Pookie had been abandoned at a trailer park and had been begging for food there for many months. He was at the County shelter and was on his last day when a friend called me to come see him. He wound himself around our legs and purred and acted like he knew we were his last chance. Ten minutes later we were heading home with this big, gray, long-haired cat in my arms. He is quite a snuggler and loves to be the center of attention. He howls until he gets his way which ensures that he always gets his way! I had heard a heard a story on The Prairie Home Companion where a cat was named Pookie and knew right away I would name him that. Pookie fit right into our lifestyle and has been part of our family for over 12 years.
We moved to Washington in the summer of 2002. When we arrived after a 2 day drive I was very surprised to see a skinny, mangy, yellow cat lounging on the porch. My mind was already racing – was he homeless, had the previous owners left him behind, would he be staying with us? I could hear my husband’s deep sigh as he realized we had just added another animal to our household. I named the cat Billy Bob after the actor in hopes it would give him some emotional stability, being named after this famous and highly successful person.
It turned out that Bill was a feral cat. Very feral. We could not get anywhere near him and he would run at the sight of us. I would leave out bows of food and water for him but they had to be hidden from view in a safe spot or he would not approach it. I would add Feral Cat Comforter (a product I had used often in my work with feral cats in California) to his water daily. It is made by Anaflora.com and is a miracle made exclusively from flowers.
It took 6 months but one day my husband was able to actually touch Bill while he was eating. Just for one second and with one finger, but this was a huge step forward. Next we were able to catch him (yes, by trickery) and took him in to be neutered. While he was there the veterinarian found a piece of bone caught up in Bill’s gumline. He thought that this might have contributed to Bill’s irritability and surly attitude and he was right. After that Bill began to come around us and sit nearby. He became great friends with our dog, Jack, and they were inseparable.
It took 2 years of coaxing and patience but one day Bill let me carry him inside our home. He would sit with me on a chair for a second or two and then want back out again but we took it one step at a time and now Bill is a complete member of our family and joins us in all our activities.
Bill sleeps indoors on a cushy bed next to Pookie and snuggles with us on the sofa. It is a joyous sight to see him with his purple collar and little bell that he wears so proudly. We recently celebrated Bill’s 6th year with us. He is a bright spot of sunshine in our lives. We have learned so much about patience and love from this little bundle of fur.