Custer's kittenhood was spent in the Bixby home. He regularly entertained the old retired couple with pouncing on catnip mice and batting around a plastic ball with a little bell in it. The Bixby's always knew where Custer was because they heard the bell inside the ball. It was Custer's favorite toy.
There was one antic of Custer's that was not as charming to the Bixby's. One time too many, Custer ambushed Mrs. Bixby and pounced on her slippers. Mr. Bixby heard the shriek. Though in good health, neither of them wanted to have a heart attack or fall and break a hip. They decided that maybe Custer should spend most of his time out in the back yard until he matured.
While a cat outdoors is not always advisable, it was a safe situation for Custer. He enjoyed the adventure. There were blue herons to watch, lizards to stalk, and acorns to tackle as they fell from the live oak. The Bixby's had the good fortune of a Banyan tree in their yard. This was pure cat heaven with an extensive system of roots and branches to explore.
The Old Bixby couple spent much time outdoors, so Custer raced to them for a reassuring pat. He couldn't neglect them, nor could they neglect him. They loved their little cat. By merely opening the door, both enjoyed the benefits of a larger world, full of wonder, through the eyes of an orphaned cat with a permanent home.