And then there are cats named for obscure local weathermen whose names sound like Star Trek characters. Or medicated nasal sprays. Or medicated nasal sprays used by Star Trek characters.
Fortunately for the cat with the spacey name, Bolaris is neither an alien nor alienated. He’s also no longer Bolaris.
What he is, is beloved. I’ll let his own personal superstars share his soaring story. Take it away, BoMom & BoPop:
“On December 1, 2012, we had one of the worst days of our lives: the day every pet parent dreads. We said our final goodbye to our beloved cat, Scooter, after nearly 17 years of snuggles and companionship. The loss left us with an empty space in our hearts and our house. Having never been the only cat in the house, our other cat, Sam, also seemed lonely.
“We visited Tabby’s Place to see if there was another cat we could offer a forever home to. I (BoPop) have been volunteering at Tabby’s Place for the past 3½ years, and knew that was the place we’d be able to find the newest member of our family. When my wife and I arrived at Tabby’s Place, Danielle greeted us. We explained that we were looking for an easy-going, adult cat, preferably male. She gave it some thought and brought us to Suite B. The first cat she had in mind was a very shy, gray and white, middle-aged gentleman named Bolaris. His name surprised us, and it must have been obvious on our faces. Danielle patiently explained that since he came to Tabby’s Place during the week of Hurricane Sandy, Bolaris was named after the TV weatherman from Philadelphia.
“Danielle pointed to a crate with his name on it, but we didn’t notice a cat in the crate until we looked closer and saw one paw sticking out from under a small blanket. As I reached out to find the rest of the owner of that paw, Danielle informed us that the paw belonged to Bolaris. Because he is so shy, he could always be found under a towel or a blanket. We reached under the blanket and he let us pet him, bonked us a few time,s then took off running across the room. Danielle brought us to see a few other kitties, and we went home to think it over.
“We really liked Bolaris, but choosing him wasn’t an easy decision. We like to be hands-on with our cats, and Bolaris was the definition of skittish. Everything spooked him, and we didn’t want to have a cat that would live under our bed for the next 10 years. While this might be okay for the most awesome adopters, this was not what we wanted.
“Still undecided, a couple of weeks later we went back to visit him again. During our second visit, Bolaris was even more skittish than before, making the decision even tougher. He was so sweet, but so scared. We tried to reason out his behavior: He’s in Suite B with 18 other cats, and one of his roommates keeps tormenting him. We hoped that, once he was in our quiet home with only one other easy-going cat, he’d come out of his shell. It was a gamble, but his golden eyes, sweet face and little gray soul patch convinced us that he was worth taking a chance on. He left Tabby’s Place for his forever home on December 22nd.
“Now that he had a new home, he needed a new name. Since he had only been called Bolaris for a few weeks, we knew he wasn’t attached to the name. (Angela butts in here: And even if he had been, you did the right thing, the merciful thing, the humane thing. No cat should go through life sounding like he was named for allergy medication.) We tossed many names around and then we thought of a cute, blanket-loving character from the Peanuts comic strip: Linus. It was a perfect fit! We had a new name for our sweet, shy boy.
“Knowing how shy he is, we decided to give Linus some space to adapt to life in his new home and set him up in our guest room. Since we knew of his blanket-burrowing tendencies, we sprinkled blankets and towels all over the room. Despite having a large assortment to choose from, he ended up nestling under the comforter on the bed. Go figure.
“Linus spent his first few days hanging out under the blanket. We gave him his space to get used to the sounds and smells of his new home. We checked on him frequently and sat in the room talking to him so he would get used to our voices. After a few days passed, he ventured out from under the blanket when he heard us. We sat nearly motionless on the floor in his room, since even a slight movement would send Linus diving under the nearest blanket. As we sat there, he tentatively started making wide circles around us and kept circling us, getting closer and closer with each lap. Eventually, he began purring loudly and was close enough to head-butt us for pets. We were surprised by how much progress he was making. It was fun to watch him learn to trust us.
“When we were home to supervise, we left the door to Linus’s room open so that he could begin to explore the house, if he dared. Sam showed no interest in meeting Linus (for the time being), so it was safe. By the end of the first week in his new home, he was brave enough to come all the way downstairs. He meowed loudly as he wandered around, but we could tell he was getting more and more comfortable because his tail was up during his explorations. He walked slowly through the house, his meow acting as a homing device. We could hear it getting farther away and then closer to us as he walked around.
“There are some signs that make us think that Linus had not been in a home for quite some time. He is freaked out by the sounds of the toilet flushing and the heat coming on. Windows and televisions fascinate him, and he is not so trusting of his reflection in the mirror. He also tries to climb into the open dishwasher and refrigerator.
“Each day, though, Linus is gaining confidence. He now jumps onto our bed and lets us pet him for a while. We’ve even noticed that he has been making himself comfortable in the closet, in drawers he has managed to open, and under our bed. He doesn’t run away when he sees us anymore, and he has even stopped meowing during some of his exploratory walks through the house. He’s also a phenomenal player – he loves to chase anything with a feather on it, and the laser pointer will have him running around in circles for hours.
“Sam and Linus have finally met. At first, Sam growled and hissed, as expected. Linus got Sam’s message loud and clear and walked away. Sam, being the gentleman that he is, didn’t chase after Linus. Now they have started eating dinner together in the kitchen and are tentatively getting closer to each other each time they meet. They have even been together on the couch and on the bed at the same time. Sam still feels the need to hiss occasionally to let Linus know who is in charge, but even his hissing has become half-hearted. They are well on their way to becoming good buddies, and we couldn’t be happier!
“BoMom and I want to thank everyone at Tabby’s Place for all of your kind words about us and Linus. We were happy to have the opportunity to make an adoption from Tabby’s Place. I love spending time there as a volunteer, and I love being part of the team that takes care of all the special feline residents.”
Now, I don’t make it a practice to pick arguments with outstanding human beings, but I must take issue with one item from BoPop’s parable: the suggestion that he and BoMom are anything but AwesomeAdopters.
Let’s be real now, folks. You…
- Had hearts wide open to a ten-year-old cat.
- Didn’t want a super-shy fella…but couldn’t stop loving the one who locked onto your hearts.
- Created a space of such sweetness and safety that aforementioned super-shy fella is blooming like 10,000 roses already.
Never mind that you also rescued aforementioned cat from a life of being Bolaris.
Linus is loved with the warmth of a supernova. If that ain’t awesomesauce, I don’t know my awesomesauce. (Note: I have my Ph.D in awesomesauce.)
Know it and rejoice in it: You. Are. Awesome. And we are beyond grateful to you and Sam for loving Linus so lavishly.
All photos by BoMom & BoPop except for initial thumbnail, which is by magnificent Mark.