An affectionate old cat won’t let her favorite mailman leave without a hug.
One of the best perks of Mike McEuen’s job is the pets he gets to meet along his routes.
While McEuen, a mail carrier in McKinleyville, California, loves them all, one special animal named Bijou stands out from the rest.
“There are a few dogs on my routes that I really love seeing, and a couple that seem to know the sound of my truck’s door sliding open. If I can make it work (still gotta get done on time!) I like to at least give them a ‘hello’ and some quick love before moving on,” McEuen told The Dodo. “However, Bijou is the only cat I have on my routes that seems to make it a point to visit every time I am there.”
McEuen met Bijou four years ago when he started a new route.
Though the elderly cat, who has one milky eye and a crooked half-tail, seemed tough, she had a reputation among other mail carriers as the ultimate sweetheart.
“The first time I met her, my first impression was that she was a super old, sweet kitty that looks to have been through it all. A bit rough around the edges but nice as can be,” McEuen said. “I told the regular carrier on the route about it and he told me, ‘Yeah, that’s Bijou. She’s the best!’”
As a substitute carrier, McEuen works five different routes, which means he only sees Bijou once a week. But the little cat always makes a point to go out and visit her friend when she hears his truck pulling up to her house.
“For the first few years, she would wander out to the mailbox when she heard me getting out of the truck,” McEuen said. “She is always there once I have the mail on top of the boxes.”
Bijou has never been shy and, even in the first few weeks of their friendship, she would rub against McEuen’s feet until he was done delivering.
Recently, the old cat has gotten even more bold, climbing into McEuen’s truck while he’s distracted.
“Sometime toward the end of last year, she started getting more exploratory with my truck,” McEuen explained. “It’s only a couple feet from where I’m delivering, so when she sees I’m working and not bending down to pet her, she wanders that way.”
“After a couple months of sniffing around the door, she started climbing in and milling around on the floorboards,” McEuen added. “That quickly evolved into her getting all comfy on the seat. She just hangs out until I am done with the mail.”
Over time, the two have grown close, so close that Bijou will not let McEuen leave without giving her some quality attention — even if it means taking control of his vehicle.
“I learned right away that I couldn’t just shoo her out of the truck. She would hold her ground and gently protest until I pick her up and give her a few pets and squeezes,” McEuen said. “Once that is taken care of, she’s happy to head back to her house until I see her next time.”
While Bijou may seem demanding, her visits always brighten McEuen’s workday.
“Most cats seem content doing their own thing and keeping to themselves,” McEuen said. “I like to think Bijou looks forward to the mailmen showing up as much as we look forward to being greeted by her!”
McEuen and Bijou are just one example of the special connections that mail carriers can have with animals, and McEuen hopes his visits improve their days just as much as they delight him.
“I like to think the animals appreciate someone stopping in and saying hello during the day when their family members are at work or school,” McEuen said. “[It] breaks up the monotony of their day and gives them a little human interaction on what might be a kind of lonely afternoon.”