Andrea and I are animal lovers. However, because we respect that some of our guests have allergies we have continued the policy of keeping the Andon-Reid Inn pet-free. Therefore, when we bought the Inn we were pleasantly surprised to find a “loophole” in this policy in the form of Bibb the neighborhood cat who “conveyed” as one of the Andon-Reid Inn’s amenities.
Bibb is a sweet, affectionate fourteen year old tabby who spends her days circulating between local houses collecting meals and pats. She has turned out to be a real asset for the Inn, greeting many of our guests and acting as a surrogate pet for those guests who miss their own cats or dogs.
Bibb was a fairly skinny little thing when we first took over the Inn. However, as Andrea is a soft touch, Bibb’s diet at the Andon-Reid has improved considerably from the get go. Bibb now eats only the finest cat food, supplemented with numerous treats of gourmet bacon, ham and sausage leftover from our breakfasts.
We feed Bibb (about five times a day) on the small porch outside the Andon-Reid Inn’s kitchen. A few months ago we noticed some bloody footprints around her food bowl. On closer examination we found that Bibb had somehow managed to tear her toe quite badly. She didn’t seem particularly bothered by this but it looked nasty to us so we decided to take Bibb to the vet and have her seen to. Bibb had never been to the vet before and we were worried that she would be a bit traumatized by the experience. Instead she took her treatment stoically and then, when she had to stay in the vet’s warm indoor cattery for a few days to recover, she seemed to think she had been sent on a luxury vacation. We almost couldn’t get her back in the carrier and back to the Inn.
Guests who pat Bibb notice she has two snaggle teeth. I think these make her look a little like a very small sabre toothed tiger. At Halloween I did suggest that we tie a cape around her neck and take her trick-or-treating as “Vampire Cat” but the idea didn’t go down too well with Andrea (or with Bibb I suppose) so it didn’t happen.
Bibb’s normal sleeping quarters are in the barn on the Smathers-Gaultier property (that’s the elegant Queen Anne Victorian house next door to the Andon-Reid Inn for those of you who have been here before). Under normal circumstances Bibb comes meowing at our kitchen door for her evening meal around seven pm and then beds down in the barn for the night. In January, however, we noticed that she was now spending the whole night on our exposed kitchen porch. On further investigation we found out that the folks next doors had gone away on vacation and a pair of burly groundhogs had used the opportunity to move into the barn and evict Bibb.
In the meantime the weather was getting more and more wintery with temperatures sometimes in the twenties or lower at night, not to mention the occasional snow shower. We were therefore quite concerned for Bibb’s well being and safety. Once again Andrea leapt into action. She dug out one of our old cat carriers and lined it with some of our cat’s blankets. She also found a small heating pad and installed this into the carrier. I added a cardboard box around the whole thing as protection against the elements and, hey presto, Bibb had the perfect little centrally heated homeless shelter – which we have christened the “Bibbloo”. She seems to really love it and it has sheltered her comfortably through some quite frosty nights as well as the big January snowstorm.
The most convenient electrical socket for plugging in the Bibloo’s heating pad is right outside our Garden Suite so this is where the Bibloo is currently situated. I suppose it is a bit of an eyesore (like putting a tent city on the lawn of the Biltmore) but given Bibb’s homeless circumstances none of our gracious guests has had the heart to complain. In any case, the owners of the barn will be back in the next few weeks and will hopefully manage to get the groundhog squatters humanely evicted so Bibb can be reinstated to her former residence – though I suspect we may have a bit of struggle on our hands convincing her to leave her comfy little temporary home.
Bibb truly has truly proved herself to be an Andon-Reid Inn amenity. She has told us that she would love to meet you. So if you would like to meet her – or just enjoy a relaxing break in wonderful Waynesville and the Smoky Mountains – come and join us all at the Andon-Reid Inn.