Page Fifty-two

             Bold yellow sun lights the land where you run,
             burns so bright all its shadows are black.
             You rest in the shade where the danger lies wait:
             how long will it let you come back?
He was yet another grandchild of Maman, that mother extraordinaire. I have no picture to show you, but he was a small cat, white with grey patches. Hence the name. And I must have named him in a period of great fatigue, because I usually came up with names slightly more original than Spot. That’s as bad as Fido or Rover. But most of my animals had multiple nicknames, and for him these were: Spotty, Mr. Spock, Spocky boy.

Like everyone in his family, Spotty was a home boy. Even when free outdoors, these cats never strayed very far from home, unless something really out of the ordinary happened. And the family also tended toward smallnes, which in the case of Spotty’s litter was smaller still. None of the six ever got to what you’d call a normal size for an adult cat, and I think this might have been because their parents were half-siblings.

Sixteen years after his death, I still sadden to say that his life was a short one. In the debate between indoor-cat and outdoor-cat, there are good points on both sides. And I have argued the question within myself thousands of times over the years. In most times and places, I have opted for outdoor cats. And the indoor people can rant and say that I’m wrong, that I shortened my cats’ lives by letting them go outdoors, and in the latter point they are correct. But I had reasons, reasons which I consider just as valid and well-considered as anything they can say, for deciding on outdoors. Not going to elucidate them here, as this is supposed to be Spotty’s post, but maybe I’ll go into them somewhere on my website, at some future time.

Two years and three months was the amount of time he lived. A short time, but a happy one. He was happy. The dark cloud in his life was the cat next door, a particularly aggressive tom called Skip, who would come to our porch and beat on Spotty, who was only half his size. I tried not to get too furious with Skip, because he belonged to people who didn’t take very good care of him, and I think this contributed to his generally unhappy nature (he belonged to the same crowd that Rabbit did, and they didn’t take much care of her either). But I did get somewhat furious when I would hear snarls and shrieks from Skip and Spotty’s very unique, loud hum of terror coming from the porch. We all know the expression “scared shitless.” This is what happened to poor, timid Spot every time Skip came to the porch to assert dominance. I’d rescue him, of course. And as I’ve said, this was the only dark cloud in Spotty’s otherwise happy life.

The cause of Spot’s death is another one of those I had to piece together after the fact. There have been others. Maybe I didn’t arrive at the right scenarios in these deaths, but I did the best I could with the evidence that I had. And years after these deaths, I still believe my conclusions are the most likely ones.

One morning I went out for my walk, first gathering up what cats I could find and getting them inside so they wouldn’t follow me. I couldn’t find Spot, so assumed that he’d gone to the canal. It was a safe place for him to be while I walked the main, dangerous road. When I got to my front steps I found enemy Skip sitting there, glowering towards the woods across the street. My brain was slow on the uptake, as it very often is when I am lost in the autistic world that exists within my mind, and it never occurred to me until much later that Skip had probably chased Spot across the main drag into the big woods. Once this did dawn on me, I began including that woods in the places where I hunted for Spotty.

He vanished on a Wednesday. I searched for him, dead or alive, every day. Ran ads in radio and newspaper. On the Saturday afternoon, at the end of yet another searching walk, I found his body in front of a telephone pole on the main street, where it had not been just two hours before at my last street-check. His collar was gone and his abdomen was torn open. As I bent down to pick him up, something barked at me. I looked into the woods and there was a coyote standing there barking, watching me take away what I believe he saw as his food, and objecting.

My scenario is that Skip did indeed chase Spotty into that woods where he had never been before, and that the coyote had at some point killed him. The missing collar would not happen in a mashing by a car. Or at least, it never has. I’d read somewhere that coyotes often kill by shaking the prey by the neck to break it, and then they tear the abdomen. Before that day, I hadn’t known that coyotes were living in that woods, so very close to densely populated neighborhoods. After Spot, all of my cats got brought inside at sunset, before coyote-hunting could begin at dusk. If I’d only been able to find Spot in that woods that Wednesday, before dusk, I might have saved him. But it’s a big woods. Perhaps he could hear me calling him. But I never caught one glimpse of him, or I would have walked through the swamps and the thorns and even a coyote’s den to get him.

A short life. An ending that while fairly fast, was filled, I’m sure, with terror. This pains me still. After all his days and months of being such a happy soul, that his last moments should have been nothing but fear.


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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2008-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved

Published in: on December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. thank you Paul

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