June 28, 2024

Meet Bean, The Cutest Cat

Prior to 2020, my husband and I were both cat people, without a cat. We spent the first few years of our relationship moving from city to city, so getting a cat together was a “one day” concept. Once we settled in Los Angeles, “one day” became a reality. My birthday happens to be December 31, and leading up to December 31, 2020 we decided that finally getting a cat would be the perfect birthday present.

The only thing was that it was the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, so browsing the shelters and bonding with a certain kitty wasn’t really an option. The local shelters all had the same policy…video chat only. That’s right, we had to video chat with the cats to see which one struck our fancy. So before our 3:00pm video chat date with the cats we went on the website to get an idea of the cats we were interested in. Enter Boo Radley.

Boo was five years old and described as shy. In his bio it stated that he kept to himself, however if new cats that came to the shelter were anxious or terrified, they would gravitate towards Boo and felt safe. 

 

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Boo was also FIV+ and had been at the shelter for over a year. Prior to the shelter, he was a TNR cat, trap and release, so he had the classic clipped ear. The story goes he was deemed feral…which is never great for a cat that’s trying to get adopted. Boo was deemed unadoptable due to his feral stamp, so he was shipped off to a farm to be a working cat. This farm, like other working cat farms, tends to adopt feral cats to work the farm catching mice and whatnot, as a compassionate alternative to being put down.

Bean in his natural habitat, being very much not a feral chonk

It was during this time that Boo was discovered to be not feral, just incredibly terrified. And so he was brought back to Kitten Rescue. Kitten Rescue is located in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles, and started in 1997. They are a non-profit, volunteer based shelter that not only rescues cats from the streets, but from kill shelters as well. Boo was taken from the farm to Kitten Rescue, and given the name Boo Radley for his timid personality. He was also given the birthday of December 31, 2015.

I don’t know if it was the shared birthday between Boo and me, his unadoptable diagnosis, or the sassy little pose that was his profile picture that had me. All I knew was, I wanted Boo Radley. Luckily, my husband agreed. 

 

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So when the video chat started and we were shown around the shelter on our little iPhone screen, I told them we wanted to see Boo. I think they were surprised, assuming we wanted a kitten. On the way to “find Boo” we were shown so many cute kittens, and outgoing cats. All of which were heart wrenchingly adorable, but we wanted to see Boo. When he was finally found, hiding in a small space in his little cubby, my heart melted. He was chonky and had sad eyes. It was decided, we wanted him. So we made the appointment to pick him up, on December 31, 2020. 

 

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It was the first and only time we were permitted inside the shelter due to the lockdown. I’ll never forget his face when we first walked up to him. He looked sleepy, lonely, and completely caught off guard that he was about to be put into a carrier and taken home.

When we brought him home we took him right into the bathroom and stayed with him with the door shut, so as not to overwhelm him with the entirety of our apartment. There he had food and his litter box, although he mostly just tried to shove his whole being behind the toilet. It was during this time with him in the small bathroom that we discovered something. As terrified as Boo was, he wasn’t mean. A lot of cats when scared will lash out. Hiss and scratch. Boo just meowed and tried to disappear. He did however, always accept pets. To this day, there is not a mean bone in his chonky body. He’s never hissed or scratched, and the only bites he gives are love nibbles when playing. If he’s scared, mostly when strangers come over, he just runs and hides. Always on the defense, never the offense.

The early months of Boo coming to live with us, his name gradually changed. It wasn’t on purpose, it just sort of happened. Like most pet owners, Boo was rarely called Boo, he was called by his nicknames. Names like Boo Boo or Boo Boos. Or Boobino, and then shortened to Boobean and eventually, it was just Bean. Which fit perfectly and organically.

 

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Bean started to venture off into most parts of the apartment. He let us show him love in the form of pets and treats, but never let us pick him up. He also never would come up on the couch or bed. And when the TV turned on, Bean was out of there so fast. It got to the point where as soon as we reached for the remote Bean was off hiding in the closet. It dawned on me during this time that I don’t think Bean ever lived in a home, or with a family. I think the TV scared him because he had never seen one before. The sounds of people talking not only confused him, but terrified him. 

 

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The reason for not wanting to be picked up off the ground may have been the same reason he was distrusting of being on the couch or bed. Bean really never jumped up on any surface, preferring to stay on solid ground. 

About three months into us becoming a family of three, the unthinkable happened. My husband and I were just about to drift off to sleep when I felt it. At the foot of the bed Bean appeared. Very quickly, as if he had just worked up the courage and didn’t want to back down, Bean pranced right over to my head, on the outside of the bed. He lay down with his round little head on the pillow beside mine, and his body perpendicular to mine. Both my husband and I were afraid to talk, move or breathe, for fear he would run off. I spooned Bean for the first time that night, and woke up in the same position the next morning. 

 

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Every night after that has been the same, with variations. Bean always sleeps with us, head on pillow, body next to ours. Sometimes he’s in the middle of us like a toddler who seeks solace from their parents after a nightmare. Sometimes he’s on my husband's pillow. Sometimes I'm a big spoon, sometimes my face is engulfed in his belly. But every night, like clockwork, Bean sleeps with us and wakes up with us. He doesn’t cry in the wee hours for breakfast, he waits patiently in bed until we’re up. He also likes when we have hangover days, as it means he gets cuddles all day on the couch with us in front of the TV.

That’s right, around the time that Bean discovered the bed wasn’t so scary, he also discovered his love for lounging on the couch in front of the TV. He still won’t let us pick him up, but he loves to lay on us when we’re on the couch.

 

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He is the sweetest boy, and to this day I have no idea how he wasn’t adopted before us. I honestly believe that all three of us were meant to find each other in this life. To Beanie Bowes, thank you for being you, and waiting for us to find you.

 

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To see more of Bean you can follow me on Instagram at @mrs.elbowes where he tends to take over my feed, much like he’s been taking over the apartment. He’s come such a long way, and you would never know it by the way he acts now.

 

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