My Little Hobo, the Tiny Terror

My two cats can’t be more different.

This is Other Brother Coon Cat (OBCC) in his usual haunt.

He’s twice the size of my Halloween cat.

This is the Tiny Terror. 

Sometimes I wonder if he was possessed. 

I don’t know how to do Photoshop, and the only thing I did was crop the picture.  I’m not very good at photography, so I’m the first to admit “operator error” might be at play here.

He was so cute as a kitten.  He showed up at our door on Halloween, meowing for food.  It took weeks to turn a skinny cat with matter fur into a sleek and shiny black cat with silver undercoat.

He’d sleep on my chair when I was doing other things, or if I was at work, but the moment he saw me he wanted to be held.

He’d lie in my lap for hours, peacefully sleeping.

As soon as he hit the cat equivalent of a teenager, he started exploring the neighborhood. 

There were times he disappeared for a day, sometimes two.  Then, he’d come through the door demanding food as if I weren’t half crazy over the thought of losing him.  I’d try to pet him and he’d pull away as if to say, “Leave me alone, I’m eating!”

When it comes to the Tiny Terror, no errant piece of meat is safe. Not even the food we make for our doggies.

Once, to my horror, he was chowing down on the piece of key lime pie I’d left on my desk – and I was only gone for a few minutes.

After the first time he disappeared for two days, I did the one thing to him I swore I’d never do; have one of my 4-footed companions chipped – due to problems that can occur, such as cancer developing near the site of the microchip.  But I couldn’t go through another sleepless night wondering if I’d ever see him again.

A few months after I had him chipped, he disappeared for 3 days.  There are local lost and found sites on social media where you can post pictures of 4-footed companion.  Hubby was preparing meat for the dog food and I was in the middle of writing a post on the lost-and-found site, while wiping away tears, when the Tiny Terror sauntered in, jumped next to the meat, and took what he wanted of it.  After that, Hubby brought him into the office/bedroom. 

He jumped on my desk to stare at me, his way of saying, “Open a can of tuna, human.” 

From the looks of it, he was probably stuck in someone’s house until he could slip through the door. He was hungry but his coat glowed nicely.  That’s not what a cat looks like if he was stuck under a car, or hiding in a tree from a predator.

He hasn’t disappeared for more than a day since that time.  I suppose the food is better here, he isn’t treated as well at other places, and the dog door is much too convenient.

He’ll stay in my office for an entire hour after sharing a can of tuna with OBCC, and then when I’m busy on the computer, he’ll slither out the door to become hobo cat again.

Either that, or he’ll steal my chair and refuse to give it back.

My dogs have two acres to run around in, and other dogs to play with. They love going on car rides more than anything else.  People in this area see 5 heads sticking out the windows taking in the sights and scents.  They often match our speed in the next lane to enjoy our family’s happiness. 

But Tiny Terror is a do-it-yourself adventure seeker.  It might have been better to name him “Roamer.”

I often ask the question, “Which would I rather have, a miserable 20-year life in prison, or a few years living life my way?”

We have this unrealistic idea that there is such a thing as “safe.”  We love our pets and don’t want them to experience the dangers of the outside world.  We want them to live as long as possible — and in some cases, we deny them a quality life on their terms.

Once, when he was sick, he was confined to my room while I nursed him back to health.  When he felt better, he ran like hell out the door and didn’t return for two days.  As we always do, when he doesn’t come for dinner, we walk around the area calling to him.  He arrived back home at the time of his choosing, thinner and with a matted coat.

Yes, I understand that cats can’t roam around in cat-unfriendly places where predators like coyotes and mountain lions roam, or large cities in an apartment on the 20th floor. 

The Tiny Terror may be in our lives for 2 – maybe 3 – years.  If we’re fortunate, he’ll settle into a life inside by the time he’s 4. 

I treasure every day he comes back to us.

UPDATE:  I started writing this post a month ago.  He’ll be two years old in a few weeks and I think he’s finally growing out of his teenage years.  First, he stopped roaming in the woods and stayed closer to home, and then he started spending most of his time on my bed, or on the desk near OBCC.  He leaves around 2 in the morning and he’s back inside before I awaken.  He will often be lying next to me.

What a great way to wake up in the morning!

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23 thoughts on “My Little Hobo, the Tiny Terror

    • floridaborne says:

      Only the native Floridians like me. 🙂

      Seriously, fitting a 4-footed companion into your lifestyle is possession, not love. I’d rather have him in my life for a few years than have him unhappy or mentally damaged, for 15.

