Bob Hanging Out With… Bob

WagsphotoBy Bob Wagner, AAP Columnist

I was sitting on my back steps yesterday, enjoying the sunshine, chatting with my new friend, Bob. Actually, I was talking, Bob was listening. Bob rarely speaks, as Bob is a cat. His presence in the neighborhood goes back to springtime, when he appeared in the alley, along with a few siblings, climbing in and out of my old wooden fence. We all generally ignored each other throughout the summer. The siblings seem to have moved on, but Bob remains.

I am not usually a cat fancier, and have a very limited knowledge of cats in general. But Bob has taken my fancy. For one, he is kind of a ¾ cat, in size. Sort of a Peter Pan of cats, he refuses to grow up. Secondly, he has no tail. I don’t know how he came to be separated from his tail, and he’s not saying. Such is our relationship that it doesn’t matter much.

Anyway, I digress. I had a cup of coffee and a cigar; Bob had a cup of diced ham and a dish of water. The temperature was quite lovely, and the sun was shining nicely. But the forecast was for arctic cold overnight, and I was telling Bob about plans I had to build a kitty condo outback, near the fence where he first appeared. As we shared our warm spot on the back steps, a gathering was occurring at the edge of the alley. First one, then two, and finally three cats strolled into view, sitting down, eavesdropping on our conversation. Bob suspected they wanted to share his ham. I thought they were attracted to my witty banter. Either way, their appearance seemed to strengthen the bride’s somewhat jaundiced view of my relationship with Bob. She has said, a bit sharply, that feeding and watering Bob can only lead to more cats hanging about the yard. She has enough to put up with just feeding and watering me, she said. The bride is not a fan of cats, or sometimes me. But I have developed a sort of perverse pleasure, over our many years together, of pushing her buttons. I know it’s not smart, and there will be consequences, but I cannot help myself. Bob thinks it akin to poking the bear, and makes himself scarce when the bride is in the area. But he hasn’t been around as long as I.

The bride has not issued a definitive veto on the cat condo, but has said she will not be responsible for Bob’s safety when pulling in or out of her parking spot. There is a possibility that Bob’s tail may still be in someone’s car or truck out in the alley.

I’m heading up to the computer to look up plans for the cat house. I will need the bride’s assistance, since the last time I typed in “cat house,” a whole bunch of stuff appeared on my screen that I’d not care to have up there if the girly girls come over for a visit. Plus, making the bride an accomplice in my foolishness will again push a few buttons, feeding the ongoing contest that fuels our relationship.

Stay warm and toasty. I’ll be back next month, if the bride doesn’t kill me first.

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