In May 2013, a gray cat showed up at Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA. As a feral feline, he was content living on the streets, wailing at the moon at night, and mostly sleeping in the bushes during the day. The shop’s crew started putting food and water out for the cat once they noticed him and named him Anderson.
The shop’s Production Manager Jeff Blackmun is a pet person who has had numerous pets during his life. When he first noticed that Anderson was hanging out at the shop, he could clearly see that it was a feral cat that wasn’t crazy about humans.
“We tried to make friends, and he drank the water and ate the food we left out for him, but we couldn’t even get close to him,” Jeff said.
Then one day, Anderson started looking wobbly and Jeff noticed that this filthy cat had a skin infection on his face. This led to some visits to the vet and eventually the crew at Anderson Behel began thinking about finding a forever home for Anderson. His kitty skin issues led to a visit by a representative from an organization called Fat Cat Rescue (www.fatcatrescue.org). A very nice cat lady knew exactly what to do and gave Jeff some topical medication to take care of what was ailing Anderson. Jeff was shocked when Anderson let him apply the medication to the infected area like he knew that he was trying to help him rather than catch him.
After that, Anderson began bonding with some members of the crew. He started begging for food from the techs and pretty soon he was coming into the shop’s reception area, Jeff said. “Before that, we couldn’t get near him. During the day, he would walk around here and sleep in his little bed. But, at night be wanted to go back outside and be a wild cat. Then, in the morning he would be waiting for us to let him in.”
Pretty soon, Anderson was a big favorite with the customers and visitors, even including insurance adjusters. He wasn’t afraid to say hello to everyone coming through the door, regardless of whether they owned a Hyundai or a Tesla. When people came back to pick up their vehicles, they began asking about Anderson, who was more than happy to share a few meows along the way.
One morning, Jeff and some of the crew noticed that Anderson was in bad shape. He was evidently attacked by something, likely a stray dog or a raccoon. His front left leg was broken in several places and things didn’t look good for him. But the people at Anderson Behel stepped up and got some excellent help for Anderson. The vet used OE parts and returned him back to his pre-accident condition. At that point, Jeff decided that Anderson was going to transition from being a shop cat to a house cat.
Today, Anderson lives with Jeff and the rest of his family in beautiful Felton, CA with the Blackbum’s menagerie of other cats, dogs, and other animals. “He’s the coolest cat you could ever meet,” he said. “He is spending his senior years in the sun and thinking of taking some I-CAT classes to stay busy.”
By now, Anderson was officially the shop mascot after a brief ceremony in which the ceremonial milk was spilled and some chanting took place. Once he knew that he was in charge, Anderson changed his sleeping schedule in order to make his daily security checks.