Cats named Pretty Boy, Chrissie, and Snide and a dog named Duffy were Dad’s pets for several years. Pretty Boy and Chrissie have since gone to that Great Catnip Café in the sky and Duffy Dog has crossed the Rainbow Bridge to receive his eternal dog bone, but Snide lives on.
I am uncertain of his age, but he is at least ten and does not appear to change year after year. Is it possible that his DNA sequence contains the code to the fountain of youth? It is highly unlikely we will ever know because Snide is more than terrified of all human beings.
This is the story of how Snide the Cat came to reside at 281 West Head Road. On one of Dad’s weekly grocery shopping trip to Sobeys, he encountered a little boy standing outside the Shelburne Mall with kittens in a box. The little boy looked at Dad with big eyes and asked,
“Would you like to have a kitten, sir?”
Dad peeked in the box and picked out shiny black one with a white triangle under his chin. He took him home and named him Snide.
From the beginning, Snide was an old soul.
He wouldn’t sit on your lap.
He wouldn’t chase toys.
He wouldn’t sleep on your bed.
He didn’t chase his tail.
He missed out on the fun kitten stage.
He went directly from newborn to the “I’m a senior cat that is terrified of everything” stage.
Poor Snide added new meaning to the expression “scaredy cat.”
A victim of irrational fear, Snide spent most of the day behind the living room couch hiding from danger. He could only be lured out to eat and to do his business. And that is how Snide lived until Dad passed away in 2013.
What would we do with Snide? We couldn’t give him to another family, because no one could catch him. We couldn’t leave him in the house.
Snide moved to the haymow in the barn and I paid a neighbour to feed him daily. That continued for 2013, 2014, and much of 2015.
In the fall of 2015, we demolished Dad’s ramshackle barn before it rotted into the ground. The following day, we witnessed one of the saddest sights of our lives. Snide appeared from one of his many hideouts for his food. He sat in the centre of the footprint of where the barn used to be and looked all around. Does that hurt your heart as much as it hurts mine?
Before leaving for the winter, I bought a dog house where Snide could take shelter from the elements and where our neighbour could deliver Snide’s food and water. Snide survived the winter looking bigger and healthier than ever. His fur glistened.
We spent November and December 2016 in West Head and everything within me wanted to invite him inside, but it seemed cruel to evict him when we left. While we were there, I put a bowl of cat food on the doorstep each morning. Quirky Snide hid in the bushes and would not come out until we left.
Where is his home? We speculate he is living among porcupines and raccoons in an abandoned house nearby.
Our neighbour will continue to feed Snide in our absence until we have strong evidence he no longer exists. To date, I have shelled out over $5,000 for Snide, the mostly invisible cat.
What if he outlives us? Hmmmmm.
Aha! We will add a codicil to our Will stating Jeremy and Allison must provide food and shelter for Snide for the rest of his natural life. They will be thrilled.