the Domestic Cat
Date of Birth: 1995
While I was discussing a house for sale my daughter who had come along for the ride was looking out the car window. Jamie was 15 at the time and bored with the real estate negotiating. She noticed a mother cat carrying her kittens across a street. One at a time, the mother would carry her babies across and disappear into the woods. She dropped one kitten on the side of the road and turned back for another. She kept carrying her brood across, ignoring the one she had dropped that was crying frantically for her. There were no cars on this forgotten lane, so Jamie just watched quietly, ready to move in if a car did come in sight.
I finished up my chat (didn’t get the house) and was getting back in the car when Jamie relayed what had been happening. The mother had been gone a long time now and it was apparent that she wasn’t coming back for this little one. He was only a week old at the time and was so pitiful and vulnerable out in the open along side the road. She didn’t have to ask. She knew I wouldn’t just leave him there, so she ran out and scooped him up.
We were rehabbing a litter of baby bunnies at home and Cloudy became the shortest eared baby in the bunch. He grew up with a fondness for rabbits and adopted their instincts of going stiff as a board whenever anyone picked him up. While he prefers having all four on the floor, Cloudy does love to be petted. Cloudy has been a favorite of visitors to Big Cat Rescue for many years.
by: Carole Baskin
TRIBUTES FOR CLOUDY
For the first few years here at BCR, I never interacted with Cloudy, simply because, if you sat down anywhere near volunteer sign-in, you had Gabriel on your lap. One day, I was eating lunch at sign-in, and to my surprise, here comes Cloudy. So, I started to pet him and he and I had a wonderful lunch together in the sun.
After that, I always spoke to him, and he always stopped to get a head scratch. As with all of our domestics, he was a therapist, in some way, shape, or form. He has seen a lot of volunteers through many a crisis. Of that, I have no doubt. He will be missed….Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper
My memories of Cloudy were mostly from recent times. He filled the niche left open as my outdoor Education Center cat since some of our other beloved domestics passed on, vacating that post. Most mornings, I would arrive to see Tigger waiting in the Education Center window, and Cloudy waiting by the steps for breakfast. He would walk out to greet me with a rub and a one-fanged smile as I approached. Skinny as he was now, he had a robust appetite, and I would fend off the peacocks as he had his fill. Knowing that his time would not be long, I often would pick him up to love him, which he would enjoy for a while, turning into instant Velcro cat – stuck to my sweatshirt with 10 clawed fingers and 8 clawed toes. I would worry sometimes that we may be letting him linger too long and then he would go running across the yard with a young rat in his mouth that he proudly caught, evading me lest I should think to take it from him. His spirit was indomitable, and thinking of him will always make me smile. I sure miss you Cloudy. Travel well across the bridge and onward……Beth, Volunteer Keeper
When I started volunteering 5 years ago, I remember how Cloudy would always be soaking up the sun sitting majestically on our concrete lions at the entry gate. During tour time, he’d change positions and sit tall on the concrete parking curbs so that all the arriving guests got to admire his regal look. He was like a sphinx. When his guard duty seemed to be over, he would saunter off, stooped over like a little old man with a bad back, and find Gabriel to enjoy some sunshine on the Volunteer Sign-In porch.
I won’t be able to look at those concrete lions guarding our entry without seeing that tough little cat’s spirit standing right there beside them. I’m sure he’s on guard even now….but at a new gate….Julie, Volunteer Senior Keeper
What I remember of Cloudy is that when I started, he did not seem to me to want attention from either me or the tour guests. However, as he got even older, he seemed to place himself in front of the Gift Shop or in front of one of Denny’s tours in front of Khan and China. He started to approach me just a few months ago and I felt so honored! He was not the attention hound, like some of our others. You are right, what a regal boy! You know, even though we thought he moved like a little old man, many of our guests would ask who that ‘kitten’ is! Youth is in the heart and not the body, as you and I well know, and I pictured Cloudy as a young leopard until the end…..Lisa, Volunteer Keeper
For me, Cloudy was definitely the greatest domestic cat in the world. There were so many times where I wanted to steal him and take him home to spoil. Cloudy was an impressive and strong cat. Every tour, he would walk through the parking lot and then make his way to the gift shop to lay in the sun just outside. When I had time, I would sit down and pet him and rub his belly. His purr was so loud, and he’d start to drool after a while, which made me laugh. There wasn’t a time when I couldn’t look at him and not smile. Wednesday nights, I come out for enrichment, and it’s the best time for me. Sardini Martini’s are my specialty, and Cloudy was no exception for them. I would ALWAYS set aside a whole sardine for him, and after I was done, I would call for him and give him his treat. After a while, he knew I would give him that treat and he was soon waiting outside Food Prep for his yummy fish.
One Wednesday, he didn’t show up, and that made me worry…. and from then on, I didn’t see him again. It’s a sad loss for us all, he’ll definitely be missed and I’m very much going to miss giving him his sardines and seeing that Cloudy smile. Rest well Cloudy, I love you, and give my regards to all of the other cats who have passed… and especially to my beloved girl, Auroara….Shiloh, Volunteer Keeper
I remember Cloudy causing trouble in the parking lot as he thought he could park the cars better than anyone…..Cindy, Volunteer Keeper
Hear our humble prayer, O God, For our friends the animals.
