One of the most popular characters in Sean Yeager book 2, ‘Hunters Hunted’, is ‘the cat’. Here’s a little insight into how I came up with the character. A sardonic robo-cat who saves the day with ruthless efficiency, complete with deadpan one liners and no prisoners taken. Truly a Clint Eastwood among cats.
Years ago I was given a pet. Or rather my parents came home in the early hours from a party one Sunday morning with a tiny kitten and I was instructed to look after it. It was a tiny ball of black fur with bright blue eyes and liked to suckle my jumper. Being young, I thought it was cute and cuddly. I guess it was. Little did I realise.
Over the months and years ‘Bozo’ grew up to become a green-eyed cat with predominantly black fur flecked with brown. He still liked to cuddle up to some body warmth and developed a mean streak a mile wide. If you moved Bozo when he was comfortable he would dig in his claws. All of them. He would still seek out a warm lap though. My best friend was terrified of our cat. I was secretly proud. Especially when Bozo climbed up onto my friend’s lap one day… He screamed like a girl and begged to be ‘saved’.
Famous incidents included the time Bozo climbed onto our bungalow roof via a garage and a leap between two buildings. He had figured out that birds liked to nest near the guttering. I noticed this when he leaped fully into the air to try to catch one. A blue tit I think it was. Like a cartoon Bozo soon realised he could not actually fly and landed heavily on his padded feet. Fortunately, the birds escaped unscathed, but not for long.
Bozo kindly gifted us a number of animals during that time. Usually on the back door mat. A mouse who had mislaid its head. An adult pigeon which promptly tried to escape from the dining room and nearly made it. Feathers flew everywhere and there was a lot of screaming. And bizarrely a full-sized rabbit. We never did figure out how Bozo managed to catch and drag the rabbit home.
One day, a dog came to visit our house, a little yappie thing with a friendly disposition. It was all sniffs and licks and wagging tail. Pleasant enough. Probably a small spaniel or similar. It trotted around confidently and checked out the house. In the living room, it came across Bozo perched on a settee. Bozo sat there nonchalantly with barely a flicker of recognition. I think the dog was just being inquisitive. It sniffed around the room and trotted over to see if Bozo would play. There was hardly a sound from either animal. The dog seemed harmless enough and Bozo just sat there barely twitching his nose. The dog approached and sniffed right under Bozo’s chin which I thought was brave. In a split second, Bozo raised both paws, extended his claws and dug them into the dog’s skull just above its eyes. The dog howled and howled, while Bozo remained static with a demonic look in his eyes. We had to prise them apart.
Bozo’s finest hour was undoubtedly when he decided to perch on a warm car. Not the bonnet (or hood) you understand. He sat up in the wheel arch near the engine mount out of sight. He remained that way for possibly half an hour. Until, mother dear started the engine and drove away. I have never seen an injured cat move so fast. He sprinted down the garden path at pace with an obvious limp. When we eventually caught up and ferried him to the vet, the news was surprising. He only had a stress fracture to one bone near his left hip. We were told to keep him house-bound and well fed. Bozo tried his very best to escape at every opportunity and made a complete recovery.
So there you have it, a little insight into an unusual animal and the inspiration for one of Sean Yeager Adventures’ most popular characters. I have had requests to continue his involvement in the series. For book 3 I have a cunning plan or two lined up and a couple of surprises.
We came to believe (rightly or wrongly) that Bozo was half a domesticated cat and half a feral or wild cat. Whatever the truth, he was a brave and adventurous animal. I would say pet, but I rather think we were Bozo’s pets at his command. By comparison, other families’ animals were bland. There’s no question and no doubt, Bozo was the toughest cat on the block!