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Bonding with Bubba

Convincing Testament to the Feline-Human Bond

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Man with cat and kitten

Asa's first concern has always been Bubba

Franny Syufy
Long before I heard the term "feline-human bond, I was witness to an incredible sense of "brotherhood" between my husband, Asa, and our cat, Bubba. This bonding started when Bubba was just a young kitten, and continued to the day Bubba passed on, at 19 years. Like all permanent bonds, it was a two-way arrangement. Asa adored Bubba, and Bubba considered his human dad the "cat's meow." Together, they gave lie to the old belief that "real men don't love cats."

Who's the Trainer?

I have heard it said that cats are un-trainable. It might be more appropriate to say, "Cats may choose to be trained."

Case in point: Bubba could distinguish the sound of hubby's Ford Mustang engine, long before I was aware he was home. Bubba would dash to the utility-room door, chirping and singing, and as soon as Asa entered, leapt to his shoulders. This "shoulder-riding routine" started when Bubba was just a kitten. He perfected his acrobatics over the years, and made the vault from floor to shoulders with just a slight "beat" about chest-height. Bubba was so sure that Asa would catch him, that he never hesitated; the entire maneuver was accomplished in about 1/5 of a second.

They then performed their nightly bonding ritual, which consisted of Asa carrying Bubba around the house, while both discuss the events of the day. I was aware of the homecoming only when I heard the murmuring and cooing. (Yes, men can coo, when they don't know they're being observed.) He then would deposit Bubba back on top of the dryer in the utility room and gives him a thorough brushing, before refilling the food bowl.

The Vacuumed Cat

Have you ever tried to vacuum a cat? Bubba simply loved it, as long as Asa was wielding the vacuum hose. In the summer, when he shed more than usual, Asa made a twice-weekly vacuuming an occasion. Bubba eagerly jumped to the dryer the minute he heard the sound of the vacuum being turned on, and he would purr and preen as the vaccum rid him of excess hair.

Although we rarely watch television, we do have a few select programs which we watch almost every week. Bubba knew immediately when it's a "TV Night." He curled up on the sofa next to hubby and intently watched and listened, until Asa would say, "It's time to go to bed," and Bubba would jump up and trot toward the bedroom, tail held high and quivering with anticipation.

They played a game going up the stairs. Bubba bounded ahead, flew up about three steps, then lay down, blocking the path. Asa then must stop, scratch his ears and cajole him up a couple more treads, where they would repeat the process. With 14 risers and a landing, the total stair climb could sometimes consume five minutes.

Several months after the death of my own "best kitty friend," Shannon, I timidly broached the idea of looking for another "marmelade boy." Asa's immediate response was, "I couldn't do that to Bubba." Asa's first concern was always Bubba's happiness. When I was finally able to convince him that Bubba might accept two kittens better than one adult cat, we went forward with the plan, and the end result was all that we'd hoped for. Bubba accepted our new feline family members, because he knew he would always be the "top cat" in these parts.

This kind of bonding between feline and human can be accomplished with love, love and more love, preferably starting at an early age (of both). My huband claimed to have been raised by a cat; what more can I say?

I have no doubts that, should Asa have asked, Bubba would jump through hoops of fire for him.

But he never asked.

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