Follow by Email

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Absent Friends

Today, Karen and I got back from  a week in Portland, our first vacation in seven years. Upon our return, Karen called her son, who was house/cat sitting for us while we were away. He told us that he hadn't seen Tigger, my mother-in-law's brown tabby, since we left on Thursday, and hadn't seen Ricky, our orange tabby, since Friday morning. They must have been taken by a coyote.

Tigger was a funny little cat, with a long, thin tail, tiny paws, and a missing fang that gave him kind of a Billy Idol sneer. Before Karen's mother went into assisted living, Tigger loved sleeping on her lap as Jean rested in her old rocking chair. As Jean developed dementia and forgot to clean out the many sand boxes scattered around her house for her eight cats, Tigger began spraying in protest. After Karen and I discarded the carpet and cleaned and painted the house, Tigger and another cat - a latecomer that came down the valley from another family - were banished to the garage, where we bedded them down every night. Tigger did enjoy sitting on our laps whenever we'd sit on a porch swing or front-yard bench. He'd also go for walks with us up in the hills, meowing the whole way, whether in protest or enjoyment. Now, he's gone.

So is Ricky, my favorite cat. Ricky came to live with us in Laramie,showing up on our back porch. He was skinny, had a hernia, had been shot with a BB that lodged under his skin, had a broken tail tip, and had had his front claws clumsily removed. Ricky suffered from skin allergies, which drove him to pull out fur near the base of his tail about every six weeks, and for which he received depo medrol shots. And we twice had to have him treated for an anemic blood disorder he'd inherited, probably from his mother. But he was a joyous cat. On the drive from Wyoming to Idaho he sat behind my driver's seat with his head perched on the center console; he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Ricky slept on the bed with us, curling up into the small space between our pillows, getting up early to give himself a good wash-up. And in the evenings, he'd crawl into my lap and rolling around, looking up at me, before settling down for a long nap. Ricky was the only one of our six cats that would sleep on my lap, and I will miss him. 

Now, we're down from six cats to four. In late July, we'll be moving our remaining cats to a new house away from the coyote's hunting field, where Ricky had become an accomplished mouser. I'd like to think he was enjoying himself before he vanished from our lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment