For “Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day”: I wrote this article two years ago in January after helping a friend with the rescue of an injured stray cat, but my cats could easily be asking me this same question when I’m working late with a post about cats who need homes or corresponding with someone who is rescuing cats or on the lookout in my own neighborhood, and the answer is because I want all those kitties out there to have the same warm and loving home Sunshine and Mewsette enjoy. It’s why I brought in their Mama Mimi and them too, and all the kittens before them, and many others.
. . . . . . .
Mommy, what happened?
We heard you talking and you sounded sad. You got very quiet and you were talking very softly.
We lost a kitty today, my two little precious gems, and I was talking to a friend who knew him too.
We lost him? Where did he go?
You said that when Peaches died. You mean…he died?
Yes, he was very sick and in the hospital, and he died while he was there.
Who was the kitty? Did we know him?
No, but it might be that your mom knew him from when she was an outdoor cat. Do you know that tabby cat with the white paws who walks through our yard?
I sure do! I’d like to get him one day! I hope it was him!
No, but this cat was like that tabby cat, he lived outdoors all the time, he had cuts and scratches all over him and he was, well…I’ll let your Mama Mimi explain about neutering and tom cats.
You mean he never came inside?
No, he didn’t have any home or any people, at least not for a long time.
But how did he eat?
And who petted him and what bed did he sleep on at night?!
He hunted animals and he didn’t have those things you do, and it might be that he didn’t want them, sometimes cats like him don’t care about those things.
But he was cold! And he got wet! Why wouldn’t he care?
But what happened to him?
He got in a fight with another animal, maybe a cat or a dog or a raccoon, and he got a bad bite on his neck.
You mean like Mr. Sunshine bites me?
No, much worse, because the animal’s teeth went all the way into his skin and he got a really bad infection like the one Cookie had under her chin, but all the way around his neck.
And he came to visit my friend’s porch and ate the food she had out and she knew he needed help, so she called me.
Is that where you went the other day, and you came back all smelly?
Yes, we tried to catch him. We didn’t get him then, but he did get in the carrier all by himself and we took him to the hospital.
Like Jelly Bean went?
Yes, like Jelly Bean went. Only this cat was much worse than Bean.
Bean really hurt. He couldn’t pee.
But what happened?! You still didn’t tell us.
He was so sick that when they tried to fix him his body just quit working.
His body quit working? Like he laid down and went to sleep?
But mom, it’s been cold outside with snow, and tonight there’s rain and there’s been ice. He was out in that?
He probably found a protected spot.
He would come inside even if you asked him?
I’m sure glad he’s not outside tonight. What would happen if his body stopped while he was outside in the cold and rain and snow?
Well, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to catch him and bring him in. He wasn’t in a house with a bed, but he had food and water, he was warm and dry, people petted him, and then he went to sleep.
But he would have gotten all wet and cold and frozen…if he had stayed outside?
Yes, and we wouldn’t want that for any cat, no matter what they did.
But that tabby cat…!
He makes faces at you and he pees on things, but that doesn’t mean he should freeze.
Mommy, I don’t like outside, it’s mean.
Mama Mimi doesn’t like it either. She lived there.
But that kitty didn’t get to sleep on a bed!
And that kitty didn’t get kisses and hugs! [Sounds of kisses and struggling cats.] That kitty probably got about as much of people as he wanted, but you are stuck with me! Whenever we lose a kitty I love all of you even more!
Now go and ask your mom about tom cats and she’ll tell you what their priorities are!
. . . . . . .
The world had one less crusty old tom cat that day. RIP Skeeter, oh, the stories you are probably telling at the Bridge!
When originally published this post won a Certificate of Excellence in the
2012 Cat Writers’ Association Communications Contest.
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