One of Cal’s favorite things to do is come face to face with a cat. One of his mommy’s favorite things is trying to keep a window in between him and the cat, because more often than not, a fight breaks out and someone ends up with scratches on their face. Sadly, the only cats he’s been friends with through a window (and only a window) were the two at our old apartment complex on the first floor. Their names were Stewie and Louie, and their owner thought Cal was hilarious with the cats. He barked, he whined, and he was loud enough to draw attention from all over the complex.
Since we’ve moved to a studio apartment on the other side of downtown, Cal has enjoyed living in a neighborhood equipped with outdoor, indoor, and sadly, stray cats. A neighbor across the street is the true definition of an “animal lover,” with multiple indoor cats in her home, not to mention the strays that she feeds that always find their way to her house a little after 5:30pm when she gets home from work. She even told me in our first conversation, “I’ve raised raccoons from birth,” referring to the high amount of raccoons that appear in her yard at night. She knows all the strays that have picked up residence on our street just as much as Cal does. I often wonder what is going through these cats’ minds when they see Cal coming toward them. “Oh my, here comes that crazy white dog!”
The cat in the top of the picture (above) was an interesting off-white color with brown patches on his body. I saw him wandering the streets the first day we were in this apartment. Cal clearly took a liking to him in the beginning; it was probably a wannabe bite at first sight for him.
The street we live on is a brick street, like all of the surrounding streets in the area. Bricked streets make it difficult for cars to travel faster than 25 miles per hour and it is often a bumpy ride. On the night that I received my notification from Columbia, I took Cal out for a drive to get some dinner. When we pulled onto the main street off of ours, I noticed something on the side of the road which is pretty uncommon. Once we got closer, I saw four paws in the air and recognized the off-white and brown fur. The fluffy cat was dead on the side of the road he walked on every day.
For the least few weeks, Cal has noticed a new cat hanging out in our yard quite often. We called her, “the kitten.” She was fed by the lady across the street, but still had a small body and was frail looking. She was a scared kitten who ran away from Cal whenever she saw him coming. During the torrential, non-stop, dark storm we had last week, she sought shelter under the overhang of the roof of our building. Cal saw her as we stepped onto the porch and tried to go after her. That was the last time I would see the kitten alive.
Over the weekend, I was driving into our driveway, which I haven’t done in weeks since I’ve been parking on the street, and I noticed something grey laying in the short shrubs by the curb. I immediately thought it was a dead squirrel, but when I looked closer, I noticed–it was the kitten. Flies were buzzing around her body and I exclaimed, “the kitten!” Ryan took Cal upstairs and I walked up to where she was laying. Her eyes were closed and her body was strewn into the shrubs leaving an indention. I stroked her stomach and said, “Jesus has taken you home.” We picked up her body later and laid her in a trash bag before giving her to the animal lover across the street. When I saw her lifeless body being picked up, tears strewn down my eyes as we realized–there was no evidence she was run over. There was no blood. There was no signs of a fight or struggle. But she was dead.
The animal lover across the street has now buried two cats in a little over two weeks. And I’ve discovered both of their lifeless bodies just feet away from each other. Please, break for animals. Spay your animals. And never, make them homeless. There are so many other options that don’t leave them to die.