It’s still sad to even write about this, but I feel I must. Bad things happen here on our little homestead as much as the good things. Thankfully, the bad things are not often, but still, we get them as well. Everyone does. This week, it was very sad. Our sweet barn kitty boy Baron was hit by a car and killed. Apparently, he was off visiting and wandering and made a misjudgment out front on our fairly busy road.
It’s such a rough call. Sure, cats live long and healthy lives in our homes, away from the things that can do them harm… cars, other animals, illness… but yet, a cat outside is in his or her glory. When I watch our kitties outside, on the farm, they are royalty among the other animals. They come and go as they please. They languish in any sunny patch of green grass or sweet warm hay they wish. They jump fences, they climb trees, they walk on the top of roofs and laugh at us all in our routines. Kitties outside are just the happiest things around. I adore after a hard bit of chores to sit on a stump or a bale of hay and within a few minutes, I have a cat in my lap, purring and rubbing and wanting my attention. I love watching them stalk imaginary things in the grass or hop around in the tall weeds to try and catch a butterfly. I’m thankful that they keep mice out of our livestock feed and am always pleased to see them sleeping in a barn all curled up in a little feline ball. And when they get hurt or killed, it just breaks my heart. And I think, I have failed them. I have let them get injured or worse on my watch. Yet, I have also, let them live their lives the way they want. It’s a quandary.
Let me tell you, there are few worse things in this life then to have to go out and shovel the remains of a beloved pet off a piece of black pavement. You have to be quick, because cars and trucks are whizzing past. And once you are done, you just feel so awful, it’s dreadful. The image burns in your mind for days, weeks. I gently carried his lifeless body in my big shovel to a grave out back and I sobbed like a baby, just felt so awful. I could never ask my girls to do anything so grave, though I imagine someday, they might have to as well. I could never leave him there, driving by would be more painful each and every day until he was no longer there. Just sadness, much sadness. Such that you think, I never want another cat, especially an outside cat.
But we have Duke, Baron’s brother… There’s just no way that we could bring him inside. He’s too wild. He likes to pee everywhere. He’s a free spirit and cooping him up in a house would probably make him miserable. He seems to be much better at crossing the road. It’s odd… I rarely ever saw Baron leave the farm, he was a homebody. Never saw him outfront. Duke? He’s back and forth and all over the place. He’ll be gone a day or two and wander back. He’s got a lot more street smarts, it seems, more than Baron did. My guess, Duke will be with us a good long time, because he’s just more, well, tough and smart about bad things. I hope so.
I think we are blessed however. With this many animals, aside from an old hen or two, we haven’t had too many deaths this year. All our lambs were born healthy and grew well. We lost Grizelda… our bunny…. and now Baron. I guess with this many animals about, there are just bound to be a few losses. I hope that we have no more this year. I can’t bare to loose another pet right now.