In Elmira, that’s not a warning about a falling tree, rather a greeting for a local cat becoming increasingly famous for his friendly self-guided tours and neighbourhood visits. Timber the outdoor cat now has his own Facebook page that lets the community stay abreast of his escapades while giving his owner some idea of his whereabouts.
A wandering soul, Timber can be found visiting the homes of Elmira residents, who’ve taken to documenting their interactions with him via his Facebook page, which has some 104 members.
Tracey Crewe, Timber’s owner, was surprised how quickly people joined. More surprising still was some of the things Timber was getting up to when he wasn’t home.
“In less than a week he’s had over 100 followers. It’s mindboggling how everyone in this block knows him,” she said.
“He always cries to be outside. He’s from a farm – it’s not that I would say he’s feral at all, but he doesn’t like to be indoors. So, we started off with a lead and he tangled himself up in everything possible. Finally, we just had to give up and say like, ‘OK, you’re an outdoor cat,’” Crewe explained of his evolution from ersatz indoor kitty to well-documented explorer.
“I always had a collar on him, and we would get phone call upon phone call of, like, ‘who’s got our cat?’ So, I finally decided to get a new collar for him and the tag says, ‘Timber, I’m an outdoor cat’ with my phone number on the back. Over the past year and a half, I’ve probably bought him at least six collars because he manages to wiggle out of them or lose them. My husband has at least a dozen addresses on his phone where he’s gone to pick him up, and the stories are so funny. He went to pick up the cat from this little lady, she comes to the door and she said, ‘my husband said not to feed him, but I did.’ She opens up the door and there’s Timber curled up on the chair next to her husband having a grand ole nap.”
Crewe noted that the adventurous feline always makes it home for his meals, never being out for more than two days.
“We call him a creep because he literally follows children home from school. I have one lady who you see on the Facebook page where she was working from home, and she looked up and all of a sudden, he’s there staring at her in the window. I got a message on Elmira’s How can I help (Facebook group) that somebody had found one of his collars, and of course everybody immediately responded with ‘oh, that’s Timber. We all know Timber. Wouldn’t it be great to follow the adventures of Timber?’ So that’s how the idea happened – it allows me to kind of track where he is.”
From chasing mice behind local stores to stopping by neighbour’s homes, Timber is a cat with things to do, places to go and people to see, only coming back home for food or a nap. He’s out so often, that Crewe says Timber has become more of the neighbourhood’s cat then her own, but she enjoys listening to the tales of Timber.
“He has a very distinguishing mark on his face, like around his mouth, so he’s very easy to identify,” she said of her little traveller, who not only has a home but a house of his own when he decides to wander back.
“We built this outdoor house for him – this is a fully insulated four-seasons home. My husband even put a little loft inside the house so he can get up inside. It’s got shingles and everything. He’s got a full four-storey, four-seasons home in case he ever comes back and we’re not around to let him in. But he comes home, he eats, and he immediately cries at the door to get out again. We’re home base, so he just pops in whenever he wants and every now and then he’ll go up and cuddle up in my daughter’s bed to have a nap.”
The initial idea for Timber’s Facebook page was to bring some joy to the community and the people who have met the friendly cat, with Crewe noting it’s also given her a way to find him.
“It does give me peace of mind if I get worried. If I hadn’t seen him in a day or two, then I can just kind of put out a call and say, ‘OK who’s he hanging out with tonight?’ He doesn’t like the roads, he’ll hang out on people’s porches, he’ll stare in people’s windows and he’s really good at putting on a sad face to make you think he’s lost or something and convinced you to take him in, then they read the collar: ‘oh, you’re an outdoor cat anyway.’”
Timber has proven he will make friends everywhere he goes, noted Crewe, who wasn’t surprised when someone posted photos of him cuddling with their dog inside their home.
“Another lady where I went to pick him up said ‘he and my daughter have been playing, he can come back and visit anytime. He’s always welcome for visits.’ I would love to be able to put a microchip on him to track where he goes – this is part of what the Facebook group is going to help with, just to see what friends he’s making.”
Now three-years-old, Timber the outdoor cat is young, mobile, and ready to meet more people living in Elmira. If anyone sees or gets a visit from the famous cat, they can post it on his Facebook page for Crewe and the community to enjoy.