Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prodigal

Back in September, over three weeks ago, our house cat, Elvis was sent into backyard exile for household transgressions too egregious to accept. (The boss put him out). He was a reformed barn cat and should have been all right.

Instead he instantly vanished. We regretted our hard hearts and looked for him constantly....actively...I wrecked my foot plowing through the wet grass and it is just now mostly healed.

Two days later we found a mangled cat in the highway in front of the house. There wasn't much left...a couple paws...an ear...marked perfectly, right down to the tiny dots on the back paw.

We mourned...more than is reasonable for a bad-mannered cat. We acquired Simon, who is indeed a cat, although about ten times a day someone would say, "He's a nice cat, but he's not Elvis."

He can't help not being Elvis and I treat him well. Even if cat nip makes him sleepy.

I never stopped looking though...just a wishful glance into the tall grass, telling myself I KNEW he was dead, but still wanting him back.

Last night Becky went over early from chores ...I don't even remember why...and came back screaming. I thought she was hurt...or the cows were out. Alan was at the playoff game with with big brother and sister in law. What could have happened? She scared the heck out of me I'll tell you.

There was a cat that looked like Elvis on the back porch.

Yeah, right. That only happens to other people.
In stories.
Liz and I ran for the house just the same....no cat.

I went out into the tall grass and called the special call that always brought him down the stairs, hurtling like a juggernaut, in search of his dinner.

No cat. We started to go into the house and there he was. Thin. Burdock bedecked. Bearing a few battle scars and spots of missing fur, but there. I picked him up and put him in the kitchen and he immediately began demanding canz.

I am still kind of stunned. I wonder where he was. Certainly not here. There is cat food on the porch and I am outdoors all the time. I would have seen him I think.

He and Simon don't think highly of one another. Still, they are both used to being crated like dogs, when Nick comes through (Nick thinks of cats kind of like a succulent menu item) so we just set up a second crate... a second litter box....a second water bowl. I think I can make it work. I WILL make it work.

On another cat-related note, we have been stocking up on barn cats for the winter. Coyotes, fishers, and wild game of all sorts devour our working cats with depressing frequency, so we put out the word. So far we have a little silver and white girl cat, now named Triton, her daughter, Keebler, and a nice yellow and white Amish cat, which Becky and I are calling Lord John (we may not have the final vote on that). Now someone has dropped a big ugly tom by the driveway...kind of wild....brown tabby, long and lanky, with a small white spot on his nose...

10 comments:

Dani said...

That is a whole lotta freaky there!!

Paul said...

We have the same barn cat problem. Funny that one old cat has been here for 10 years. Bring in 5 new ones, and something snatches them up before Spring. I guess there is something to be said for experience!

NumberWise said...

Oh, my! What a story! I do hope the pet household will settle down.

Linda said...

...and he's probably thinking he taught you a lesson leaving like that and coming back so bedraggled. I'm happy you got him back though!!

~ Sara ~ said...

woo hoo on the return of the prodigal cat!!!

Anonymous said...

How many lives does Elvis have left? Mom

Kristen said...

It sure sounds like Elvis used up a few of his lives wherever he was, whatever he was up to; if only he could tell of his adventures. So glad he is safe at home where he belongs. What a story!

DayPhoto said...

Oh! How I know that feeling...I am so glad he is back! As for the others I hope they live in the barn and venture outside only for short while so they do don't become food. But only they can make that decision.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Wil said...

I wish I had known - we've live trapped 10 cats (so far) and taken them to the humane society (all but two were deemed adoptable - the unlucky pair too feral to allow prospective owners to handle them).

These were all cats who'd been dumped at the farm by others in our absence or the descendants thereof. Sadly, I simply could not afford to feed them all and in Maine, you are on the hook as the owner if you feed a cat, even strays. Sixty bucks a month in kibble was more than this involuntarily retired fellow with no income could manage. The wife kept one kitten as a house cat - the rest are going bye-bye.

Anonymous said...

we had a cat leave for 6 months and then showed up at our door. he walked to where his food dish had always been and cried to me like I can't believe you moved the dish while I was out.