not sure who was the first to invite Boomer in to visit with Frodo and Zoey but by that time, there was a dish of food and a glass of water in the garage for Boomer all the time. He came and went through the open garage window and I’d sometimes catch him napping on the workbench waiting for his buddy Bob to get home.
No one had come looking for him, no neighbors knew where he belonged. he basically just appeared one day from across the yard. We reasoned he accidently rode in someones car because we quickly found out an open car window was his invitation to nap comfortably. He also didn’t mind a ride in the car, at all. I actually drove to work with him in the back seat twice without realizing and turned around and took him “home.” He had been neutered so somebody cared enough to take care of him. Having him around after Zoey, then Frodo died was a balm on broken hearts. So our hearts invited him in before he was invited into the house.
The fact is, Boomer has bad manners. I hate to say that right in front of him. He can be sassy, hanging a claw in the back of your ankle as you walk by or purring as you pet him, then sinking his teeth into the flesh of your hand. He’s mostly Bob’s buddy. They hang out together. They’ve even started to look alike. Boomer waits for Bob to get home from work and I am merely the one who scoops his poop and cleans up his urp. I am only attractive to Boomer when it’s cold and he needs a warm lap. Until this week.
Bob and Boomer get up around 3:30 in the morning. The alarm goes off and up they get. If the alarm doesn’t get set, Bob can count on Boomer to wake him. We actually have to tell him on Friday and Saturday nights that “tomorrow is not a work day, we can sleep in.” Believe it or not that actually works. Their morning routine is about an hour long with Bob leaving the house by 4:30. Boomer sometimes follows Bob out the door, then sits and watches him drive away. On chillier mornings Boomer is no dummy, he keeps his spot on the bed. I sleep through this routine most mornings.
Wednesday morning I was vaguely aware of Bob’s car leaving the driveway but drifted back to sleep. It wasn’t too long before I became aware of an animal screaming in pain. I had my wits about me enough to feel the bed for Boomer and when I realized he wasn’t there I jumped out of bed. The screaming continued, blood curdling screams as if being torn limb from limb. We have seen foxes on the property and I recently read about the increase of bears in Virginia. That’s what I pictured was happening. This was no ordinary neighbor cat fight noise. I tried to see out the window in the direction of the screaming, which wasn’t stopping. My heart was in my throat! I flung open the back door and turned on all the backyard lights. I called. Nothing.
I headed for the sun porch because I figured Boomer, if scared, would find his way there. I flipped the floodlights on, originally installed to keep street people from sleeping on the porch. They lit up the woods. No Boomer. I thought about calling my husband who was probably only 30 mintues into his morning drive, but I didn’t hear the screaming anymore. I went to the front door. It’s dark at that hour and our yard is especially dark because we are surrounded on nearly all sides by thick woods. I turned on the porch light and opened the door at about the same time. Our wild eyed tabby cat literally flew in the door.
“Thank you Lord,” I breathed then went to sit down in the living room. I didn’t need to call Boomer over, he jumped into my lap as if magnetized. He leaned in tight. I ran my hands over his body head to tail checking for rips, bleeding, any sign of a horrible fight for his life against the monster in the night….but didn’t find anything. He purred crazy loud. I talked to him and he talked back. I think we both had a good scare, but we were fine. For some reason I fought back tears. Boomer leaned in tighter.
When the sun came up I was afraid to walk around the yard. I was afraid of what I might find. We have a family of ground hogs living in the yard. They seem capable of screaming. That’s what I’m going to think the noise was. I think the ground hog family is minus a member, and that the property fox is full for now.
The rest of the day was spent in close proximity to each other. Boomer followed me, sat as close as possible, whenever possible. If I went to the kitchen, he went to the kitchen. If I went to put together another box, he was right there. He was glad to see Bob home from work that evening but it was my lap he wanted after dinner. It’s my back he curled up against in bed, and for sure he has stayed inside with me when Bob leaves for work in the morning.
This new lovey dovey relationship feels like having Frodo back again, who was “my” cat. I know Boomer is probably just on loan from Bob for the time being, and that, I’ll still be the one to scoop his poop and clean up his urp, but it makes those things just a bit easier because we bonded in our fright. He really is a good kitty. And that claw thing, is kind of amusing.