Eight years ago, Bumble chose me. I’m the lucky one.
On December 5, 2003, I welcomed a mostly-grey-colored fur ball into my home. She invited herself, actually. I was looking for a dog. But this little cat picked me. This cat knew I needed something. This cat knew I needed her.
In late July 2003, I moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma to join the faculty in the School of Journalism and Broadcasting at Oklahoma State. I knew I wanted to adopt a dog very quickly, so I made a point to rent from a pet-friendly landlord and immediately began checking the newspaper and shelter listings. I paid regular visits to the kennels at Stillwater Animal Control and Stillwater Humane Society, which are located next door to each other. As much as I wanted to love each dog I visited, none seemed to be quite right for my situation.
During my visits, I would always stop by and say hello to the many cats who called the Stillwater Humane Society home. Fortunately, SHS was a no-kill shelter, but that meant they had a lot of cats. I would stop in to visit the cats, mostly out of courtesy. I liked cats, but I’d never really thought about adopting a cat. I have no idea why not. As I continued to look for the right companion, I started reviewing the SHS cat listings at Petfinder.
One day, just after Thanksgiving 2003, I stopped by the cat kennels to visit all the cats and check out one named Mozart. The name had caught my attention. As I walked through the kennel, the kitties were all calling out: “pick me, pick me, help, meow, I want a home.” I found Mozart in a small metal kennel with several other cats—they all had names that paid homage to something related to music. Mozart was pretty vocal, reaching his paw through the bars to get my attention. He seemed nice enough.
Big green/brown eyes stared at me from a grey-cream-and-yellow ball of fur and said: “I am here for you and I am supposed to go to your house.”
“Marimba” displayed the dark arts of feline trickery that can only be described as mind-meld.
I petted Marimba, visited the other cats, and left without adopting. But I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Marimba didn’t have a page on the SHS Petfinders listing, so I hadn’t know anything about her, but the mind-meld was working. I decided to pay her another visit and adopt if she was still there.
On Friday, December 5, 2003, I drove over to the Stillwater Humane Society after work. I found Marimba in the cat play room, under a chair. I sat down and invited her over. Marimba sat in my lap.
At the moment I asked: “Would you like to come and live at my house?” Marimba turned over onto her back (in my lap) and asked for a tummy rub. The purring would have been enough.
So I left the Stillwater Humane Society with “Marimba” in a banker’s box. The Diva was not happy with the travel arrangements.
The first hour or so at my house went well. She seemed to be adapting to the new environment and didn’t seem to be overwhelmed. But that would soon change.
I knew nothing, zero, about inside cats. And I knew even less about about skittish shelter cats. Not that she’d seemed skittish, mind you. While Bumble settled into my kitchen area, I set up a litter box in the garage at the entrance between my garage and laundry room. I positioned her sleeping box just inside the laundry room. My plan was to leave the door open so she could go into the garage for the litter box and then sleep in the box in the laundry room, which happened to be adjacent to the refrigerator.
We seemed to have bonded quickly, so Marimba settled into her sleeping box. Just as she was falling asleep, the refrigerator turned on and startled her. Before I could respond, Marimba had disappeared into the garage.
I didn’t see her again for over 24 hours and it was 48 hours before I had her safely under my control.
Long story short, Marimba got hungry and I was patient enough to wait until she reappeared. Fortunately, I didn’t need to move my car that weekend.
By Sunday night, I had her back in my possession and, thanks to the Internets, I had much more knowledge about how to properly bring a new kitty into my home.
The name Marimba was a problem. As a music fan and something of a musician, I liked it. A lot. But I kept saying “Miranda,” not “Marimba.” And this cat was not a Miranda.
I love bees and this cat has the coloring of a honey bee or bumble bee. Not striped, mind you, but the muddled colors of bee. Although I wasn’t crazy about the prospect that Bumble would be misconstrued as bumbling, I finally decided to go with Bumble.
While Bumble hid in the garage, I had rigged up a way to keep “Bumble” in the spare bathroom, while still allowing her open visibility with my comings-and-goings.
The photos of our “early years” were shot on film, so I don’t have digital images handy. But Bumble is still Bumble and she’s still a Diva. Bumble and I spent 10 months together before Bama joined our family.
Bumble taught me about unconditional love and how to adopt a shelter pet. She’s still teaching me something new every day. This morning, Bumble woke me to a special kitty-cat exfoliation facial. She really spent time on it, so I think she knew today is a special today.
We’ve had eight special years together, Bumble. I hope we have eight more. Future installments will chronicle our boat rides, the wildcat coming out of a cave, Bama joins the family, Dali’s visits, and more.
PS: Contrary to whatever Davis says….you are not evil.
I discovered the band the Casual Dots not long after I adopted Bumble. As it happens, they recorded a song called “Bumble Bee,” which I promptly adopted as Bumble’s theme song. “Shooh wee, you hurt me like a bee, bumble bee, an evil bumble bee.” Not really, but it’s great garage-band rock.