The official start of fall for a lot of people today, as most kids start back to school and summer vacations are laid to rest.
Me, I'm hanging on to summer for as long as I possibly can, which is hard considering the rain falling outside my window.
This was a sad weekend for us. We lost another feline friend.
Joe was one of the barn cats that we share with our neighbor. When I say share, I mean we take equal care of them. She feeds them in the mornings, we feed them in the evenings, and between us we handle the cost of spaying, neutering and any vet bills that should arise. A nice arrangement, and the cats have had it pretty good, with high quality food and two warm barns to sleep in.
We assume that Joe was a feral, like a lot of the cats that roam our neck of the woods. And though he was never tame by any stretch of the imagination, as with any animal that takes up residence on our property, he became one of the family. A part of every day life.
Joe eventually allowed us to scritch the top of his head at feeding time (most days). When brave enough he'd rub up against our ankles, but was always aware of our movements. No sudden moves were allowed, and no reaching for him head on. It had to be on his own terms.
And Joe had companionship (and a brotherhood) with Frank and Slinky. They were a unit. Where one was the other two were never far behind. Frank and Slinky stuck close by when Joe got so sick this past week. One evening I even watched as they went out in the field, caught a mouse, and brought it back, laying it at Joe's feet. They knew something was wrong, knew he wasn't eating.
I've heard about animals doing things like that, but have never witnessed it first hand. It was very touching, and very sad at the same time.
When we took him to the vet last night, he was a very sick kitty. We had no choices.
We can only rest assured that he had a good life overall.
It's usually around 5:00 when I see three cats walking down the driveway, side by side, tails swaying in absolute rhythm, headed for our house, and dinner. Now those evening sightings will be missing a very important part. Joe.