BOG, meet Internet. Internet: BOG.


Russian for “God”, I’ve been told. Phonetically at least. Also British for “toilet”.  But here, now, it’s an acronym:  Big Orange Guy or Beloved Old Goof or Barrel O’Greatness.

He is not, as you can see, a great beauty. He may in fact be the homeliest mammal in all of southern Ontario. And we sure as hell weren’t shopping for another cat, not with a huge Banana-shaped hole dug so recently into our hearts. But one of Caitlin’s students sent her this facebook link: an unadoptable old stray over at Toronto Cat Rescue, tagged with the cruelly-ironic handle of “Gorgeous”.

And then we saw the list of features that came standard:

Old and beat-up, check. A life spent on the street, check (he lived at least eight years in an abandoned car! In a junkyard!). FIV-positive, check. Scabs, ear mites, “shaved veterinary clearcuts”, check check check. Frost-bite, check. (See that slight twist of the left ear, at the tip? Not nearly so extreme as Banana’s, but then, whose is?).

Purrs desperately and volubly when shown any affection whatsoever: check.

We weren’t looking for another cat. I myself wasn’t ready for another cat. But sometimes, creatures in need can’t wait for us to be ready: and in a world overflowing with mewling symmetrical kittens, who’s gonna take a chance on a sick junkyard ginger already on the downhill side of life?

That was a rhetorical question. The Gang of Fur now has a new member, so Banana-like in so many of his behaviors that Nurture must have totally kicked Nature’s ass. I think there’s something about street life that causes feral rescues to converge on a common behavioral template (call it the “Can’t Believe I Won the MegaMillions” mindset).

In fact, I may have only met one more pathetically-grateful feline in my life (and that was at the same home where I met BOG): a small formerly-feral Persian whose eyes had been so massively infected that they literally ruptured before her abductors could get her to the vet. The sockets filled in; the fur grew over the holes, leaving no trace; and now she is a flat-faced eyeless monstrosity sheathed in black fur. Think of a bonsai version of the alien males from Attack the Block, only with a pink toothy maw instead of a blue fluorescent one.

We probably would have taken her too, if she hadn’t already been adopted.


This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday April 04 2012at 07:04 am , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

31 Responses to “BOG, meet Internet. Internet: BOG.”

  1. The new cat definitely looks to be a charmer, despite his battle scars. I hope he’ll heal a little, not just on the outside, but within too.

    I agree also that some rescued animals have a clear sense about getting a second chance.

    I feel so bad for the poor cat you mentioned who’s eyes ruptured from infection. Does she still manage to get around okay?

    Thanks for being so kind and compassionate, Peter. Not only are you a great storyteller, but also someone who makes a difference. Even if it’s only for a few street-weathered kitties.

  2. I’m glad you adopted this guy.

    (Wasn’t there an old sf book with a cover that had animals with patches of green fur for eyes?)

  3. Yayyy!!! My vet says that a cat in need will find the people he needs the most when he most needs them. Yep, my vet is a Zen philosopher.

    Orange male tabbies are the sweetest, most laid-back of all Earth’s felines. I predict a long and prosperous relationship. And sometimes, the best balm for a Banana-shaped wound is another cat-shaped patch — the same but awesomely different.

    Enjoy your new BOG!

  4. what a catastrophe!


    sorry …

  5. Huzzah! He looks like a beauty, and I agree that orange male tabbies are teh awesome!! Good man.

    Aside: jwz recently gave you a shoutout in one of his movie posts (“The Thing: … Spend the time you would have spent fast-forwarding through this reading The Things by Peter Watts instead.”):

    Hope you get a little love from that…Jamie’s got a pretty big following.

  6. Congrats! Y’all do indeed now have one magnificently butt-ugly cat. 🙂 Enjoy.

  7. Welcome to the WattsWorld, BOG! Soon you too shall be licking butter off your houseguests’ faces!

  8. Ah, I’m tearing up. Hello Bog, you won the love lottery.

  9. Sheila– I’ve never seen that cover, but Asimov wrote a (very spooky) short story called “Green Patches,” to which that image was probably the illustration.

  10. I look forward to seeing pictures BOG looking grumpy all around the house. On a desk, table, human head, etc.

    All hail the Ginger God.

  11. Reminds me of Viktor from lackadaisy cats

    (Excellent webcomic, a must read)

  12. Congrats all around. It makes me feel good to know that very soon, “pathetically grateful” will morph into “imperiously demanding,” as all proper cats should be.

  13. What the hell is it with these orange cats? My grandparents had one and it would disappear for months, and then reappear as if nothing had happened. There’s some unknown trait at work here. Orange fur = Cat, you will live in interesting times.

  14. He looks like he’s just been arrested for drunk and disorderly, and this is his mugshot.

    But I’m sure he’s got a great chunk of big life sausage ahead of him.

