A Tribute To Hobie (1974? - 1992)
by Dave Faige

First Meeting.

He was originally known as the Masons' cat. How they got him and how old he was at that time, no one knows. The Masons, however, didn't pay much attention to him. So, he roamed the neighborhood.

One day, as Bill and I walked along the side of Bill's house, we heard a small meow coming from out of nowhere. After a bit, we happened to look up at the roof and there was Masons' cat trying to find a way down. We got a ladder and some food, and I climbed up. After enticing Masons' cat with the food, I picked him up and carried him down from the roof. Thus, Hobie and I first met.

Masons' cat loved people and would walk up to total strangers and make friends. He would go from house to house all over the neighborhood looking for handouts. This panhandling caused him to get a reputation as a hobo. Such a cat as that needed a good name. Hobo, the initial name, just didn't seem proper for such a friendly cat. So, Hobo was softened to Hobie, which stuck with him to the end.

The Masons moved to another home, taking Hobie with them. But Hobie kept running back to the old neighborhood. Eventually, the Masons gave up and Hobie stayed in the old neighborhood.

Sometime in 1981, Hobie showed up with an abscess in his left shoulder. It is not certain whether this was due to a run-in with a pit bull terrier that frequently ran loose around the area, or whether it was due to someone shooting him with a pellet gun (much later it was discovered there was a pellet lodged inside him). With the wound as well as the risk of a run-in with the dog in mind, a decision was made to take Hobie to the vet and thereafter I would share my home with him. Hobie was enticed once again with food, and thereupon he was forcibly placed in a cat carrier. He cried out the call of the wild as he lost his freedom forever.

The first days.

After his release from the vet, Hobie was brought to his new home. This was not a pleasant event for Hobie, after all, he found himself placed in that infernal cat carrier again. He yelled his protest. After a rather lengthy drive, he was let loose in Bill's bedroom. A while later, some food was placed inside a cage that was already in the bedroom and Hobie went for the food. The cage door was closed. Yelling his protest once again was to no avail, and Hobie was back on the road again. After another lengthy drive, Hobie and cage were carried into a rather small house (actually, a travel trailer). When the cage door was opened, Hobie wasted no time and went straight to the door of the house. With a side-long look at his new owner, Hobie indicated that he wanted out in no uncertain terms. I replied, "no, you are a house cat now." There was to be no bargaining. Case closed. Hobie got the idea quick enough, though.

Looking out the window.

A favorite pastime of many indoor cats, and Hobie was no exception. Nothing escaped his watchful eye. He knew when I would be coming home to bring on dinner, so Hobie was always watching out the window waiting patiently. Upon my arrival, Hobie would disappear from the window. Sure enough, he would be right there by the door to greet me: "Hi! Glad to see you, now FEED ME!"

Throughout most of his life, Hobie had a small meow when calling to people. You would hear this little call of a cat and turn around expecting a small cat or older kitten. Instead, here was this big, stocky, gray and white cat. Didn't match at all with the meow you heard. Actually, Hobie never meowed. It was more of an aow. And, many times he gave me the silent meow.

The good life.

After a year living in that small house, Hobie found himself on the road again. This time no carrier or cage. Just a big, smooth riding car. That was better, but still no fun to Hobie. He always hated to travel, and would protest loudly when he found himself being carried to a car.

His new home had lots of room and plenty of windows to look out of; even a high perch where he could command a view from all the windows and most of the inside of the house. Cat heaven! This was his home for six years.

It was at this house that it was found out that Hobie actually had a good set of lungs. When the local females were in season, Hobie gave a good account of himself singing for all he was worth. Usually at night. And arousing the wrath of his owner!

At one point, a few kitchen-type chairs were brought into the house. Hobie really took to those chairs, sleeping for hours on them. One night, as I was sitting on one of those chairs, Hobie realized that he could get on the chair, or, at least close enough to it, simply by jumping up on my lap. There was a revelation and from that moment on, Hobie became a confirmed lap cat. In short order, Hobie became an expert in the art of walking nonchalantly into a lap.

While laying on my lap, it was not unusual for Hobie to wash on-and-off-again for hours. Sometimes ending up completely soaked from the effort. He was the most washingest cat I have ever known.

