I haven’t reminisced about Tom for a long time. I hate to sound thoughtless, but I need to conserve my energy to focus on Tom’s progeny. To be clear, seven of the ten cats living at Catland were fathered by Tom.
I must thank the cat with the unoriginal given name, and with the biggest head I have ever seen on a feline, for getting me into this line of work.
Twelve years ago, Tom mated with so many female stray cats in the neighborhood that I couldn’t keep up with his bragging rights—and brag he did. Tom swaggered, too. Still, I managed to rescue and adopt his sister, Lillie, and their first litter of children: T.J., Perkins, and Miss Tommie. Then along came their second litter, Leo and Acorn. And then Linus and Alvar arrived at the back door, announcing themselves as the offspring of another one of Tom’s girlfriends. Ah, the “Tom gene.”
Tom disappeared one day, and we cherish the single photo of him that we took while he was reclining in our backyard on a typically scorching summer day. Tom was camera-shy, just as he dodged our efforts to trap him and have him neutered.
Given that Tom does not live on through numerous photographs of him, I could not believe the image I found recently when visiting the Friends of Life website. The “virtual cat” staring directly at me was Tom’s look-alike, and he goes by the name of Rocky Balboa.
Rocky’s pedigree indicates a track record that approximates Tom’s glory (and gory) days. Rocky is a street warrior, wearing his wounds prominently on his nose. In short, the blurb was sufficiently persuasive, and the timeline accompanying Rocky’s classification as an “adult cat” fell within the realm of possibility.
What if Tom were still alive and waiting for us to rescue him, at last? I am often in the vicinity of the Friends for Life shelter in Houston because some of my favorite antiques shops are nearby. Much as the web presentation featuring Rocky Balboa is convincing, I suspect that I will know definitively if Rocky is Tom only by visiting Friends for Life and seeing for myself.
Query of the Day: Should I go?