This three-legged cat brought two families together through one incredible bond
'There was just something special about him that I loved'
The story of Bubby the three-legged cat is one that wouldn't be out of place in a Hollywood movie — a tale of life on the streets, a loving family, a road to recovery, and a happy ending in a new home.
But Bubby's tale is set in central Newfoundland.
Bubby's known story begins in 2012, when the cat showed up on the doorstep of Rhonda Wiseman's father, Boyd Abbott, who was putting out food for a different stray cat.
"[My dad] went into the living room, and when he went back, there was a little three-legged cat in the kitchen eating the other cat's food. Dad was kind of really surprised by this animal," Wiseman said.
"It touched his heart to see this little cat with three legs fending for himself."
As time went on, Wiseman said her father and Bubby formed an unbreakable bond.
"My dad got used to him, kind of developed … a relationship with him," she said. "He started to come into the house. We all got to know him, we all fell in love with him."
Wiseman said Bubby and her father helped each other: Bubby got food and frequent visits to the house, while Abbott got a companion through a time of change in his life.
"At the time I think everyone seemed to be moving away. I had moved away, my son was moving as well," said Wiseman.
"My dad kind of ended up being by himself.… My dad just created this super bond with Bubby, and it was really close. It was his little buddy, his company in the evening.
"They loved each other," she added. "It's funny because we're talking about a cat and a human, but it was very, very special. I think Bubby was Dad's reason for … getting up in the morning, making sure he was OK."
After Abbott died in 2017, Bubby's visits to her family home stopped, Wiseman said. She tried to bring him back by leaving food on the porch, but it was left untouched.
"It was devastating. Still at that time, we thought he had a home. Maybe he did, we don't know," she said. "We were so torn not knowing if he was actually OK.… It was so, so sad."
The family couldn't locate Bubby for almost two years — until they saw his furry face in a Facebook post from the Exploits Valley SPCA.
Bubby's new beginning
According to Exploits Valley SPCA volunteer Sarah McLeod, Bubby was brought to the shelter after a community effort to find the three-legged cat.
McLeod remembers when she met Bubby for the first time, he was laying face down in his cage, exhausted.
"He just looked so weak and beat up," McLeod said. "But he had those big puppy eyes, which I thought was the cutest thing I've ever seen."
McLeod featured the cat in a Facebook post, asking anyone if they knew of the animal's history. Wiseman leapt at the opportunity to reunite with Bubby, and contacted McLeod to see if she could visit him.
After several visits, Wiseman noticed Bubby had started to take a liking to McLeod in the same way he had taken to her family.
Once Bubby was recovered enough to leave the shelter, the two decided McLeod would adopt Bubby and give him his forever home.
"I've seen a lot of cats, hundreds of cats every year. But Bubby, there was just something special about him that I loved," McLeod said.
"I really wanted to give him the best retirement home possible. I know that a lot of people probably would have wanted to adopt him, but I just wanted to do that for myself. I wanted to just spoil him and love him for every minute that he has left."
In a twist of fate, Wiseman's brother revealed McLeod had actually met Boyd Abbott and Bubby previously, but had forgotten the encounter.
"It's like it came full circle. It was a very sad thing that turned into a beautiful thing," Wiseman said. "I'm really happy for him, it's a true love story, really.… Everybody loves Bubby."
Wiseman still visits Bubby whenever she can, often helping with the cat's special food and treats.
She is thrilled that Bubby was able to find his forever home, and knows her father would feel the same.
"We'll always have a connection. Now it's not just us and Bubby, it's us and Bubby and Sarah and her family," Wiseman said. "It's beautiful for everybody, and I'm very thankful for Sarah.
"I'm certain that my dad, if he could see this, he's beaming with pride knowing that Bubby has actually made it in life."