Life Lessons From a Couple of Cats
We met Bully about 9 months ago. He showed up on our homestead one day as a tiny scrappy thing. He seemed to really want to be here so we took him in, hoping he would make a good companion for Sammy. Now Sammy (our country cat) hadn’t had much luck in the friend department. His sister had left a year ago, never to return. He then palled around with a patchy cat, but she was preyed on by a fox. Next Sammy found Brownie, a cute little stray that he brought home. They absolutely adored each other. We all loved Brownie. However, one morning we found Brownie had perished during the night. We had all but given up hope on Sammy finding a permanent companion. Then came Bully.
Bully and Sammy were not instant friends. Sammy was twice Bully’s size but Bully's enormous ego more than outweighed Sammy's gentle spirit. We assumed the issue was that Bully was intact while Sammy was fixed. So, we trapped Bully and took him to the local veterinarian for a little snip-snip. Bully came home a few days later a bit lighter (what can I say, poor guy) however with more catitude than ever before…hence his name. We hadn’t named him until after his return.
Bully it seems was set on becoming cat number one. While sweet Sammy already had that status based on seniority. Bully did things like not letting Sammy eat and not allowing Sammy access to their winter bedding. We would also see him shooing Sammy off from time to time. We were getting pretty fed up with Bully as we noticed Sammy sitting out in the freezing rain or saw Bully eating dinner times two. As a family, we discussed options for Bully with rehoming being everyone’s vote.
It was final, Bully would go to live elsewhere. We contacted a local rescue and set to trapping him. I think Bully knew what we were up to though because no amount of tuna could get him to enter the camouflaged trap. He wasn’t buying it…at all. The last time he was trapped he endured a snip-snip and he’s no dummy. So, we continued to try, and he continued to elude us.
Then one afternoon we witnessed Bully’s true purpose on our homestead. As it turned out, his reason for being here wasn’t just to pick on Sammy after all. A couple of feral cats came along intent on taking over. Sammy, a major pushover, was no match for the feral cats but Bully was. Bully, stealth and panther like, sprang into action and whooped some feral butt. The feral cats split, Sammy was saved, and Bully was suddenly looked upon as more hero than villain.
So, we put the trap away and made some accommodations for Bully’s behavior. My mama, cat caregiver, feeds them on schedule while watching over them as they eat. They now know the routine and Bully no longer eats Sammy’s food (although he still would if not for mama’s watchful eyes). The bedding situation is now taken down. No one gets a bed. There are plenty of places on the property providing shelter so to each their own. These changes have made a big difference. Sammy and Bully are not exactly besties, but they’ve learned to peacefully coexist. Most days they leave each other alone but sometimes they actually hunt together.
I think some good lessons can be learned from Sammy and Bully. You don’t always get to choose the people you coexist with. You don’t have to be besties to get along. You can live a peaceful life with someone even if you don’t agree with them. Sometimes a person’s true purpose is misunderstood. And finally, life is so much better when you have someone that’ll have your back, no matter what, when shit goes down.