  15. “Think of a bonsai version of the alien males from Attack the Block”

    As a biologist, wouldn’t you reckon those were in fact the females? The dimorphism makes more sense that way (Not that the movie was in any way hard sci fi but I can’t help myself)

  16. I have had three orange tabbies (all male, as the majority are: damned X chromosome) and they have all been great. Our current orange tabbie can best be described as the neighbourhood cat. He sleeps at our place, and we pay the vet bills, but every morning he makes the rounds. We save a lot of money on cat food.

    Last winter our neighbour, who we hardly ever talk to, knocked on our door and asked us if there was anything wrong with our cat. Apparently our neighbour, an older retired gentleman, would get up every morning and look forward to the visit from our cat. The cat was fine. He was just staying inside because it had been 35 below for several days.

    If you want a pet that will love you unconditionally, get a dog. But if you want a pet whose love must be earned, get a cat. I will take a cat any day.

  17. I’m assuming Bog is short for Chernobog:)

  18. Nine:
    I’m assuming Bog is short for Chernobog:)

    Bog means “god” in a number of Slavic languages, Chernobog is, literally, Blackgod.

    Oh, and congrats to Bog and the happy owners. 🙂

  19. That is a good cat. Well done.

  20. OH MY!!!! What a specimen!

  21. What a gorgeous guy. I’m glad you found him. 😀

  22. He reminds me of that Finn super-sniper guy, for some reason. Congrats on new cat, Peter !

  23. You call that an ugly cat? Sir, [url=]he is merely entry level. [/url]*

    Also, Attack the Block was a bloody fantastic movie. Surprised it didn’t do better in the cinemas, it’s got good enough action to hold most peoples attention, one of the most stylish and cool monsters in recent years, and a great cast of characters.

    *At this point I should state I actually quite like both these unfortunate beasts. They’re strangely endearing.

  24. That poor cat looks like he’s had a boot under the left chin, with bone-mashing force, at least once.

    Good points to this adoption: He’s not going to be getting any more of that from the Watts-Sweet household. Just obviously he’ll get a lot of kitty love.

    Bad points: Aside from the little known fact that purring modulation is how they control the toxoplasma gondii worms they distribute, this poor kitty won’t have the opportunity to spend an entire kitty lifetime purring “make happy” to the toxo. But old cats need — and give — love, too.

    More seriously: I harbor a suspicion, probably deeply demented, that one day the space aliens will descend on us all and they shall judge us by how altruistically we behaved to our fellow earth creatures. If this suspicion turns out to be prescient rather than demented, the more hard-case the animal you rescue, the more survival points one would get. This kitty earns Extra Bonus Points. Plus I bet he’s hell on the mice and any other small moving things you’d rather not have living in your house. Orange Tabby tomcats are usually awesome mousers and are rightly prized for that quality.

  25. I heartily approve the adoption of elder felines. I AM a bit concerned that you seem to have adopted Bill the Cat…back from the dead…again…

    I mean, the Republican Party handlers will cover the booze and tender vittles bills once he is nominated, but can an Angela Merkel/Adele sexting scandal be far behind?

    When his POTUS bid fails, whose Facebook account do you think will get hacked for the inevitabe Bill/Bog for Pope write-in campaign 2015?

    You’ve been warned…

  26. wait… you SAW ‘attack the block??’ WHEN?!!
    Fun little teen flick.
    kudos on the recent adoptee… I couldn’t have done it, I’m pretty sure. hope he enjoys his new family and vice versa.

  27. I love you a little more even than I did for having adopted a sick cat. <3 I've got an FeLV+ girl at home; last time I had her at the vet he couldn't even get a heartrate because she was purring too loud and too steadily for him to hear it (we assumed it was still beating and called it good). Yay.

  28. I LOVE orange males and I say he has an interesting “lived in” face…. so glad he will be hence actually living IN. LOVE attack the block – have that persian guy firmly visual in my mind….

  29. BOG absolutely did win the cat lottery! Your compassion is boundless!

  30. Ken Kennedy:
    Hope you get a little love from that…Jamie’s got a pretty big following.

    I didn’t actually know who that guy was until you linked. Cool.

    As a biologist, wouldn’t you reckon those were in fact the females? The dimorphism makes more sense that way (Not that the movie was in any way hard sci fi but I can’t help myself).

    Yeah, the biology was, er, questionable… but the movie (and the director, too, in at least one interview I read) is pretty explicit in stating that the black furry things are the males.

    wait… you SAW ‘attack the block??’ WHEN?!!

    Couple of months back, I guess. I liked it.

  31. Myself and the much beloved Osama bin Kitty (feral cat who’s lived with me for the past 12 years) say Bog bless you.