This morning I went out to feed the cats and found that my husband (I was out of town all weekend and got home late last night) had left the garage door open all night and the cats were nowhere to be seen. But that's not very surprising- they're cats, given the open door, they're going to go outside when they want to. I fed them, finished my chores, and went back inside without a thought. I'm without kids this week (thank goodness, otherwise they probably would have went outside and found what I found instead...), so after doing some work inside I went to run some errands and as I drove around the house I saw a gray lump in the middle of the back driveway.
My heart sunk. It was my beloved mouser, Smoke. I'm absolutely freaked out by dead animals so I didn't stop, I kept going and called my husband (funny story, when I was in college I had a fish, and the fish died, and I called my husband to come take care of it for me...).
And let's just pause to acknowledge the fact that I raise animals and am freaked out by dead ones. I know, it doesn't make sense.
So I ran my errands and took the dogs to the dog park and basically waited for my husband to get home and take care of the poor kitty's lifeless shell. I was kind of a mess all day. I tried to return something and when the guy wouldn't let me return it (long story) I started to cry. I bought $70 in crafting paper. I ate a piece of really sugary cheesecake. Very not like me.
He was only 9 months old, and an amazing mouser, but an otherwise calm and loving kitty. He was beautiful and tolerated my dogs, well, treating him like a dog (trying to play) and my kids carrying him around like a baby doll. Even my husband, who was very against getting cats, was taken by him.
And he lived a good life, short as it was. I maintain that outdoor cats are happier than indoor cats and will defend keeping an outdoor mouser, especially for farm properties. What happened to Smoke was a total freak accident, and while an outdoor cat faces more risk, who are we to say that they shouldn't get to face those risks?
What exactly happened to him? There's no way we can be 100% sure, but based on what we observed here is what we guessed. First, my observations- I knew it wasn't the dogs because of a few things; 1) dogs return to prey after they kill it, and when I let my dogs out they never acted interested in that part of the yard, and 2) there were no obvious wounds on Smoke, other than some blood by his mouth and on his chest... the typical signs of being hit or run over. And after I found Smoke's body I looked everywhere for Pepper and didn't find her. She, unlike her brother, never wanders far and is usually hanging out on the porch or following me around. I even checked the trees (she likes to climb, and got stuck up a tree once). I looked for her again after I got back from my errands, before I took the dogs to the dog park. Nothing. When I got home Scott pulled in right behind me, and while he went to retrieve the body I went to get the shovel. As I walked out of the garage I heard Pepper's panicky "Meow" and started to call for her, and she jumped down... out from underneath of SCOTT'S PICKUP. So here is my best guess- both cats were in the undercarriage of the pickup, and when he went to work this morning Pepper managed to hold on and Smoke either jumped or fell down. And by some miracle Pepper managed to hold on all the way to town, all day, and all the way home (not her first brush with death- once she somehow got on top of my car and I got to the highway before I realized she was up there... ).
I am sad, and upset, and I am dreading telling the kids. Of course I will tell them, because I don't believe in sheltering kids, and this isn't their first pet death (our old kitty died from aggressive cancer last winter). Who knows- perhaps I am just sensitive about death. Or maybe I wouldn't be so sensitive if my parents hadn't sheltered me from the deaths of my pets growing up.