Blue was sleeping on the front porch swing when Karen and I went off to the post office and to visit our mothers in assisted living this afternoon. When we came back, he was gone, and hasn't returned.
This morning, we saw a coyote at the top of the field behind our house. I walked across the field to chase him off - a big dog with large ears. He retreated to the trees atop a small hill and watched me, then sauntered off. I'm sure he's the coyote who took Tigger and Ricky last week and Blue today. I grieve for our lost cats, but I just can't fault the coyote. The cats were taken while hunting mice; the coyote took them while hunting for food. It's what they did; it's what they do.
We first met Blue on a visit out here about 14 years ago. He was a large, long young cat, full of himself. Karen's mother kept the house windows open so Blue could come and go. He hunted by day and by night, his lilac point coat glowing in the moonlight. Throughout the years, we were surprised he'd survived so long.
When we moved to this old house, we brought Blue into the house from the garage, where he slept with the remainder of Karen's mother's cats while we lived in an apartment. Blue slept on the bed with us, but got up early to catch his own breakfast. He had a talented tongue, leaving a mouse or shrew's gut pile on the doorstep, but nothing more. His favorite "dish," however, was chipmunk. He'd go walking with us up in the hills on our place, three miles at his peak, about a mile yesterday. He'd gotten slower, and rested more often, stopping at the bottom spring and every puddle for a drink.
During the past two years, Blue had developed diabetes, and it dragged on him. Every day we gave him two doses of Lantus, a long-lasting form of insulin, which I'd used before going on an insulin pump. He drank water all night, pulling the water dish across the kitchen, upending it, and lapping water from the kitchen floor. And ate more and more, going through about three small cans of Friskies pate every day. In recent weeks, his rear legs grew weaker, and he had a bit of palsy in a front leg, but he loved going for walks and he loved hunting.
Early this past winter, anticipating his mortality, I dug a grave for Blue in the front garden. I'll fill it in this weekend.