Bub’s not really his name. My daughter named him Tristan when she adopted the tiny kitten left in a cardboard box outside of a veterinarian office. He lived with Jen in her Nashville apartment for a year but came with her when she moved back home.

It was a difficult adjustment for all of us. We had an older cat, Daisy, and a huge dog, Prince, who reigned in our home. Tristan stuck close to Jen until a year later when she moved across country. That’s when he homed in on me. He had to keep his distance, though, sleeping at the foot of my bed, far from Daisy’s place on my pillow. That is, when Prince would allow him to pass through my bedroom door. Tristan was low man on the totem pole.

And how did he get the name Bub? Jen referred to him as Bub when she was loving on him—a pet name. But it seemed to nail his personality more than Tristan ever could. He wasn’t an exotic, old-fashioned cat. He was a run-of-the-mill tabby with a bit of a weight problem. He was always Bub to me.

Little Daisy died of kidney failure and that’s when Bub saw his chance to move on up. He took her place on my pillow, followed me around the house, and sat in my lap while I watched the news. Of course, he only made it to my pillow if he managed to get into my bedroom before Prince took his position outside the door.

But then Prince died, and we no longer had a guard.

Bub claimed his spot on my bed. In fact, my bed became his place of refuge. Always a shy cat around strangers, Bub took to hiding underneath my bedspread whenever we had visitors at the house, all the while becoming more attached to me and to George.

And then we made the big move, across country from Tennessee to Montana, to be near Jen and her family. It was quite the adventure, requiring that we stay in hotels that allowed pets. Bub spent all day riding in his little pet tent. When we stopped for meals, one of us had to stay in the car with him to ensure he didn’t get overheated in his limited environment. When we stopped for the night, we not only had to carry our luggage to the hotel room, but also Bub in his tent along with his litter box. 

The first few nights, he hid in whatever sheltered spot he could find, climbing under the covers with us when we went to bed. Finally, though, he grew brave, exploring each new hotel room, under the bed, on top of cabinets, in the bathtub. Our brave boy.

When we reached our new home, it was hard on all of us because we didn’t yet have any furniture—only an air mattress provided by our daughter. We brightened after the moving van showed up, even though it brought with it a long day of arranging furniture and unpacking. But finally, we had our bed reassembled and Bub could once more retreat under the bedspread.

We’ve been here a few months now and Bub continues to hide, especially when our energetic grandchildren are in the house. He wants to be in my lap more often than he ever did in Tennessee. I don’t know if he’s having difficulty adjusting to the new place or if he’s trying to stay warm in this cold climate. Maybe he just doesn’t feel well, having oral surgery for most of his teeth to be yanked last week.

Bub is fourteen now, past the normal life-expectancy for a cat, so we may not have him much longer. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy every minute.

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