turning back the clock

all of my life, i have always felt like i needed to be responsible.  seems my mother did a good job of drilling the sense of responsibility into me.  combine that with stray cats and it is a good chance i will befriend them if i can.  when a neighbor moved out last summer, she left behind at least two cats.  we did not realize that the desperate little cat that was howling outside in our carport was one of them until another neighbor informed us.  shortly after that first starved cat showed up, another arrived.  one was friendly, one was not.  both were hungry and abandoned and we couldn’t help but feed them.    we quickly grew attached to them, and they were more than happy to stay out in our carport sleeping on the cars or in the little bed that darry made for them.   it was also obvious just how attached to each other they were.  they would follow darry and sugarbear every time they went for a walk.   it was a common sight to see the little parade of man, dog and cats strolling down the street.  the neighbors would watch shaking heads and laughing as the procession passed.  those two cats were a sight to see;  they would bump heads with tails entwined as they walked together.  

as time passed, we noticed that patches was spending much of the time elsewhere, only appearing for meals in the evening while lubie remained with us in the yard most of the time.  after a while, patches stopped coming altogether and we hoped that she had been taken in by whom ever was keeping her the rest of the time.  we were sad to see her go, so was lubie; she missed her buddy a great deal.  we encouraged lubie to stay with us.  we made sure she was well fed and even provided her with a heated bed that was enclosed so she could stay warm as the weather grew cold.  still, we worried about her following the dog for walks and we even took to sneaking out so she wouldn’t follow us.  our little timid friend had grown to trust us and would greet us when we arrived home and loved to follow us for walks because she had adopted us and figured we would take care of her.  
when we began seeing the coyote in the neighborhood, we never thought about the safety of the cat.  he didn’t hang around long and didn’t seem like much more than a fluke visitor.  at the time, we didn’t really notice the decline in cats or rabbits either.  but that coyote was watching lubie and after a while, he knew where to find her.  we had been having bitter cold weather and it was necessary to bring lubie indoors.  she couldn’t mingle with our other cats and she had to stay in the basement but that was okay.  she found a warm spot and made it hers, content to stay inside with a litterbox and avoid the frigid cold.  then the weather suddenly warmed and lubie wanted to return to the outdoors.  the coyote was watching and he saw her.  late last saturday, alix and tanner went outside and the cat seemed very spooked; they weren’t aware the coyote was watching.  that was the last time any of us saw her.  we can only hope it was quick and that she didn’t suffer too much.

lubie on the left and patches on the right.  they would love on each other continuously.

such sweet kitties
two best friends, both victims of an irresponsible pet owner and the over population of coyotes.
my favorite picture of lubie, sitting beside the herb garden.  most likely, she was watching the songbirds since she was quite the hunter.  even though i know that i did what i could for her, i still feel like i should have done more.  perhaps if i had let her in that night or if i had taken her to the shelter when we realized that she had been abandoned.  but as they say, hindsight is always 20-20 vision and there isn’t anything i can do now.  but if i ever see that coyote… he better not be standing in the road when i am driving and who knows, maybe we will get a gun.  after all, it is open season on coyotes in tennessee and it is perfectly legal for us to kill one any time and any place.  but any one that knows us also knows that we could never do that, but there are people who would and we may just call them…

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