      • CLEvangelism says:

        Yeah, well, we’ll see what you write when someone shoves a firecracker up your cat’s ass. That’s what happened to a “friendly neighborhood cat” named Katy here in Cleveland:

        Or maybe some guy will punt your cat like a football:

        Or maybe someone will hit your cat with a car, shoot it, or poison it, and your cat will die a slow, painful death.

        YOU.ARE.A.PARENT. As such, you are supposed to protect your cat.

        • floridaborne says:

          Car accidents are the 3rd highest cause of death. If we wanted to keep our children safe, we should never transport our children in cars because they might die and they should stay in their rooms so they can live a long life.

          We give our cats love, just like our parents gave us love. We played outside and sometimes broke bones roller skating. Life is not safe. Anyone who says we can make people, cats, or dogs safe doesn’t understand the world we live in. You can be walking your dog or cat and be killed by a mugger with a knife.

          We love cats, and we have that in common. We can agree to disagree.

          • CLEvangelism says:

            Oh, we disagree all right, but this has nothing to do with opinion. Like I said, your story will change when something terrible happens to your cat. Sadly, it’s going to take something more serious than him disappearing for three days.
            But I’m talking to someone who doesn’t make logical sense. You were afraid of him getting cancer from a chip, but you’re A-okay with someone shoving a firecracker in his ass, punting him like a football, hitting him with a car, poisoning him, or shooting him.
            You make as much sense as any other story that comes out of Florida.

  1. maryltonks says:

    I can’t understand the logic of letting an animal roam around with all the dangers outside. You’re very, VERY lucky to still have him!

  2. Charles Huss says:

    He is a beautiful boy and is lucky to have the freedom that you give him. I wish I could let our cats out unsupervised but our neighborhood has rules against that and I would not want them taken from us. Also, I fear drivers who don’t pay attention and people who are mean to cats. Some even put poison out for them.

    • floridaborne says:

      Thank you for such a well thought-out reply. There are reasons people can’t allow a cat to roam, and it centers around where they can live.

      I had a cat who was the ultimate escape artist. I was told he wasn’t going to live over 3 years due to a heart condition and he needed to stay inside. He lived 13 years his way (inside when he wanted, outside when he didn’t) until his heart condition finally got the best of him.

      • Charles Huss says:

        I am not one of those people who think cat’s should be inside only. I think a cat that can come and go at will is best for them if it is safe and I feel bad that I can’t give my cats that freedom.

  3. Rohvannyn says:

    Wow people here can be judgmental. I do understand that if you have a pre-existing dog door, there’s no keeping a cat inside who wants to roam. Cats are pretty smart, after all, and when they are determined to do something it’s pretty hard to stop them. I keep mine inside but then I don’t have a very big yard, or dogs, and no convenient dog doors or open windows. Also we have owls and coyotes and hawks and scorpions and lots of cars… so yeah. Indoor kitties. Your kitties are gorgeous! Your Terror reminds me of a sweet cat I had, who also used to have the glowy eye thing happen in photos.

    • floridaborne says:

      The glowy eye thing was creepy the first time I saw it. He has an intelligence I haven’t seen in most of my cats. We took him to the vet with one of our dogs. Once his rabies shot was over with, he sat in a chair, sphynx style, watching the vet examine the dog. It was like he was in school listening to a professor intently.

      We have pigmy rattlers, coyotes, owls and other predators, too. We have a 5 foot fence he easily scales. I’ve never had a cat with such fast reflexes who is always scanning her perimeter.

      • Rohvannyn says:

        Reminds me of the time my boy (black cat, looked a lot like yours) smacked my other two cats on the butt for fussing over their worm medication, then took his like a gentleman without need for a towel.

    • franhunne4u says:

      A little bit of science: every cat has glowing eyes – though not in all photos. It is the lining of the back of a cat’s eye which reflects the light of a flash. That is what enables a cat to see in circumstances when humans can’t. A kind of light use efficiency that makes them so good at hunting during twilight hours.

      • Rohvannyn says:

        Yep, that’s a pretty cool feature of cat eyes! My current one glows red, like a human, but that’s because he has blue eyes.

  4. catladymac says:

    If you have a cat that is determined to go outside, you will have one heck of a time keeping them inside. The best of your intentions won’t matter diddly to a determined cat.

    • floridaborne says:

      Thanks, catladymac. That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say. Love them for who they are and accept that some cats will never stay inside. Try to keep them in, and they’ll run away.

  5. floridaborne says:

    Hi, Marc. 🙂

    Here’s an update on the Tiny Terror. He still saunters in, eats, allows me to pet him, and roams. Sometimes, he sleeps for a while in front of the monitor and brings such peace to my heart when he does that. I’m thankful for every day he is in my life.

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