This is my buddy Bert. He likes to hang out with me while I write. I didn’t give him his name, although we think it suits him well. He was named by the folks at the Dane County Humane Society. He had been at the shelter for three months, mostly in a cage except for when he was let out for exercise. Because of his large size, he was transferred to one of the catteries at a local chain of pet food stores.
He had more room to roam at the cattery and was treated well, but he was very depressed by the time we came to pick him up. He didn’t like sharing space with other cats and had been passed over so many times for adoption. I had seen his picture several times “by chance” (which I don’t believe in!) before we finally decided to go and get him. After checking our entire house out, he crawled under the covers of my daughter’s bed and slept for three days. He only came out occasionally to eat, drink, and use the cat pan.
I knew by the look in his eyes that he was the cat for us. (I later recognized the same look in the eyes of birds of prey.) He turned out to be 15 months old, very intelligent, and an incredibly swift killing machine. Shortly after we brought him home, he chased a squirrel up a tree so fast my eyes couldn’t track his progress. Fortunately, one of the neighbor boys happened to be in his backyard at the time and saw Bert run up the tree or I wouldn’t have known where he had gone.
We’ve been serving Bert for eight years now. He’s slowed down a bit but still hunts rabbits, voles, and chipmunks while out on his line or leash. We don’t let him out unattended or there wouldn’t be anything left alive in the neighborhood! (One day when my daughter had just taken him out the front door on his 12-foot long line, two sparrows that were fighting flew low over her head. She ducked and at the same time Bert leaped. He hit the ground with one bird in his mouth head first and the other under his front paws! I managed to save the bird under his paws, but the one in his mouth was already gone. I scolded him roundly and took away his kill. I hate it when cats kill birds—even sparrows. )
I’m really glad that we adopted an adult cat. We didn’t have to deal with destructive kitten behavior, and he was better able to take care of himself. If we ever adopt again, I would adopt a pair of adult cats. Our shelter often pairs cats. It makes the transition to a new home less stressful, and two cats keep each other company while their owners are away at work or school all day.