Another kitty has left our home this morning. The departure was not expected. He was in the prime of his life. Rescued just four months ago from a home full of torment, filled with people who did not understand the way of the kitty.
When he first arrived, he was content to stay in the house. Jumping up on the places where kitties shouldn’t actually go. Up on ledge of the shower, the top of the fridge. He was curious, mischievous and fun. He would dart between our legs on the stairs and because he was black, he would get away with these games without being seen.
He loved to hide in the canning closet and as we walked up or down the stairs, a black paw would snake out of the depths, snag our shirt and claim our attention.
He was a talker this one, and soon he found himself drawn from the house to the land. When we first moved here, the road was quiet. A two lane, seldom traveled entity, claiming no lives. Now, it is a four lane highway- with speed demons whizzing past.
I tried to get him to stay inside. Tempting him with all the latest toys and gadgets to keep an outside cat inside and happy. But he was happiest in the tall grasses, where he could stalk the latest field mice, keep an eye on the birds. I worried about him, but he never wandered off, sleeping on the battered chair on the patio, or taking up watch on the frayed cat condo in the corner of the porch.
Occasionally, I would find trophies of his, laid lovingly on the mat by the back door; shrews, field mice, grasshoppers, even a humming bird. He was proud of his ability to hunt. He knew the skill well. At times I could see him running alongside the cat enclosure outside- full speed, the other cats inside following. It was as if he was saying “Hey guys, look at me, I’m free!”
But freedom can be costly and this morning he paid the cost. I heard him crying in the early morning hour. His cry was different and I got up to search for him. He must have been under the house because I couldn’t find him. Somehow though, he must have known that discovery meant he had to get out from under the house to be seen.
I found him at 5:03 a.m. under the stack of sawhorses. I heard him first and called to him, opening up his beloved can of cat food, a sound that used to bring him running- but not today. His running days were far behind him.
I picked him and was horrified to see two mangled back legs. He had collided with a vehicle and somehow made it the distance- how I haven’t a clue. But just as the drive to be outside called him when he was in the house, so did the drive to die in the lap of someone he loved bring him home.
He didn’t have a chance. The damage was to great. With 70 mph the normal speed on the highway (although not the posted speed) who could survive such an encounter? A cat can live with one amputed limb, but two back legs gone would be impossible to overcome.
He is now at peace and nestled in the trees. Moss covers his grave and my tears surround him. He was a free spirit and he celebrated life as only a he could. Once that back door opened, he would zip out into the fresh air. Catching him and placing him back inside just made him all the more determined to be outside again.
Dob I am so sorry- you now join Twirl who was your buddy. The two of you can roam free one black, sleek spirit, full of mischief the other white and pure of heart. I don’t know what made you so different from the others here. Why you fought so hard to leave the protection of our home to be outside among other wild creatures. I worried about you all the time at night- even when I could see you from the window, curled on the chair purring away. Now, all I can do is miss you and apologize for not finding you sooner. I hope that God took you before you died to a place where you could feel no pain- a place where all you felt was our love.
Thank you for coming home again, it must have cost you greatly to do so.