When Rupert moved to Ironwood over ten years ago, there were a number of cats occupying the farm house with the elderly farmer who was still alive. BeBe, however, was kept out of the house by Willy, the cat who ruled the roost. So, Rupert made friends with her first in the greenhouse, and then slowly introduced her to the house when the other cats were redistributed around Summerville. She had already seen a lot of years by that point, and was very striking, with her serious expression, notched ear, and peculiar eyes – a “handsome” cat, as Rupert would say. She, and her son Pedro, had a lot of love to give, and certainly brought a lot of character to the farm house and nearby gardens.
A few years ago, BeBe spent a few months recovering from a stoke (and/or possibly a broken tail?) that threw her off balance, but didn’t dampen her spirit. The summer that Pedro died, BeBe lost her hearing, but not her interest in wandering the driveway, investigating the stream and culvert, and sleeping under my car (she delayed my departure for school many mornings). She survived countless crossings of the highway to visit the fields, tussles with some of the neighbourhood strays, and several disruptions to her home and routine through our various renovations over the years.
BeBe was a creature of habit, spending winter nights upstairs in my fleece stores or perched on Rupert’s shoulder, and summer nights on the bathroom windowsill. She drank out of our glasses and insisted on being served a certain food and the occasional “tuna water”. She loved napping with Rupert and dozing on his papers in front of the computer screen (or on the keyboard, if possible). She had a curious habit of twitching in her deep sleep, sometimes to the point that we would hear the crash of her falling to the floor from her dozing spot – often still asleep when she hit the ground (she could make quite a noise for a cat that only weighed a few pounds). She snored loudly and exhaled through the side of her mouth. The past few weeks she spent most of her time sleeping under the magnolia tree, and taking short walks around the farm yard, being more sociable than usual with strangers. She was even quite tolerant of Hazel, with not enough energy to make a fuss or an exit.
Rupert buried BeBe under the oak tree in the side yard on Sunday. I expect we will be listening for her snoring and her thuds, clearing off the printer for her naps, and checking our water glasses for some time to come. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.