Pumpkin was a cat the color of, well, a pumpkin. She was a guy for many years, at least we thought she was. She came to us as a wild feral stray. Now I am a someone who truly dislikes feral cats. They are disease-ridden, songbird-killing, nasty little things. But this one, well I don't know why, but we took a liking to her and began to care for her.
Pumpkin and I met mornings and evenings on the front porch. She was fearless, and it didn't matter if our dogs were out there or not -- she was never intimidated by them. She would walk up and look at them, let them sniff at her, then she would walk to her bowl and look for food. She did it in a way that you felt compelled to get up and make sure she was served. Even me, the cat-disliker would be at her beck and call.
There was a long period of time when she was first making herself at home that we thought she was a boy. I guess it was the rough and tough exterior. We never, I never, considered having him (her) fixed or get shots or anything. I only began buying cat food regularly after a year or so of this dang cat, which I did not like, became a fixture on our porch. I figured OK, a barn cat is always good, so I will just consider my porch cat a barn-type cat, but then “he” became cool and I would buy cat food for “him.”
If there was ever a cat that had seven lives it was Pumpkin. She went through a fat-as-a-tick stage, then skinny and sickly looking. There were several occasions over the 10 years or so that this cat was around that she would drag up on the porch totally beat up. I don't know if it was with another cat or a fox or a possum, but she would obviously be hurting from something. There were times we thought she was going to die right on the porch. Sickly and lethargic we would try our best to nurse her back to health; each time she came back. Like I said, she was tough.
Winters were an old cardboard box with towels. The coldest nights she was usually found there in the box, but not always. She traveled the area around our house and sometimes ventured next door and visited there. She was an ‘ole feral cat, born to wander and seeking adventure, I guess.
Not long ago we came home to find her on the porch in pretty bad shape again. This time my wife was adamant she was going to the vet. After the vet visit we learned “he” was a she and they didn't know what was wrong, maybe a snake bite? A little TLC and some time was all we could hope for to bring ‘ole Pumpkin back. She used another lifeline; she came back just fine.
Then it happened. It was a slow process, and we didn't really think a lot about it. Pumpkin would mosey over to the little house next door. There was a young gal living there, and we supposed she thought she was her porch cat and must have kept a small bowl of food out. Then I think she was letting her in the little house at night or during the day. We never really did that except in severe weather conditions. Pumpkin and the gal next door became buddies.
More and more her visits home were fewer and farther between. I was busy and didn't give it a lot of thought. One day I noticed a U-Haul truck backed up to the little house. We had never grown close to the young lady living there and realizing she was moving was a passing thought. Until a week later. I realized Pumpkin was not coming around at all.
Now a couple months into it I guess Pumpkin is gone, and I am assuming the neighbor girl took her when she moved. Wow. I don't know how to feel about it. I miss my tough little buddy, sorta. I mean I never liked feral cats, except this one.
So often we take a random relationship for granted. Someone we see every day, a person we know but not really and we hear they passed away. We think later that we should have called more often, said hi or had lunch with that person. It happens, especially as you get older.
Song of Solomon 2:12, The flowers appear on the earth; The time of the singing of birds is come, And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land;
Know that sometimes we take things for granted, people, places things. No, you can't make physical contact with everyone; you can't and won't get everything right. Some things will just not be on your heart to do, a phone call or a special visit. But there will be some and you need to listen to that still small voice. He talks to us there.
Popper is our cockateal. We have had him for about 25 years. The average life of this type of bird is 10 to 12 years. He has always lived in the same corner of the kitchen and doesn't do much there except whistle, squawk and eat. But we love him and he is just one of those fixtures in our home that adds life to the family unit. Several times in the last couple months Popper has been eerily still in the bottom corner of the cage. One eye blind and the other getting there the last few days he has left almost all perch activity to sit in the corner bottom of his cage. It was just a couple months ago we lost his partner Blue, our parakeet. It won't be long before Popper goes.
Life is peeling away. God is moving. Right now it is our pets, a friend, things are getting close to home here. But I know and I have faith that all things happen for His good. I know that the offer to be back together as it is laid out in Romans 10:9 is real. Do I like it all? No. Do I understand it all? No. Do I like feral cats now? No. Some things are hard to change, but I will pray about it.