The Cats of University Heights: Bruce

Last week, driving up Texas Street—one of the neighborhood’s major boundaries—road work compelled my wife and I to go home by way of Monroe instead of Madison. I sat in the passenger’s seat; a woman walking a dog accompanied by a cat riveted my attention. At home, soon as Anne pulled over, parked, and stepped out of the Honda Fit, I slipped into the driver’s seat and sped away to capture a portrait of the handsome, fluffer-tail cat walking the dog on Monroe. Of course, after pulling to the curb, and walking about several streets, I couldn’t find the beast—or his owner. But the Fujifilm X100F was ready.

Ten minutes later, I abandoned the hunt and started to drive home. Damn, I had gone one block too far and passed a doorway just in time to see the dog-walker, her mutt (that’s affectionately meant), and the feline disappear into an apartment (or perhaps duplex). I noted the building’s address number and nearest cross-street (Alabama) for future scouting. Last night, on my second day twlight’s attempt looking, I spotted the handsome furball waiting for his master’s return. Oh yeah! 

I shot about a dozen photos from several vantage points, primarily choosing the Featured Image because brief illumination made the moment. Clouds blanketed San Diego for the entire day, but for about 30 seconds during my shooting, sunlight broke through the grey-white canopy. Only two pics bear witness to the sun, and this is the one with enchanting expression. Here, kitty, kitty.

I captured the moment using Leica Q, which, like the X100F, is built around a fixed-focal-length lens. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm. In Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, I cropped the DNG image, but otherwise did not alter before exporting the JPEG.

Update, May 27, 2017: A day earlier, I encountered Bruce on the lawn waiting for his master to come home. This is an edited crop. Vitals, shutter speed manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 6:23 p.m. PDT.

Update, Nov. 24, 2017: See post about housemate Guido for Bruce’s origin story.

Update, March 28, 2020: See shocking “Someone Tried to Steal Bruce“.

Update, Aug. 13, 2022: Some guy walking a dog let it get close to the cats. Suddenly, somewhat unsteady being apparently inebriated, he tripped, which lengthened the leash’s reach—allowing the dog to advance on Bruce, grab him by head and shoulder, and thrash him about the way a canine might one of those stupid plush toys. One neighbor rescued Bruce. She immediately rushed to the dog, whacked it, and pried open its jaws to free the beloved cat.

The nearby pet groomer warned Bruce’s owner that the attack was vicious and that he might not survive. His mom found him hiding some distance away.

His head and shoulder were “soaked”, she told me, adding that many of his claws were nubbed or missing. “He fought hard”, she said proudly. A long patch of fur had ripped away behind his neck. He’s a survivor.

Update, May 29, 2023: Last night, Sunday, one of my neighbors rang the doorbell, and as I rushed to the door she pulled back the leash on her dog Apple, asking: “Have you seen Bruce?” Visibly anguished, she explained that the cat disappeared on Friday night. She, as I suddenly recalled, had gone away for Memorial Day weekend, trusting his care—and that of housemates Guido and Little—to friends.

Update, June 7, 2023: Yesterday, I had an opportunity to talk to Bruce’s owner. Wow, are animals sensitive to one another and mournful. Neither of the two cats nor Apple will eat. Little is camped out on the luggage that the woman brought back from her trip. Not coincidentally, Bruce sat on the same spot.

Previously featured felines: ScruffyRoly PolyWooSkullBiscuitThe ColonelWhiteChipper,  Frisky, Stretch, Needy, Farfisa, Mates, Hunter, Pee-PeeBlue, Blue Too, Bonded PairPatience, Fess, Jumper, Frenemy, Looker, Cozy, Scout, Lurks, Skit, Mini, Betty, Black and White, Stalker, Bell, Chill, Sammy, Scratch, Poser, Star, Grey and White, Watcher, Herman, Comet, RomanWillow, Chub, Nimbus, Watson, Lilo, Kit, Pepe, Twilight, Sebastian, Spot, Booger, Ash, Veruca, Riley, Mellow, Bonde, Flower, Glass, Black, BeBe, and Fang.