Obadiah may be a man's name, but Obie's a girl. My wife chose the name, and we figured that Obadiah would probably never learn the truth behind her name, or be embarrassed by it.
She was born in the summer of 2OO1, shortly after we had moved to Millinocket, Maine. Her mom is Bird, and we suspect that her father might have been one of Cutie and Lydia's brothers from another litter. He had been hanging around Bird quite a lot, and that would explain her coloration, which is very much like Baby Girl's, as well as her size, much larger than her mother.
Obie was one of a litter of four. We could have probably found homes for all four of them, since they were such beautiful kittens, but after we had given three of them away, we became busy with other things, and Obadiah became part of the family, with no regrets on my end. For awhile we thought we were going to have two of Bird's kittens, since one of the ones we'd given away returned, and received a name - Esther. Having been away from our house for a couple months, she didn't like the other cats though, even her sister, and found another home for herself, and, by chance, with someone we knew, so she has a good home.
With the loss of Baby Girl, Obadiah is the largest cat in the house, and she sometimes tries her hand at being the dominant one, but backs down to resistance. Being ten years younger than any of the others, she's not very sure of herself in that way, or maybe it's just a matter of giving deference to her elders.
Except perhaps for Cutie, Obadiah is probably the most obedient cat in the house. There might play around with being defiant once in awhile, mostly when she doesn't want to come in at night, but after a couple of refusals, she reconsiders and comes to me. Consequently, she's the only one who has never been out alone at night.
She has been out at night, though. While my preference was to lock the cat door at night, there were plenty of nights when it was open, especially in Millinocket. We had a good-sized back yard, there weren't dogs roaming the neighborhood and, since we lived in town, I didn't think we had to be overly concerned with wild animals.
I was wrong on that last point, however. I reached down and picked Obadiah up one morning to find that she had blood on her stomach. Looking further, I found that she had a puncture wound on her stomach and another to the right of the center of her back. The veterinarian recognized the wounds immediately as having been made by a coyote, explaining to me the differences between how a coyote would grab a cat versus a fox or a dog. He said that she was fortunate to have gotten away, as they usually don't, and to have suffered only minor wounds.
Although we lived in town, there was a railroad track behind our house, with brush growing on both sides of the track, providing cover to both foxes and coyotes passing through, or on the hunt.
It didn't phase Obie any though, as she wanted to go out again the next night. That's a cause of concern for me, that she doesn't seem to recognize danger when it's staring her in the face. She's the only cat we have who will walk up to anyone, begging to be petted.
I try to watch out for her and, in her seven years, as far as I am aware she has had only two adventures, and I seriously doubt that she appreciated the danger in either of them.
The second adventure was just over a week ago, on the 1Oth of June, 2OO7, early in the afternoon. At the place where we are living in Levant, there is a pond just across the road at the end of our driveway, and a large stream flowing about fifty yards behind the house, as well as a small drainage flow running from the pond to the stream. Before the vegetation came in this spring, when the path was clear, the cats would walk down to the stream during the day, but since the grass, the weeds, and the brush came in, they, wisely, no longer do that.
Instead, they go to the pond, since the landlords keep the grass mowed around the pond, and it's loaded with frogs and fish, both of which fascinate the cats. I don't think any of them have caught one yet, but I'm sure they've tried. Bird came in with a baby snapping turtle a few weeks ago, and was quite proud of her find.
Obadiah tried to show her mother up by taking on the turtle's mom. Fortunately, I was looking out the window of my office at the time, because I saw a large turtle walking across the road, probably on its way from the pond to the stream, but I didn't realize it was a snapping turtle.
Nor did Obie, apparently. At any rate, she thought she could take it. From in front of the house, Obadiah saw the turtle at about the same time as I did. I watched her circle it, then come in close. The turtle had stopped, but did not retract its head, and Obie moved in close.
I don't think the turtle was the one that I rescued when I picked it up and put it back in the pond. Certainly, it wasn't the largest turtle I've ever seen but it was large enough that I dropped once as it snapped at me, and Obie looked like she was about to investigate its head.
I can't blame her, I guess. She'd probably never seen a walking rock before.
Obadiah is the most communicative of our cats. Sometimes I swear she understands what I'm saying to her, although she doesn't necessarily agree with me. She looks at me when I'm talking to her, and she answers me verbally, often appearing frustrated that I don't understand what she's saying. Nevertheless, we sometimes carry on lengthy conversations, with Obie giving me her full attention and replying to everything I say.
She's also has a sense of fairness about her, especially when she was younger. If my wife and I were sitting on the couch, she'd position herself so that part of her body was on each of our laps. If we were in separate parts of the room, she might settle down by me for a time, then suddenly look up, as if in realization that my wife's feelings might be hurt, then go to her for awhile.
She's mean to her mom though, and I don't know what happened there.
Maybe it has to do with her high-pitched whine. When she's distressed, as she often is, Bird whines, and Obie hates that. I used to think that she was upset, thinking that someone was hurting her mother, but it's quite possible that she simply hates the pitch.
Obie can't stand whistling, for example. Whenever someone whistles, she comes to me to make them stop. A few days ago, I was sitting at my desk when Obie began poking at my leg. At first, I didn't know what she wanted but then I realized that the Andy Griffith show as being rerun on television, and it opens with whistling.
She also doesn't like it when I speak, or sing, in falsetto, and will insist that I stop.
I wouldn't tell this to any of the others, but Obie is probably the smartest cat we have, although she doesn't know a whole lot about snapping turtles.
When I do something she doesn't like, whether it's whistling, singing, or holding her in a position where she's on her back, which she hates, she'll glare at me, as if she's trying to figure out if I'm doing it on purpose to tease her, or if I'm just stupid.
She's the youngest by far, so I can imagine there are many more stories ahead of us.