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September 7, 2014

Pokey Didn't Come Home Last Night

So last night, the black cat (Pokey) didn't come home. We let them out during the day. This is my decision. Jennifer isn't crazy about the idea, but I like for the cats to be outdoors. They have so much more fun out there, killing mice, birds, grasshoppers. Say what you will, I believe cats are happier outdoors. The vets and the adoption agencies make you sign a pledge that your cat will never see the light of day, but I let the cats out anyway.

The problem is that, we live in an area with lots of wild animals. I have seen, on the property, black bears, elk, deer, foxes, mountain lions, and coyotes. As a rule, cats don't live that long up here. So, what I do is let the cats out during the day, and then lock them inside at night. In the morning, Jennifer lets the cats out when she leaves for school.

On the weekends, I let the cats out in the morning...they pounce on me and start crying as soon as the sun comes up.

That's sort of the routine, and it's worked well enough up to this point.

But then last night (Sat night), Wallie came in at night, but Pokey never did. She just never came home. I locked Pokey inside, and I kept checking all night for Pokey, but she never turned up. Normally, they show up on the front patio, and I let them in. That's how it goes.

But then, Pokey never came home. And Jennifer is so attached to these cats...she's told me that she doesn't want them to be outside, at all, ever - and that if anything happens to them, she'll just die. So, I let the cats out, but I know that, if one of them ever dies or disappears, we're going to be in for a serious meltdown.

I still remember the last time it happened...she had a cat named "Kitty" that didn't come home one night, and she asked me about it while we were grocery shopping down the hill. I told her the truth...that Kitty didn't come home, and she just fell apart in my arms in the middle of the grocery store. The people just parted around us.

And now, today, Jen comes up and I can't let Wallie out, because I'm not sure what even happened to Pokey. So Wallie is locked inside and Jen asks about Pokey and I'm just like....
"Pokey didn't come home last night..."

Jen just turns around and heads back up the stairs, starting the old, familiar meltdown. Just the saddest thing you've ever seen.

"Come on....let's go look for her," I offer. But like....it's just a futile attempt....who knows where she is...where she could have gone...I have no clue...I don't even know what we're looking for...a dead cat? A pile of bones? I don't even know, honestly.

I have so many vehicles there just aren't words...we get on a green Honda ATV and start slowly driving around the property...like...I have no idea where to go, or what we're looking for really...in the back, we jump a few deer...a mom and two spotted fawns. Then, as we get up close to the house, I can't get the ATV to downshift. It's like stuck in 3rd gear and I need it in 1st and I get get it to downshift.

And I hate this part...I do like zero maintenance on my toys and I'm not much of a mechanic...I'm mostly just lazy, I think...it's been acting funny for years and I've never bothered to fix it, or get it fixed. I finally get it into the right gear, and we drive up to the swingset...a large wooden swingset that came with the house.

"There's Timmy..." Jennifer offers, when she spots a black cat perched atop the wooden playground.

I look up to see a black cat, high up in the wooden parapets of the children's swingset and fort. It was the only condition I had when I bought the house..."the swingset and fort stays here...It comes with the house."

"I don't think that's Timmy....I think that's Pokey..." the two cats are difficult to distinguish. They're both as black as coal. Pokey is slightly smaller, has a faint white spot on her breast, and an occlusion in her right eye that Timmy lacks. But from a distance, they're hard to tell apart.

Finally, I realize what has happened. There's been another cat in the neighborhood, that has been going around and attacking our cats. First, he attacked Timmy. Now, he's attacked Pokey. Pokey spent the night up in the tree fort, because it was the safest position she could find to defend. She's got some scratches on her...behind both ears...behind both front legs...she's definitely been in a fight, and she spent the night in the fort, scared for her life. Too afraid even to come when I was outside calling for her to come in.

We bring Pokey back into the house, and are keeping her and Wallie inside for now. Any cat that comes onto my property and attacks my cats, is about to meet Allah.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 7, 2014 at 10:36 PM


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