His name is Doc(tor) Watson.
He’s interested in things. He’s not a real doctor, but he is a real Watson.*
For now, the old, FIV+, diabetic cat with no eyes is generally known simply as Doc, and he’s generally found behind a 930-foot gate into Jonathan’s office. (We suggested a moat, but the alligators were too expensive.) For all his afflictions, Doc is arguably the coolest cat this side of Nashville: long and rangy, white as snow with coal-black blobs, and happy to be held like a baby and mooshed endlessly, this is a boy who can jam.
In one of the hippest cat-namings ever, a rad staff dude who I shall refer to as Zance named our eyeless wonder for a blind bluegrass musician. Alas, the music in Suite FIV didn’t quite ring true to Doc Watson, by which I mean “Edward beat him to a cow-colored pulp every 47 seconds.” Since we don’t generally condone the beating of the eyeless elderly, we knew something had to change.
Doc had diagnosed his first dilemma at Tabby’s Place: the limitations of having FIV. If you are a cat afflicted with “obscene levels of fat,” you can live anywhere. If you are a cat afflicted with “unquenchable desire to urinate in non-litterbox receptacles,” you can live anywhere. If you are a cat afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease, you will probably live in the staff lounge.
But if you are a cat afflicted with feline immunodeficiency virus, you can — must — live in the creatively named FIV+ Suite. Unless, apparently, you are Doc Watson…and Edward has decided that he cannot allow you to live.
Although Edward personally offered to front the cost of shipping Doc to Abu Dhabi, Jonathan had a better idea: what if we got a tall enough gate to let Doc live with the Big Cheese himself? Doc is daunted by other cats, but craves human attention, and in Jon’s pad he’d have skritches (and experimental post-punk music) all day. We’d just need to find that tall enough gate.
Enter dilemma #2.
Regular baby gates, while effective at keeping old, arthritic or otherwise non-leaping cats contained, are merely good exercise for the likes of Oksana (America’s best shot at gold in the 400 hurdles in Rio 2016). Boots has scaled taller obstacles when he really wants to give someone a smackdown. And no one knows exactly what Halie is capable of. Although it’s infinitely unlikely that Doc would bite any other cats (the only way he could transmit FIV to them), it was a chance we simply couldn’t take.
It was time for serious construction.
All day, the sounds of drills and swearing floated through the lobby. With Jess as his capable assistant, Jonathan assembled and installed a gate that is approximately 930 feet tall. Then dissembled it. Then reassembled it. Then swore approximately 930 times.
And so on.
But by nightfall, the gate stood tall, Doc moved in, and a new era had begun at Tabby’s Place. (As a bonus, we can all now pretend that we have caged the boss.)
As of this writing, Doc is honestly not quite sure what to make of his new life. No one is boxing him roundly about the ears (good), Green Day is booming from nearby (very good), and there’s an abundance of blankets, plus a man who keeps saying things like “hey puppy, hey buddy” and mooshing him (super ultra good). We all predict Doc Watson is quickly going to deduce that he’s got it gooooooooood.
What may be less immediately obvious is the fact that Jonathan has it even better.
Among our Founder and Executive Director’s many hats at Tabby’s Place, one is a deerstalker — you know, that ear-flappy headgear most famously fancied by Sherlock Holmes. Running a cat sanctuary is a daily hourly moment-by-moment mystery, with quandaries from the sublime to the ridiculous. (Do we have room for another four cats right now? Should we adopt this cat to that person? What’s wrong with the website? Is it unethical to make the Development Director wax my car?)
But a great sleuth never works alone. And, luminously magnificent as his human staff is, Jonathan has wanted — desperately — for a more capable comrade.
Enter his Watson.
You heard it here first: as we sing in 2014, expect great things from the Big Cheese’s office.
*And if you know that song reference, heaven help you, you darling dork. I love you and we should absolutely be best friends.
All photos courtesy of the eminent Mark.