As with many cats, he had the habit of pointing his head to the sky as you scratched or petted the top of his head. He even did this during the last minutes of his life.

The usual nighttime ritual was after I had turned out all the lights, Hobie would make sure everything was O.K. from out the window, then come in to the bedroom and lay on the pillow next to me. Sometimes Hobie would wash himself on the pillow for one or two hours before finally getting to sleep! Whereupon I could finally get to sleep!

Some cats purr loud and other cats purr long. Hobie did both. It was not unusual for him to lay on my lap and purr continuously for an entire two-hour movie, sometimes loud enough to heard clear across the room. As long as he lived with me, there wasn't a day in his life that he didn't purr.

Another habit of his was polishing shoes. Hobie would stand on one of your feet and rub your other foot - sometimes standing on his head and purring all the time.

Getting old.

In the spring of 1988, Hobie found himself in a new home - his last. After all that time in the big place, his last home was not quite as good. No lofty perches, and only one decent window to look out of. After a traumatic experience alone that was never clear as to what it was, Hobie became very uncomfortable in this house. Due to this, he lost his habit of sleeping on the pillow next to me.

He never lost his appetite for laying on my lap, though. On New Year's Day, 1992, I decided to do a movie video marathon - four movies in a row. Hobie laid on my lap (and purred) during the entire movie marathon: a total of eight hours with only short breaks between movies! This was probably the most contented day in his life.

Hobie was one of the most finicky eaters that ever got away with it. He put Morris to shame (at least Morris would eat 9-Lives - there was no assurance what Hobie would eat, including 9-Lives). And, he became more finicky yet as he got older. A stranger would have been astounded to look in the cat food cupboard -- there was always a couple of cans of every kind of cat food imaginable, usually between 20 to 30 cans total, plus a few boxes of dry food to boot. All for one cat! Later on I fed him people food. He would eat popcorn, potato chips, raisin bran, bits of spaghetti. Even though he was such a finicky eater, he would go to great lengths to pick up some almost invisible crumb off the carpet and cherish it for all it was worth.

Food was always a favorite subject of Hobie's. When it was time for me to feed him, he would get up on the breakfast table and follow me all the way to the cat food cupboard. His tail would be twitching. He could have almost pointed to the food he wanted. Sometimes I wished he could - would have made my life a lot easier! After I selected a can and walked over to the cutlery drawer to get the can opener, Hobie would follow on the table and sit intently watching me with his front feet halfway off the table - right on the very edge! He wouldn't take his eyes off me. After all that, when I put down his food dish, he would approach it with caution and sniff it - sometimes with such care that I wondered if he thought I was trying to poison him! And, only rarely did he dig in. Usually a few mouthfuls of this and that, then jump down and wash for a half an hour or so.

As he got older, his meow became louder. Sometimes, even with the windows closed, Hobie could be heard quite a ways away from the house. When he was in the bathroom calling out, it was as if he was in an echo chamber - it made him even louder yet. And, he could keep you awake all night.

In his last year, the old guy was unable to get up on the window ledge, even though the ledge was only 21 inches up from the floor. The days must have been long for him, since he could no longer watch the world outside. And, he no longer greeted me at the door.

June 1992 was the last month that Hobie was up and about. After that, he stayed in the master bathroom, with only a few rare instances of coming out to lay on my lap.

The end.

On a Sunday morning, September 27, 1992, Hobie took gravely ill. He threw up twice, and upon the second time, he meowed at the top of his lungs a pain meow to me. There was nothing I could do to help him, except to try to settle his stomach with grass and milk.

On Monday, a hot and hazy day, Hobie was brought to the vet. After a traumatic day of examinations, needles, and X-rays, he spent the night there.

The next day, September 29, 1992, just a little before 10 am, he was brought to an examining room, where I was. He greeted me with his usual rubbing. The vet came in. After a few minutes, a black band was placed around Hobie's right shoulder. A syringe was inserted. My hands held him. The plunger was pushed. About halfway through, Hobie yelled out "aouwwww." I said to him, "it's OK." The plunger kept going in. The last sound Hobie heard was me saying to him, "bye, old guy." And he collapsed in my hands.

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