Cay and her partner were out on a walk with their dog, Coconut, one afternoon when an unlikely visitor decided to tag along.
“We were on a walk, and this cat just started following us,” Cay told The Dodo. “[Coconut] sniffed him, and the next [thing you] know, he just rolls over on his back. He’s meowing at her, and he’s purring and loving all over her.”
After that first meeting, the tabby began joining Coconut and her parents on walks every single day.
Cay originally thought that their new walking partner was one of her neighbor’s outdoor cats. But after asking around, her neighbors told her that the senior cat had been a stray in their neighborhood for some time, and they were all collectively caring for him by letting him live on their porches.
“Everyone has their own name for him,” Cay said. “We call him Bubba.”
Bubba knows where Coconut lives and got in the habit of coming to play with her while she’s in her backyard. “If he can hear us [outside], he’ll jump the fence … and they just start playing immediately,” Cay said. “Almost every single day, he’s coming to play with Coconut.”
Cay was impressed with Bubba’s patience. Coconut has been trying to play with Cay’s two cats since she became part of the family, “but the cats are like, ‘Absolutely not,’” according to Cay.
“I think they were both looking for some love and companionship, and I’m really happy they found it in each other,” Cay said.
Because Bubba had seemingly only ever known life outside, Cay was initially hesitant to bring him into the home. But at the beginning of 2023, Cay began letting Bubba explore inside the house while her other cats and Coconut were kept in a separate space.
“We’ve been allowing Bubba inside while the indoor cats and Coconut are all put away so he can roam and sniff freely,” she wrote in an Instagram caption. “He is very nervous inside, though, and I frequently find him meowing at the exterior doors, waiting for me to let him back out. We’re working on feeding him inside so he starts getting more comfortable, but he typically won’t eat until we let him back in the garage.”
And after a few months of allowing Bubba to come and go as he pleased, Cay had an exciting update to share in May.
“After months of trying to coax Bubba inside, we finally got an entire evening with him!” she wrote in a follow-up post. “Eventually, he did mosey his way back outside for the night, but we found him curled up on our back porch couch in the morning … I hope this is a promising sign that he will venture inside more often!”
Unfortunately, Cay told The Dodo that Bubba and her other family cats aren’t getting along right now, which has hindered Bubba’s progress as a potential inside cat. “I’m still working on it, and I hope one day we can do a follow-up that’s much happier than a bunch of cats hissing at each other,” she said.
Until Bubba (and the rest of the cats) decides that he’s ready to become a permanent member of Coconut’s family, he will continue to spend quality time walking, playing and just hanging out with his BFF both indoors and out.