There are many invasive species that are native to North Carolina. There are plants. There are fish. There are rodents. There are large, vicious mammals. Here at the Weaver house, we have been under siege lately by a particularly invasive species. This species knows no boundaries and never stops. This invasive species is the common house cat.
Before any of you jump to conclusions, and I know some of you will, I am not talking about Cooper. Cooper is still cooperly Cooper and will be along shortly to put in his two cents. Cooper is still his charming self. He is still kind and goofy and fun to hang around. Fear not, he is always in search of the perfect meal and on Sunday mornings, still wants to watch “Ice Station Zebra” with me. Truth be told, I am kinda sick of the movie, but Cooper seems to like it so we still watch it together every Sunday.
The suspect at large is named Hobbs. I know Hobbs’ last name, but I am leaving it out of the paper for his protection. His parents are a nice young couple who live next door. Hobbs is an indoor/outdoor cat and spends a lot of time outside. He likes the tree line in our backyards mostly and can be seen patrolling most days. Hobbs is friendly and very engaging. He’s a polite and playful orange tabby, much smaller than Cooper. He’s extremely vocal and conversational. You can actually talk to Hobbs and he will respond. It’s very strange when you catch yourself having a full conversation with a cat that does not speak English and you don’t speak cat. The only other time I can recall something like this happening was when I tried to give some Polish tourists directions in Washington D.C., which is hard enough to navigate when you speak and understand English., doubly so when you speak only Polish and the dope trying to give you directions does not speak the language. Hobbs is neither Polish nor a tourist. He’s a cat. A cat that won’t go home.
You see, he has a loving home with loving parents. They seem like nice folks, and I doubt Hobbs has a life of torment and danger when he goes home. Hobbs is well fed and loved and I am reasonably certain life is good for the guy. I have been in his house. He has his own bedroom with a television. Hobbs has it pretty good. I can’t see the appeal to our house, but I live here all the time and don’t see what the big deal is. If the feline Eddie Haskell wants to park his carcass on our sidewalk, I guess it’s okay.
It’s gotten to be a big comedy routine. Leave for work in the morning? There’s Hobbs, bounding across the yard like a lost love in one of those dumb gauzy scenes in bad romance movies. Take the trash to the curb? There’s Hobbs, shouting at you from his own yard. Get the mail? Hobbs, right there, asking in his own way what the mailman brought you. I don’t think he’s interested in the grocery flier or my telephone bill, but I find myself telling him anyway.
My wife has grown to calling him our “bonus cat.” A bonus cat is a cat that offers the benefits of cat ownership, without the responsibility. Unless his parents are away, I don’t have to feed Hobbs or clean out his litter box. Most days, I get to talk to him and scratch his head and make googly eyes at him or whatever. My wife gave him a small dish of water the other day because he “looked hot.” I asked her for a glass of water and she told me I could get a water bottle out of the fridge. She still cooks me dinner, so I guess I will let the water thing slide.
All in all, I guess it’s not such a bad deal. I’m Cooper’s dad and he loves me. We take care of all of his needs and he, well, he’s Cooper. Hobbs is a nice guy, and a so-so conversationalist, I guess.
He’s also at my front door.
Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.