Friday, April 30, 2010

Just A Cat

I promised to introduce you to my ducks this Farm Friday. I'll do that next week. Today, I want to remember a sweet boy that disappeared from my life last Sunday: Gandalf the Gray, aka Gray Kitty, aka GK.

GK came with the house when I bought it. The owner left him here because she was afraid he wouldn't adjust well to life in town. I was afraid he wouldn't adjust well to my dogs -- or my dogs to him. Turns out GK had ideas of his own and used his considerable likeability skills and fearless heart to worm his way into the dogs' social pack. Wherever the dogs went, he was sure to follow.

Once I was convinced he was staying, I had him neutered. Afterward, he stuck around the house more and decided snuggling on a warm, soft bed at night with the rest of the family was a fine life indeed. He tolerated other kitties that strayed into our lives, and took to mothering a couple of them. He was definitely the kind of cat that needed to be liked. He also loved to be held, would beg to be held, and would hug me tight when I held him, which, you may have guessed, he insisted I do often.

Small prey he wasn't so tolerant of. He was a mouser who liked to play with his catches, often bringing them into the house to enjoy. Mice, rats, bunnies, birds -- he tormented them all.

A couple of days before he disappeared, a large dog I hadn't seen around visited the property. My dogs engaged in the traditional stiff-tail-wagging introductions and GK was in the middle of it all, sticking his nose right up to hers without first making sure she wasn't going to do to him what he did to mice. I called him a "stupid cat," and remember thinking he was a bit too intepid and trusting for his own good. Was it precognition that I worried right then about how he would react if a coyote came visiting?

Mostly GK slept inside, only occasionally venturing out through one of the doggie doors in the early morning hours. I never worried much about him. My house is a good distance from the road, so cars aren't a safety factor. Besides, he normally stayed close to the house where he could dash to safety under the porch through small cat-friendly lattice. To do that, though, he would need to be trying to get away from a stray dog or coyote, not walking up to it trying to make friends.

I'll never know what took him -- a dog, coyote, or owl -- all I know is that between the time he was gently licking my hand, purring me to sleep, and when I woke up he was simply -- gone. Disappeared. A not-there presence.

I knew him for five-and-a-half years. That's a lot of hours of lap sitting and snuggling and learning to love and being loved back.

If it had been my human child that had disappeared, society would grant me at least a few days to deal with my grief and come to terms with the loss. Lapses in concentration at work and home would be forgiven. People would understand. As it is, I haven't even told coworkers I'm close to about my loss or the nights this week I haven't been able to sleep, staying awake to ensure none of my other "children" disappear in the dark.

To everyone else, he was just a cat. For me, there's never been any "just" about it.

15 comments:

pulp said...

Perhaps Gray Kitty will return. Not knowing is hard.

If he met his end, I am very sorry. GK sounds like a lovable, loving friend. He was beautiful, too--evidently in every way. I'm glad he enjoyed a good home and lots of love.

I send you my sincerest wishes for his safe return, and if it is not to be, for your healing and consolation.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Aw. So sorry to hear this. Our babies are our babies, whether they be two-legged or four. And yes, sometimes they're too trusting for their own good.

Hoping he comes back and wishing you peace.

Joe G said...

I might cry :(

Chris Eldin said...

Oh, Phoenix, I'm so so sorry. He is a beautiful gray, and he looks very gentle and cuddly. Exactly like you described him. I don't know what to think... there's a part of me that thinks he is out catting around, neutered or not. I don't know. But it's also not healthy hanging onto to false hope.
I wish I could hug away some of the pain you're feeling.

Anonymous said...

Having lost my little dog Gretta not too long ago, I still have tears over her. And I think I will always grieve for her. So, you, too, my dear friend, can be sad as long as you want to and tell me about it as often as you want to. I am so sorry.

_*rachel*_ said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. We've had cats disappear before (coyotes and cars), so I've got an inkling of what you feel.

Anonymous said...

So sorry about your beautiful little boy. He sounds like a wonderful kitty who had a beautiful life with you.
I hope he comes back (we heard a story when our furbaby was missing of a neighbor's cat who was gone for 3 weeks then waltzed back in one day!) but if he is gone, I'm truly sorry.
Best wishes.

Phoenix said...

Thank you all for your words of sympathy and support. All of us lose many loved ones over the course of our lives, but that doesn't make each loss any easier, does it?

How fair is life that the more you surround yourself with things you love the more you open yourself up to the pain of loss? In the end, though, I suppose the trade-off is worth it.

Robin S. said...

Phoenix, I'm so sorry! It's hard to say goodbye when you don't know what happened - I'll be thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Phoenix,
Sorry to read this.
Bibi

Anonymous said...

Let's pretend. He went to a home with better food, (doubt that but we are pretending. He like smoked salmon better than hard chewy kitty chow).He's playing a bad joke on Devine Miss Phoenix who cut his kahoooooonies off and wants to make her suffer - doubt that but we're pretending here. He's not gone, only in a form Divine Miss P can't see through her tears. Just a cat - I doubt that. This is is a sweet little soul we were all happy to meet through Phoenix.
Hang in. When you have animals it is always hard to say goodbye.
Just a cat, dog, horse, donkey or chicken. No, these are the creatuures that make us sing when we've got nothing to sing about.
He's off playing - chasing those mice and thinking wouldn't mommy be proud of me.
You have to know Rainbow Ridge- I assume that's where you got Rainbow's End from.
Red and yellow and pink and blue, purple and orange and green I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.

Wishing you a rainbow, Bibi

Bernita said...

Makes my heart ache...
So sorry, Phoenix.

Matthew said...

I feel your pain. I remember when my dog died. Still hurts.

writtenwyrdd said...

That's sad. He sounds like a great cat. I hope he is just strayed away and will return shortly. It is hard to not know.

sylvia said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! I've fallen behind on my blog reading so I've only just seen this. It's heartbreaking.