I keep trying to give my cat to Robert Barron.
Robert is sitting at the desk next to mine and if you read the other parts of the Citizen, you will know that he is a prolific writer. I can confirm that he is also a good guy all around. He’s a hard worker, he has a strong sense of humor and he has a big heart to boot.
It was with great sadness that we worked alongside poor Robert some time ago when his own cat was rapidly declining in health and eventually dying. Robert was disappointed, as any good person would be.
Robert had never actually looked for his cat. His feline roommate was given to him to keep for a while, then was simply never taken back. Unsurprisingly, the two eventually became good friends. It’s hard not to like Robert, so I can see the arrangement was fantastic from a cat’s perspective.
(The cat could have been awful as far as I know, because Robert never speaks ill of anyone, but according to Robert, he was the perfect companion: never a problem, predictable in his routine, affectionate, and always a pleasure to talk to. coming home at the end of a long day.
Since my family adopted Timber (aka Mr. Bite), I’ve kept my colleagues in the newsroom up to date on all the troubles the (adorable) little parasite is having.
After a proper period of mourning, whenever cats have appeared in the newsroom, and it seems they do a little, I offer Timber to Robert.
“Oh, I miss my cat,” Robert will say.
“Well boy, do I have a deal for you!” I will answer. Or something to that effect. I try to squeeze in the offer whenever I can.
It’s become a bit of a running joke.
Of course, I wouldn’t give my cat away. Children are too attached at this stage. That and I ordered a ridiculously large outdoor play pen for him because he is an indoor cat but plays the role of an escape cat too often to not have a safe outdoor space. We had tried (and failed) to enclose our patio – you know, make it a “catio” – but the damn thing found every space in the net and when free, made it a game to escape the capture. We finally removed the net.
Whenever a door opens, you can be sure that Timber is heading straight for it.
Luckily for us, it has a fairly predictable flight path. He prefers to sprint across the road and under the neighbors’ cars, then back to the neighbor’s side yard next to us, presumably looking for his “girlfriend”, who is actually a male cat with whom I don’t think he gets along.
Neighbors across the block have grown accustomed to watching my family of four run past all of our houses in pursuit of a sprinting black and white cat – one of us usually carrying a long stick which we use to prod it out of under vehicles with. Sometimes a child also brings a butterfly net.
Last weekend, however, we were on deck planting peppers that we had fed indoors from seed in my daughter’s new raised bed (thanks Grammy!). Naturally, the cat came out for the fifth time that day.
Here we go againI thought.
I called my son because he is the best cat teddy in the family and he hunted in his socks. Knowing that my boy was somewhat under control, I calmly walked through the house and into the garage and put on my shoes to join in the hunt.
Except this time there was no prosecution.
“Mom!” my son shouted from a green space next to our house.
I turned the corner to see our wood…in the wood. A first for all of us, the damn hairball had climbed a tree.
What the hell! Wasn’t his deluxe enclosure, with a tunnel, enclosure and three-story tower, up to the task?
No, now he had to climb a maple tree and chew the branches and leaves too. (I prayed he didn’t have any major gastrointestinal upset as a result…like last month when he got his hands on a steak we were eating…)
At just over a year old, Timber didn’t fully realize the extent of his predicament until he tried to descend and discovered that going down would be much more difficult than going up.
That’s when I started to feel bad for the little guy. He was panting and becoming visibly distressed. With a small ladder and 30 minutes of pushing, I was able to get him to a place where I could grab him and pull him not so gracefully out of the foliage to safety.
After some water and some time indoors to recuperate, he was himself again, though he didn’t try to leave the house for at least a few hours after that.
Robert doesn’t care about the Timber stories we share but it’s a long game for me. I’m just pushing him to like my cat. Because you never know, one day when he least suspects it, I might ask him to babysit Mr. Bite for a few days…
ColumnistComedy and humor