~ Russ Thomas

For 3 years I had an orange cat named Bob. Bob had come from an unfortunate background but he flourished here and was entertaining company. Sometimes the Warner’s big cat from just down the road, also orange and fluffy, would stop by to visit and take Bob off for an adventure. I worried but he always came home.

A couple of years after Bob died, in early Spring, I noticed this same neighbor’s orange cat out my window just walking along on the hard snow about fifty feet from my house. As I watched, he stopped suddenly and froze in place. After a bit I recognized his posture and behavior as one cats often adopt when encountering another cat. He was stock-still this side of a snow pile and a defunct compost bin for several minutes. Finally, out from behind the snow pile strolled a bobcat until the wild cat and Bob’s former playmate stood about five feet apart. I was sure that the orange cat was now lunch, but they just stayed like that for a long while. Finally, orange cat lifted one paw at a time and, in slow motion, carefully, began to back up. He backed a ways and then edged sideways a few feet, always incredibly slowly, one paw at a time, then eased along right in front of the bobcat, now heading generally south. The whole time the bobcat just watched and let him go. Orange cat was last seen running home, now at a pretty good clip. The bobcat soon went about his business. I still am amazed at this encounter and continue to wonder what went on in the bobcat’s mind. Maybe nature isn’t always red in tooth and claw.