We hadn’t lived here for 24 hours when he showed up and started meowing. Incessantly. With particular vigour after nightfall. Right below the bedroom window.
We wondered if perhaps he was the previous owner’s cat. Did he get confused and come back to the wrong house? Was he a stray? Dave took a picture on his cellphone, hopped on his bike and went to ask the neighbours. Do you know this cat? No one did.
Three days later we thought we should at least feed him – the poor thing hadn’t stopped meowing since he first laid eyes on us. So we treated him to some pork roast, a little bit of tuna and a piece of bacon here and there.
Then one day while we were out sitting on the deck we decided to name him something better than the cat so I picked out ButterCup. ButterCup morphed into ButterBall then ButterBell then finally ButterCat. He was fluffy – ButterCat stuck.
The next thing we knew, we were buying cat food at the grocery store (but only the cheap, no-name kind because he wasn’t actually our cat, right?). He was only allowed inside during the day. And never ever on the furniture. Unless he was sitting on us while we were laying on the furniture. That was okay.
The lights twinkled in our barn as neighbours sat on hay bales and Dave Gunning sang folk tunes. After the show, we sat around enjoying a few drinks and shootin’ the breeze when all of a sudden, our new friend from down the lane exclaimed, FILBERT! This is where you’ve been hiding! Imagine our surprise when we turned to see who he was talking to and realized he was looking at… the ButterCat. A little bit shocked, all I could think to blurt out was, He’s YOUR cat?! You owe us $30 for cat food! (My propensity to spit out ridiculous statements is a whole other blog post entirely).
Turns out ButterCat is actually named Filbert and he’s from Missouri. He moved up here with his family a few years ago and was living happily with them until JoJo came on to the scene. JoJo is a frisky german shepherd mix to whom ButterCat – er, Filbert rather – did not take kindly. So Filbert moved himself out. And up the lane. Where he decided to adopt us.
Knowing that ButterCat had a proper home down the lane took the pressure off us. When we left for Asia, we didn’t bat an eye. We knew that if the winter was harsh enough, or if ButterCat got hungry enough, he would swallow his pride and head back down for some shelter and food. The funny thing is, the neighbours didn’t see him at all while we were gone. The three coldest months of the year and the ButterCat didn’t make an appearance once. We weren’t home from our trip 12 hours when guess who we saw bounding across the field towards us?
He sleeps inside at night now.