Especially for animals who are Suffering; for any that are Hunted or lost or deserted or Frightened or hungry; for all That must be put to death.
We entreat for them all Thy mercy And pity, and for those who Deal with them we ask a heart Of compassion and gentle hands. And kindly words. Make us, Ourselves, to be true friends to Animals and so to share the Blessings of the merciful.
Albert Schweitzer, French missionary surgeon born January 14, 1875…..Merrill, Volunteer Partner
Besides being greeted at volunteer sign in, my first real meeting with Cloudy came when I went to have lunch at volunteer check-in. I was just sitting there eating when Cloudy came over to sit on the table next to me. Just sitting there, waiting for a hand out, and the next thing I knew he swatted at my hand for some food. This took me by surprise, but I understand Cloudy has done this to others. I will truly miss CLOUDY…..Teri, Volunteer Partner Trainee
I will always remember Cloudy as our “Guest Relations Representative”. Most every tour time, he would come over and hang out in front of the gift shop as if to personally welcome our tour guests to Big Cat Rescue. He was a real sweetheart!….Sherry, Volunteer Partner
Cloudy immediately became my favorite domestic cat because he reminded me of a cross between one of my cats at home (who really looks nothing like him) and a little old man. While on clipboard duty, I loved to watch him walk, back arched and stiff, around the parking area from Volunteer Sign-in to the gift shop. He would stop by the gift shop to sun himself and be petted by guests and volunteers alike. When I didn’t see him one Saturday, I wasn’t too concerned but I wondered where he was and missed his presence. Cloudy, I will always miss you, and you will live in my heart forever. I love you, Cloudy!….Alex, Volunteer Trainee
Cloudy seemed to love the tour times. At 2:30 pm, when the 3:00 tour groups would be coming into the parking lot, Cloudy would come over to the clipboard area and wander among the guests. He seemed to like the attention he got from them and never seemed to be afraid of any of these strangers. Of course, everyone asked if he was alright because of his humped back and the volunteers would say it was just old age. I’ll always remember Cloudy as our little “Welcome to Big Cat Rescue” cat. He liked the visitors and he liked their attention. For some guests, he was the first cat that they met at Big Cat Rescue. This furry, gray & white, little ambassador will be greatly missed…..Pat, Volunteer Senior Partner
I remember being amazed to see domestic cats running around the sanctuary on my first visit to Big Cat Rescue, back in 2001, and being highly amused to be told that they all understand the ‘three-foot rule’. One cat who really caught my eye was a short haired grey & white, called Cloudy. He was never the most social of the domestic during the first few years, and consequently much of my video of him, is of his rear end and tail in the air as he ran in front of the tour, always just out of reach. Yet, he always stuck in my memory because his colors and markings were so similar to my first cat, Sarah. As the years went on, he became more friendly towards us ‘two-legs’ and eventually took over from Fancy as the ‘Meet and Greet Chap’ outside the guest shop. He wasn’t an ‘in your face’ guy, more the gentleman who took everything in and behaved impeccably, often sleeping in the shade of the tree right outside the shop even though tens of people were passing right by him. I had the pleasure of his company on many occasions when I went over to the volunteer sign-in and it will be strange to go there and not find him asking for a little attention….Daphne, Volunteer Keeper Trainee & Advocat
Cloudy was the wisest and oldest soul of all the domestic cats at BCR. He was regal in attitude yet had an aura of being in the right place at the right time. Discriminating in his choices to maximize any opportunity that he desired, Cloudy helped me to remember how healing the sun is regardless of what modern medicine tells us. Cloudy was very affectionate in a “fatherly” manner, watching over any situation. As soon as he knew everything was alright, he would move on to something else. Cloudy was quiet wisdom in motion who I will truly miss….Laura, Volunteer Keeper
Cloudy! You are the best! I will miss you so much! You always made me feel so welcome at Big Cat Rescue, especially in the early days when it was all so new and there was so much too learn. You always came by with your special way to say hello when we were greeting people for tours. You were truly the leader of the welcome wagon! You helped me feel more relaxed when my mind was on too many things. We will all miss your kind presence. Thanks for being such a good friend….Sharyn, Volunteer Partner
“SMOKEY CLOUDY GUY”- that’s what I called him. When I arrived at BCR, I’d always check to see where he was. As long as he was OK, I could have a good day. You see, Jimmy, one of my elderly cats, could pass as Cloudy’s brother. Watching Cloudy get on with his daily routine, despite his health issues, gave me hope for Jimmy. What an inspiration he was. As I retire each night, with Jimmy sleeping near my head, I’ll be missing you, SMOKEY CLOUDY GUY…..Rosie, Volunteer Keeper
I just could not get “heavy” about our little feline friends. Such a source of joy they have been to us over the years. “Proud Tails” is for all of them, whether they are still with us or not. I am sure you know that the domestic is the only cat that struts around with their tails in the air.Thus: Proud Tails…..Denny Mitchell
Photos by Julie Hanan and Jamie Veronica