Bubba, the Swimming Cat Visits HMB
Yesterday, when I walked out of the pharmacy in HMB, I saw a cat on a leash—gently tied to somebody’s green backpack resting on the ground.
I’m a cat lover, the owner of two bobtails, so my heart went straight to this multi- gray striped cat with a tail—not just because it was on a leash, which is unusual enough to make anyone look twice.
But this cat was calm and unafraid– even though I thought it was clearly vulnerable.
Its fur was shiny, slick and clean. And its clear knowing eyes told me, lady, I’m no ordinary cat.
This was a worldly cat, an experienced cat– a wise and patient cat.
All this flashed through my mind when the cat’s owner walked out of the store.
He looked a little travel-worn but he didn’t notice me. To the cat he said, “Is everything all right?”
I guess everything “was all right” because he sat on the cold concrete next to the cat, resting, looking at nothing in particular. I noticed he had a jagged cut above his right eye but I decided not to ask about the wound.
Instead I asked about the cat.
“Isn’t your cat afraid of dogs?”
“He IS a dog,” he answered. “He grew up around dogs. He knows how to handle them. He can protect himself.”
Then he told me the most remarkable thing: “This cat can swim. We were in Santa Cruz over the weekend, ” and the rest trailed off.
“Really?” I marveled, imagining a swimming cat. One of my cats, the girl, tentatively tests the drinking water in her green bowl with one paw, but I couldn’t envision her stepping into any body of water.
Hoping for more stories about this intrepid animal, I said, “You take great care of him.” I thought he must brush him all the time but he informed me, “He grooms himself. He licks himself every two minutes. I take good care of my cat.”
Our conversation was coming to an end but I wanted to know one more thing. “What’s his name?”
“Bubba. We were supposed to go to Alaska, “he added almost absentmindedly. “… catch a flight out of Oregon.”
These two, Bubba and his owner, were one, inseparable, and I left them that way in Half Moon Bay, wondering how these traveling companions would deal with the harsh Alaskan weather in the dead of winter.
But if the cat can swim, I’m sure they can survive anything.