My friend, Brian Reilly, told me about a stray cat that had come into his yard. As Brian described him, ‘This cat was a two-faced creature.’ On the cat’s face, there is a splash of white on the right side of his face, and a vertical line of white down his nose, which made the stranger look as though his face was meant to have two parts. Finally, another smear of white fur on the cat’s left jaw completed the bizarre pattern.
Brian told me the cat wandered into his yard with ‘no adoption papers nor any certificate of authority to his name with not even a food stamp to show his good will.’ The cat was homeless. The stranger had come looking for water and a free meal. This was a Hobo cat and not a tramp. The difference is important. Hobo’s are free creatures, who make their way in life alone, independent and free. Such was this small nameless creature. To help my readers know the Hobo cat the better and, perhaps, if they go to Central California to Linden Town, or visit Brian, the Editor of the Linden Herald, they may see that remarkable cat as a future acquaintance. Since Brian admitted in his e-mail to me, that the cat was yet unnamed, I have taken the liberty of giving Brian’s friend an appellation. Brian appears, from the several photographs he took, to have added the cat to the company of creatures he waters and feeds, so I shall refer to the cat as Noname.
Noname has another quality, which further proclaims him, not only to be a free spirit, who makes his own way in life, but he is an efficient hunter. Brian noticed a sudden and permanent drop in the number of small creatures in his vicinity. He wrote, ‘I have not seen a single mouse, rat, lizard, frog, raccoon, porcupine or other small animal, lately, in my yard or in half a mile.’ Brian noticed something else. The day before he sent me this report, he opined on the new cat’s judgment. ‘A herd of wild turkeys strolled by the cat. Instead of continuing his foraging for dinner where he found it, that cat wisely remained as still as the grave, not moving a hair of his fur as the big birds passed him by and only inches away.’
Turkeys have shark beaks and this cat had the good judgment not to pick a fight with a Turkey. A turkey will, sometimes, use its beak as a weapon, and may use it against a man or a mouse.To show the turkeys had not paralyzed Noname’s hunting instinct, Brian added, ‘The newcomer cat watches the finches as the small birds feed at their dinner in the bird feeder. The cat still thinks about the fiches, but he is too well fed and fat to climb as high as the feeders.’ I have not seen Noname in person, but from Brian’s remark, I suppose Brian’s provisions have fattened Noname.
I told my cat friend, Cleo, about the stranger. Cleo has been corresponding with cats in other places, so, quite naturally, she would want to know something of Brian’s cat. Another friend, Peter Pepke, one of the truly great trombone musicians, tells me stories about Ellie, his cat. Peter’s tales are as strange as those of Brian’s cat. Some of the tales I have heard, and some I have told about my cat, Cleo, sound fanciful as well. I want my readers to know, they may rely on the absolute truth of every one of these tales. Like myself, Brian and Peter would rather die than tell a lie.
The next time Cleo stays outside too long, I hope she will remember Noname, who was forced to spent time ‘on the road’ as a hobo. Perhaps she will remember she has it pretty good being my cat.