Marriage is a very funny thing. There’s a lot of give and take, a lot of compromise, acceptance, and integration.

BubbaWhen my wife and I got married, everything we owned was casually mixed together, and in this mixture happened to be something wholly unexpected: Her cat. Bubba the Cat, as she is currently known, is an old, female, declawed black Kitler (cat with a Hitler-like moustache), and somehow between first meeting her and now, we have become best friends.

Initially, I met Bubba while dating my eventual wife, discovering that she lived exclusively inside her bedroom at my wife’s parent’s place. Apparently, she had become secluded more of her own choosing as 1. Dogs lived in the house, and 2. Boys lived in the house. It was specifically that second part that made Bubba want to live the entirety of her existence in one, modestly-sized room with a single window. I discovered rather quickly that her aversion to men was based entirely on the treatment she received on a regular basis from the dad and brother, which came down to general pestering, teasing, and tormenting. Simply put, they were dog people, in the worst way.

It seemed that because of everything, Bubba would only ever come out of hiding to see my soon-to-be wife and then recoil instantly when she saw me or anyone else, even hissing if the mood struck her right. Things didn’t change too drastically when my wife-to-be and Bubba moved to a college quad, with Bubba yet again living most of her life in a single, now much smaller bedroom.

Upon marriage, my wife and I moved into a comically small studio apartment, but to Bubba this seemed to be a palace. She no longer had to hide in closets or under beds and could instead enjoy the comfort of a couch and regular petting sessions. In the beginning of my relationship with Bubba, petting her was dangerous as, first, it was rare that she would allow me to get near her, and second, she was prone to bite extremely hard if she felt threatened even for a second.

However, things changed amazingly when we moved yet again, this time to a nice, roomy apartment with carpets. The second Bubba was introduced to carpets, something she’d never really experienced, she flopped down and began squirming around, enjoying this wonderful sensation. In this moment I believe something awakened in Bubba, allowing her to enjoy life just a bit more. She was more at home with me and didn’t mind letting me pet her for long periods of time, and also didn’t mind cosying up on me while I was asleep. Of all the men in the world, she had apparently decided I was safe.

Then one terrible night, she got outside and ran off. My wife and I were heartbroken and assumed we’d never see Bubba again as she had no front claws, had no collar, and we lived next to a busy road and beyond that a large nature park. Is she wasn’t eaten by coyotes or hit by a car, she’d most certainly be adopted. I mourned all day, frantically searching for her. By that evening I was a wreck, surprised that I cared so much about a cat that had a passing interest in me at best. Naturally, my wife and I stepped outside at 10 pm for one last neighbourhood search and there was Bubba, rolling around on the sidewalk just because.

BubbaBubba continued to evolve into a much friendlier kitty the more we owned her, even doing away with some of her less savoury qualities in the process. She no longer bites me, ever, and while she originally had a huge drooling problem, she hasn’t drooled in years. She’s also learned to relax a bit when other people come to visit, even being social with my parents (she refuses to show her face when my wife’s family comes over though). This kindness didn’t really extend to other animals though as she refused to be in the same room as a pair of strays we fostered for a month (a story for another day), but at least she was getting better.

The final straw to truly make Bubba my cat came when my wife decided to adopt a dog, solidifying herself as a dog person in Bubba’s eyes. The change was immediate, and instead of favouring both my wife and myself, she shunned my wife and ran to me at every opportunity, noticing that I was far more of a disciplinarian to the dog than a playmate, something she seemed to agree with.

To this day, Bubba is always waiting for me right outside the bedroom door when I wake up and always eager to run up to me when I come home. I can call her from the other side of the apartment and she will always come running. She will be friendly with my wife, but given the opportunity to sit on a lap on the couch, she will inevitably pick mine since I have a larger lap and because there is no chance that a dog will weasel his way into my good graces (or so Bubba believes). She has even found it in her icy heart to allow the dog to live a relatively peaceful life near her as she no longer finds it necessary to leap at his face and slap his snout with her clawless paws, and the dog has also learned that despite her inability to inflict pain on him, he is best leaving the kitty alone.

At this point, Bubba is roughly 12-years-old, but she doesn’t look or act her age at all. She’s in some of the best health imaginable and only seems to become more youthful and tolerant the longer we own her. Perhaps it’s because she now has a whole apartment with multiple rooms to explore and windows to look out of, or maybe it’s all because she’s finally getting the kindness and attention she’s sorely needed all these years. One thing’s for certain though: She’s absolutely not afraid to slap my hand away from my own sandwich so that she may steal the top layer and run.

 

BIO: Chris Pranger is a writer and editor for www.SimplyCatBreeds.org where he helps provide a resource for cat lovers everywhere to learn more about their favourite felines.

 

 

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