You see, the kids had a babysitter named Jenny, and Jenny lived on a farm. The farm had cats, the cats had kittens, and the rest, as someone always keeps saying, is history.
At first this little orange fluff-ball was named McGriff. Awhile later he was called Gruber, and I think he went through a Mookie phase. Mid-80s Toronto Blue Jays fans will understand this. In the end, the poor confused cat was christened Fuzz Buzz — although not literally, that I know of — and he finally had a name that stuck.
We lived in the country during Fuzz Buzz’s formative years so he grew up as an outdoor cat. Then, when he was about four years old, we moved to town. I was worried he might get lost in the new neighbourhood so I told the kids that he would have to stay indoors for a couple of weeks. I hoped that he’d somehow orient himself before going out on his own.
The only problem was, we moved in the summer and Fuzz Buzz longed to be outdoors. During the day he sat in the front window and looked outside, but at night he parked himself on our bedroom windowsill, between the curtains and the screen of the open window, and meowed. Most nights I only had to chase him away once or twice and then all would be well, but one night he kept returning to the windowsill, singing his plaintive song until I couldn’t take it anymore. Completely frustrated, I sat up in bed and hurled a pillow at the curtain. That brought silence and I fell asleep, satisfied that I’d taught Fuzz Buzz a good lesson.
The next morning when I opened the curtain I found, to my horror, that the screen was gone. A quick check confirmed that the cat was gone too. I felt awful. But then, despite the fact that the kids were heartbroken, I started to laugh.
For just one moment, try to imagine being Fuzz Buzz, sitting in the windowsill, safe behind the curtains. Without the briefest warning you get a solid whack on the back. Can’t you just picture kitty’s green eyes, wide with surprise, when he’s hurled into the darkness beyond the screen, a long A-h-h-h-h-h-h written in the speech bubble above his head? When he finally hit the ground, it’s no wonder he took off. I would have too.
Despite the unorthodox release however, I’m happy to say that the story ends well. Three days after his surprise launch, Fuzz Buzz came home. Although he never spoke of where he’d been while he was gone, I think he worked through the trauma and decided to forgive us.
From then on, Fuzz Buzz was allowed to be an outdoor cat, and as far as I know he always stayed close to home.