one can see there is something...some warm light, some comfort over there?
Let me tell you the story of Stumpy GoldenEyes,
who fathered most of the kittens in a mile or two or three (or seven?) radius of a little hamlet in the Flint Hills of Kansas....
There was a cat,
fluffy and wearing a black and white tuxedo. He was here before me, in the grasslands and prairie and hills and farmland. He ranged the miles around my little farmhouse, going here and there as he pleased. My guess is he sired many many of the ferals and not-feral cats in the area. I think I own one of his kits.
He did not come close enough for me to get a real good look at him. But I would see him pass by
and he would see me see him.
As the years passed
he might have tangled with my big marmalade boy. He might have flirted with my Konza Prairie Dog. You never know what goes on behind the cloak of night. (Except that in Catland, some things do go on….)
Then something happened, which changed me and elevated my spirit through pain.
Stumpy, who had naught but a 2 inch stump of a tail, (the rest of which was most probably lost in a farming accident or wildlife encounter) began to come close to the house and sit. I got out my zoom camera and discovered the magnificent Golden Eyes which were deep as the river and bright as the prairie.
Stumpy Golden Eyes! I love you! Come let me meet you!
As he came closer each day that week, I got a better picture.
My heart sank.
He was covered in big fatted ticks.
His black and white long hair was missing in patches. Oh StumpyGoldenEyes I want to comfort you.
I asked the old farmer across the way,
who said Stumpy had always seemed to have been around. He didn't know how old he was, but certainly more than 10 or 15 years. All the kittens in the area were black and white. He was only seen from a distance. He did not linger but was like a shadow.
No one had ever touched Stumpy. He did not come to eat or drink or sleep on the big hay bales.
He walked alone.
I put out premium nourishment for this elder feline of the flint hills.
I went and sat a respectful distance away; he came! He ate! He drank! And he came every day. By the end of the week he allowed me to sit within feet. I put out my concealed cat carrier near the food.
I touched him; his scabied, parasite-attacked body shivered and shrank.
The next day he allowed me to lift him, ease him into the carrier.
I took him to our shelter, a warm country place with a huge grassy yard surrounded by tall trees. I told them the story. They saw his pain and dis-ease. They said, he could never be adopted. He is old and worn out. He is wild and fierce.
I asked them to clean him, to make him feel good, and they did. They took all the critters off of his noble body and made his skin and fur soft and supple. They fed him good things and he was at ease—for four days. I went each day and was able to pet him and give him company. And then his good humor wore off.
“Where are my flint hills? Where is the sky? I am Wild Cat!”
They told me, he should be put down now. He has few teeth, and is unable to eat well, especially in the wild.
He had been starving.
...He came to you because he needed help to go, they said.
He had come to me to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge.
He had come to find the warmth, to help him ease out of this tight broken shell into his new life!
I wept at the honor.
The shelter woman and I wept. We were not in a hurry and we held each other for a moment.
I asked her for a favor.
I told her
Stumpy had never been inside anything but a barn. Could he please go outside?
Could he have his morphine outside, under his Blue Konza Prairie Skies?
The Wise Wonderful Woman of the shelter stood quietly and her heart and brain battled the Way Things Always Are. She wrestled The Way Things Are Done.
Then she said Yes.
My heart broke with gratitude. I still have a scar.
Stumpy GoldenEyes crossed the Rainbow Bridge out in the breezes of the Flint Hills. Perhaps he saw a mouse in the grass as he passed, or heard a birdsong.
They told me upon post- examination of his gums that he was at least 20 years old, but probably older.
When my number comes in, I am donating to the shelter an outdoor Passage Portal, a bridge and little cottage for those animals who loved or lived in the wild.
And a lifetime supply of Kleenex and chocolate for the shelter women.
can you see me?
addendum... all the cats of mine (such as , HERE, and here, here, here, and HERE are rescues from our shelter.)