Bono – from Rescue Cat to Rock Star
Bono refused to budge from under the bed.
Nobody said it was going to be easy. The whole point of fostering this
cat was to accustom him to human company so he’d have a chance of finding a permanent home.
He glowered out at us as if we were a pair of murderers. But this
stand-off was all our fault. If we’d obeyed instructions, Bono would’ve been tucked away in the walk-in closet adjusting to his surroundings with his litter box and food bowls.
Lying on my stomach I extended an arm toward him. Bono shuffled deeper
into the shadows.
Lydia and I devised a plan. I crouched to one side of the bed, while she
slithered commando-like toward him from the other.
As she moved forward Bono shot toward me, deftly avoiding my grasp.
We chased, pleaded and lured him with food. But the cat was too fast and clever for us.
After 20 minutes we collapsed exhausted on our beds.
Next morning as dawn filtered through the curtains, a small silhouette
skittered across the floor. Bono was playing with a sock. Despite all he’d been
through, the little black lion still remembered how to play.
When he sensed us watching him, he slid into a crevice in the back of the sofa. Lydia was thrilled when he nudged her hand with his nose.
It was a touching scene but Bono was due for his medication. Steeling myself, I snatched him, carried him to the walk-in closet and dropped the tablet down his throat.
He slithered out my grasp into the depths of his cocoon bed. I closed the
door. Bono was safely confined at last. We all needed a break.
Lydia and I escaped down three flights of paint-speckled stairs to the street. Spring was creeping up on New York. Daffodils unfurled in their tubs.
Women flourished tentative displays of the new season’s colors. Even the man selling handbags on our street corner was smiling.
Though department stores and galleries groaned with treasures, all we
could think and talk about was Bono.
Later that evening, while Lydia was out, I opened the closet door a crack and settled at the computer. About 10 minutes later, the door moved.
A nose appeared, then whiskers followed by those magnetic eyes.
Bono had made it clear any relationship was to be on his terms. I pretended to ignore him. He sat on the floor and watched me from a distance. When I moved to the sofa, he scurried
under the bed.
“You can stay there as long as you like,” I said, switching on the
Several ad breaks later, a tiny figure trotted toward me. I kept still, pretending to be fascinated by a prescription drug with side effects that threatened slow, horrific demise.
Moving closer, the cat nudged the edge of my shoe with his forehead.
My chest melted like the ice cream in our fridge that didn’t work. Bono
was extending the paw of friendship.
I leant forward. He let me run a hand over his spine as he swished past.
Then I heard it. Barely perceptible, the sound of an ancient tractor
rattling to life. After a few more swish-bys it became louder. Bono was
In fact, he could hardly stop humming to himself as he padded across the floorboards. It was as if he couldn’t believe his luck landing in a place where he’d be fed and fussed over.
He stretched one of his back legs and kicked it in an arabesque. I’d never seen such a happy, grateful feline.
My New York love affair had begun.
Delicate threads of trust strengthened over following days. To my surprise Bono started responding to his name and bouncing toward me when I called.
Well mannered and affectionate, he made it apparent he’d lived in a home
and been treated well before. He knew what a fridge was for. Thriving on fresh
chicken and fish, his tummy grew rounder. His fur seemed glossier, too.
Thanks to advice from Jon at Bideawee, Bono willingly devoured his pill if
I hid it in cubes of chicken meat (something our cat Jonah at home refuses to
do). This removed the largest source of tension between Bono and me.
He danced across the floorboards with such zest it was hard to believe he suffered a deadly illness. The woman in the pet supply shop told me when her cat was diagnosed with renal failure she treated him with alternative therapies. He survived five years longer than her vet predicted. In my bones I felt Bono could beat the odds, too.
When it was time for Lydia to return to Australia, I could hardly bear watching her say goodbye to Bono. She vowed to acquire a shelter cat some day.
Lying on the bed that night I felt momentarily stranded alone in a city of millions – until a tiny lion bounced on to the covers and nestled near my feet.
There was no doubt Bono had snared my heart, but he soon started acquiring fans around the world. As I wrote about him for Huffington Post and
Facebook, messages rolled in from France, Italy, Germany, Australia and New
Here in the US, countless animal lovers have sent words of
encouragement. They continue to network in hope of finding Bono a home. I can’t thank these generous people enough.
From animal shelter to global
stardom in two weeks isn’t bad. But what else would you expect from a cat