Growing up we always had a dog as the family pet. We had several horses too but never a cat. Our little terrier "Blackie" hated cats and would kill them if he got a hold of one. Thankfully the neighbors cats (and they always had several) feared Blackie and stayed on their own property. If they did venture over and Blackie caught wind of them they'd run up one of the many huge ponderosa pine trees until Blackie tired and came home. I never really liked cats, but to be fair, I never "knew" any cats. When I married my husband he suggested we get a cat to help control the mouse population on our acreage. I eagerly agreed when I opened up the sleeper sofa in my great room to discover a little mouse nest with several naked new borns.
Over the years I have adopted several cats, and with each one I have learned more about the species and grown to become very fond of each one of them. Unfortunately most of them didn't survive long living in the outdoors. With each unfortunate loss my knowledge increased and I gave in to more house time realizing that house cats live much longer than outdoor cats.
Otis was a throw away that my sister found wondering around town one afternoon. I told her to bring him on over and I'd find out who lost him. Well 12 years later, no one claimed him. During the time he lived with us, Otis traveled nearly all 48 states and two Providences of Canada. He loved to go deer hunting and camping with us in our travel trailer. When Otis died tragically, my heart was broken. Several years later we got Simon. He too went hunting with us in our little RV. Nine years later Simon was caught in a coyote snare that the Game Commition set on adjacent property and didn't post any signs of their existance. I was devistated. Years have passed and my daughter convinced me last July to let her adopt another kitten. She is a college student now, so I agreed. We selected Joey, a bingle mix from the humane society. Michelle pleaded that Joey be an indoor cat so he too wouldn't get snatched away from us. Well that lasted about four months. Once Michelle left for school, Joey got bord and began ripping and tearing up everything in sight so I did the unspeakable and started letting him outside. I'm too old to raise another youngang.
Joey is now 10 months old and goes outside every day. I check on him often and give him a treat each time I call him and he comes. That was working well until today. He was outside for a couple hours and I called him. No response. Tryed again an hour later, nothing. Finally, five hours later, when he didn't come when I called him, I went serching for him. My stomach churned with fear of what I might or might not find. I was so worried. Thoughts of Simon's discovery entered my mind. I tried to brush them aside. I prayed. After calling Joey for nearly twenty minutes and praying to Jesus that he be alright, I turned around to find him sitting looking up at me with his big gold eyes and dumb look on his face. Relief washed over me like a flood. I swooped him up and kissed his ears. Tears filled my eyes as I carried him.
Joey is back in the house, safe and warm. I am so fearful that something will happen to him when he's outside but I know my love for this little kitty will be short-lived when he rips his sharp claws through the delicate threads of my new sofa, or the next time I catch him cruising the kitchen counter top stealing a piece of venison that I laid out for dinner. Until then, I praise Jesus for his safe return. Tomorrow, I'll pray for his safetly...outside.
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and