1993 - 2008
Long ago I looked across the street and saw that the incredibly stupid feral queen that produced a litter every two weeks, or so it seemed, had picked an utterly unique spot to deposit her current batch - at the base of a gabled window that protruded from the roof of the house. As the days passed, and the kittens started moving around, the spot become less and less tenable until one day, when the kittens were eleven days old, I saw that two of them had fallen from the roof to the ground below. I dashed across the street, and picked them up and brought them home. One of them didn't make it. Tomcat was the other.
Tomcat was named for the Navy fighter aircraft, because that's what she wanted to be when she grew up. Alas, she never achieved that goal, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying! She was never a large cat in size, probably due to prenatal malnourishment, but she had the heart of a lion. She was a superb mouser, but the true joy of her life was going up against the tough alley rats that infested the neighborhood. When she was only four months old, still a baby, she took on and beat a rat that was almost twice her size!
Aside from her lethal ways with rodents, she was a sweet and gentle cat, loving to curl up and purr on my lap, though I'm not sure she ever forgave me for moving us away from that neighborhood to more civilized surroundings. I allowed her to have one litter of kittens of her own, and she was a superb mother to them, teaching them proper cat manners at an early age, and making sure that they had the basics of rodent management. None of her children had the great love for the sport that she did, though. Of the four, one has died, one still dominates the household of a friend of mine, and the other two live with me still.
She had weight management problems the last three years, losing a few ounces every month, especially in the heat of the summer, and never really gaining it all back. She gradually became slender, and finally skinny. Last Wednesday, she went out in the afternoon, as usual, but disappeared from the yard that night. She was gone all of Thursday, and not until Friday did she re-appear, incredibly filthy, and very weak. I have no idea what happened to her, and truthfully, I don't think I want to know. I cleaned her up, and made sure there was plenty of food and fresh cool water.
I knew though, on Saturday, that I would soon lose her, as she refused to eat her all-time favorite food, fresh chopped chicken. She had an odd seizure on Sunday night, and I stayed up with her all night, calming her down again, and just holding her and petting her and telling her she was a great cat, and very much loved. She purred, and curled up happily. Eventually, on Monday morning, she arose and made the rounds of her favorite nap sites, using each in turn. Alyce (vet) came by and confirmed that yes, I would soon lose her. IV's and force feeding were possible, but to little point, only prolonging the passage, and making her miserably uncomfortable.
She wanted to go outside in the afternoon, as usual, but I didn't let her, though I did open the door and she smelled the world through the screen. She died in the night, peacefully, in her sleep. We buried her this morning, behind the patio, in one of her favorite lurking spots.