Country Cat Spec, the cycle of life.
Spec showed up a little over 2 years ago in the middle of winter. He'd never come up on the porch , but he'd make sure to sit just outside of the side of the house and meow until I put some food out for him. I offered for him to come in out of the snow but he was wild and just loved being outside, you couldn't get him to come in if you bribed him with a million dollars and a truck load of salmon. That spring I was on my way to the shop one morning and there he was, meowing outside of the shop and wouldn't stop. Even after I fed him he wouldn't stop, he just kept on and on , I could tell something was wrong. He eventually came over and started rubbing on me and letting me pet him, something he had never done before.
At this same time Mugs, a cat I had for about 9 years at the time was sick and on the verge of passing away. He had congestive heart failure and was getting worse by the day. Eventually I had to bring him in and have him put to sleep. It was dreadful, the grief you feel for animals you're close to is just as deep as the humans you're close to and love. I came home that day from the Vet office , I left the carrier there and had them donate it. I couldn't bring it back home and have Otis freaking out over it without Mugs in it or in the house. Otis was another I had for about 15 years, he was huge. Even at his old age he always wanted to play, he was a maniac in that way.
Spec had rubbed on my legs and let me pet him for about 10 minutes, and then just turned and walked into the yard, I thought he was done and wanted to just go hang out in the woods, wrong.. he stopped in the middle of the grass and took a dump. Odd for cats to do that, they always hide and cover. I walked over after he was done and saw the reason why he was whining so much. Man O Man he was SICK. I've seen some horrific things in my life and that ranked up there in the top 5... I went in the house and got some wet food I had, and put some of my VSL#3 in it. A medical grade probiotic I take for my gut. I did that 3 times and after the third time he was back to health with no more issues. He was healthy again.
Spec stayed after that, he never left again and made under the shop his home and hung out on the steps , in the shop or on the porch during the day. He still stayed outside in the snow though, it just never bothered him. After a while Spec and Otis became close and played , well ,more like attacked one another all the time and then played once someone got their ass handed to them. Usually Spec.. he was under half the size of Otis. He still didnt want to come in the house even just to eat, he was an outside cat 100% , still killing and eating his own food . He was a savage killing animals twice his size. Of course he'd leave them outside of the shop for me to see.
One day I noticed Otis had a serious swing to his belly when he ran, more than he usually did. I checked him out and his skin was raw and a bit red. Off to the vet we went. Well... he had a mass in his chest and was retaining fluids. I ended up having to take him to Virginia Tech to be checked out. It was a mass for sure, but it was cancer and the size of a peach at this point. I brought him back home and made him as comfortable as I could and did what the Vet advised me to do, after about a week though, it was time to bring him in and do the unthinkable, something I never thought I would ever have to do with him. He was always so healthy and full of energy it never dawned on me this would happen to him. My thought at times like this are always man...like he'll never have another day of chillin by the window, never freak out over that sound of a can lid popping. It's over. So sad and permanent. I miss them both, they were with me for so long and made the drive from NY to the country in the front seat of that huge moving truck. Howling almost the whole way. They loved it here just as much as I do. It is though, different without them in the house. They passed within months of each other. Their ashes are here in the house .
I never made an attempt to have Spec become an inside cat, he needed to keep his wild ways, remain free and not get slow and comfy by living in the house. After Otis passed, he started coming looking for Mugs and Otis, all over the place. So, he settled for hanging out with me. I still fed him in the shop only, and he stayed outside except the every once in a while tour of the house to check to see if Otis and Mugs were there. Over time he spent more time in the shop, on the shop steps, always near me. Then winter hit this past year and it was brutal . The cold never let up and he decided to come in the house at night and go out during the day. He did that all winter without fail. He'd scratch at the door to come in and meow at the same time every morning to go out. He was like a dog in that way. But, he became my alarm clock, 5:45 am every morning. It was awesome!. Spring finally hit and he was back to staying out at night, under the shop and then back to the front door or the kitchen window every morning. As I made coffee there he was staring into the window like a stalker, lol. Id open the window and he'd fly in and go for the food bowl. After he ate he'd always slam himself on the ground, not a flop but a slam to where he made noise when he did it. Its something he's always done, no matter where he was, or what the weather was. Id come back from town and he'd run out of the woods as I pulled up and slam himself on the ground when I got out of the car for me to pet him..
Last night,about 7 he wanted to go out after eating and wanted to get away from the music, he was never a fan of loud music. Oddly, he loved the sound of Sam Vaknins voice as he did his Psychology YouTube videos. Not many humans can deal with Sams Voice, but Spec seemed to really like it. Around 10 last night I heard him meow, and it was loud so I thought he wanted to come back in, I checked the front and back doors, no sign of him.. I thought maybe it was a stray that smelled Spec and was makin noise outside.. This morning, 6/12/2018 I came out to the shop to finished up some work and start on more of it. Spec never came to the door to eat. Not unusual at all for him to do that, sometimes he'd be out and up in the woods and come down later on. But today that didn't happen either. I called for him but nothing. I worried but not to much as he does this sometimes.
I headed out on the property to walk the path I have up through the woods here, I do that 2-3 times a day . As I started out into the yard I saw an animal in the road laying there. At a distance I couldn't tell what it was. Then it hit me. I was like.. no.. it can't be Spec, hes to nimble and the laws of physics don't seem to apply to him. At first I wasn't going to walk over but something told me I had to. It was him, he had been hit by a car and was laying in the road. I lost it, he was young, finally healthy, a great friendly and affectionate cat. He would actually follow me to the house from the shop, wait for me outside and then follow me back to shop...he was awesome. I picked him up and brought him back to the house, it was raining outside and cold today so I figured the ground would be soft enough at the top of the hill, but it wasn't . Too many roots for me to make progress and there was Spec lying next to me as I dug, getting rained on. Then I remembered I cleared a corner in the yard near the fence line of all of the weeds and ivy last month to clean it up and have a better view. The ground there is soft, no trees , no roots.
I brought him down there with me and dug . What seemed forever as the rain just kept coming. I laid him in his grave and said goodbye to him. I spoke to him, pet his face and thanked him for being here and that I'll miss him. I covered him up as bad as it felt to put dirt on his face. I had to. I came in the shop and made a small cross out of wood and steel and pushed it in the ground at the head of his grave. Its been a rainy , and very sad day filled with feelings of grief and sadness for Spec as yesterday was the last time he'll lay in the sun and fall asleep on the porch. I'll miss him terribly, but I feel worse for him as the sun won't come up again. As short as his life was, he was here just over 2 years, it was filled with good times, health, a safe place at night, and I cared for him better than I care for myself at times. God speed Spec , you'll be missed, very much so. RIP.