Bumpus rides in his family’s Jaguar and travels the U.S. with them to share live music and raise money for animals in need. He excitedly explores every new place. He prances with the grace of a Lipizzaner stallion, hikes mountain trails and yet is completely defenseless. He is blind and without claws.
Bumpy came to our house in woods prowled by coyotes, fox, hawks, bobcats and badgers. To get there, he had to cross a county highway and hilly roads. Heavy traffic moves so fast through the County that, unfortunately, often deer do not survive.
He had to wander lost through fields, thick woods and wild tangled vegetation. Imagine how hard it must have been. He trips on every uneven surface and everything in his path, even something as small as a leaf. He falls into every hole.
Imagine surviving predators in this wilderness night after night, hungry and not knowing where he was without sight to provide any clues, without claws to protect himself. Most cats would hide and stay hidden. Instead, Bumpy struggled all the way down the acre of land to our home.
It was late at night in January 2020 when he huddled against our door. He meowed very weakly while gazing in my husband Vail’s direction when he opened the door.
We had no idea he was blind. He was cold and hungry. Bumpy sighed and collapsed in my arms from exhaustion and relief.
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Clearly, Bumpus belonged to someone once. Someone who had his claws removed. But we could not find anyone who was looking for him. We didn’t believe we could keep Bumpy. Our rescue cat Cornelius struggled with the presence of another cat in his home.
The country and the world began locking down; people were confined to their homes. No one wanted Bumpy. The music industry was hit hard for the next 2 years.
It was a very discouraging time in our home. Bumpy brought joy into this mix. It took an amazing spirit to continue searching for help with all the hardships and obstacles in his way. He continues to trip over socks and bump into furniture but is never discouraged. Bumpy cheerfully keeps going.
It was unclear for quite a while if we could make it work between Bumpus and Cornelius, but we did!
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They do so well now we’re able to travel across America with them together in our motorhome to share live music and raise money for shelter animals.
My husband Vail also recorded a CD called “Inspired” and we began raising money through music for other challenged animals all because of a very sweet and optimistic cat.
Cornelius (our first cat) has his own rescue story. His owner returned him to an animal shelter that was a kill shelter. No one adopted him. The shelter in our area, Williamson County Animal Shelter (WCAS), was notified that Corny and other cats were about to be euthanized. They were transported here instead.
My neighbor’s cat Zoe went missing one night. We suspected the worst but I offered to look for Zoe at WCAS. Sadly she was not there but Corny saw Vail, put his paws around his neck and looked directly into his eyes.
That is how we came to have our first cat Cornelius. And that is why a portion of proceeds from the Inspired CD downloads go to the WCAS, the people that literally saved Corny’s life.
Vail who has been a jazz and R&B musician all his life named our rescue cat Cornelius after the sax player Cornelius Bumpus.
Perhaps it was meant to be that we would end up with both a Cornelius and a Bumpus cat.
Rescue story and photos by Denise Johnson.
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