There are some things you need to know about me.
One, I’m allergic to most anything with fur or feathers–and I was raised in a home where indoor pets were not encouraged.
Two, I’m married to a woman who goes nuts for any animal.
So as a consequence, when various strays have wandered into our lives it’s been difficult for me considering both my upbringing and my health.
However, for the past several years we’ve had two cats. Callie and Sam.
Callie had a lot of health issues. She was diagnosed as having the feline equivalent of HIV (but this was later down graded by a different vet), then she had to have an eye removed due to a tumor.
Since her eye removal surgery, Callie had become especially affectionate to my wife, Karin–and in the past several months had become Karin’s primary recreation. The two of them would spend hours playing together on the kitchen floor. Callie had even become open to getting her tummy rubbed (a rarity in cats, as almost any cat owner will tell you).
Considering that she came to us a wounded, scared, little stray she had made a world of progress. She was even warming up to me, allowing me to pet her (of course I then had to immediately scrub my hands and still suffered stinging, bleary eyes for hours afterward) and taking on some of the characteristics of a 3-year-old child.
She had become more bold. Coming indoors unbidden, wandering around when our backs were turned, that sort of thing. Karin has been taking care to make sure the kitchen floors were cleaned daily, and if Callie got into any other rooms that they were vacuumed.
Callie had even taken to ordering me around from time to time. When Karin was away a few weeks back (picking up furniture from her parent’s home in Illinois), Callie got impatient for her return. She hopped up on a perch we’d built outside the kitchen window–looked at me and rather stridently said: “ME-YOW!”
I knew what she meant, and she knew that I understood.
I told her to be patient and that Karin would be home soon.
So in spite of the difficulties we were all getting closer.
Then again there was the part of me that just couldn’t handle the allergies too much, and I did complain a lot that Karin shouldn’t be bringing the cats in the house at all.
That all changed yesterday when Callie didn’t come for breakfast…then lunch. It just wasn’t like her. Karin called the animal shelter to ask if anyone had brought in a cat fitting Callie’s description. (It would have taken me days to figure out to do that). When I was through with lunch and heading back to my studio for some reason I thought to go look at the abandoned house next to ours. I guess I thought she might have gotten caught in there somehow.
But instead I found Callie dead. What was left of her.
I’m not going to go into details, because I’m still trying to get the picture out of my head. It was, however, the most horrifying sight I’ve ever been witness to.
Anyway, last night Sam slept in the spare room with Karin. I didn’t care so much about my allergies as I do about keeping Sam safe from whatever attacked Callie. We’re going to have to figure out what to do about that–but for now we’re both really scared.
It might have been Coyotes. They have been re-introduced into the region in the past several years and many house pets have been killed by them. Someone suggested Racoons or even a Bear–but the Racoons around our house are not that agressive and certainly wouldn’t have eaten nearly an entire cat. And if we have a cat-eating Bear on our hands then the problem is bigger than I know how to deal with.
I haven’t heard any Bear type noises anyway. So I’m thinking Coyotes–and I’m really angry at them too. It’s probably not fair to the Coyotes, but I’m angry all the same.
So now I need to go look about Coyote prevention. Wish I’d done so sooner.