Pooky, that unfortunate animal, arrived from the shelter, a feral Manx, ill used, ill at ease, and just generally ill.  Quan nursed him back to health and got total devotion in return.  The health was relative: Pookie was still skittish in the extreme with the rest of us, ill tempered with the other cats, especially poor Amelio, and retained an infection in his ear.  When he shakes his head, yuk comes out and speckles the walls, the windows, the bed spread, your face – it doesn’t bear speaking about, really.

I have been agitating for Pooky’s advancement to outdoor cat status, but Quan resists this solution for some reason.  He’s too crotchety and sick to be given away; we won’t return him to the shelter, so the only solution seems to be to put him to sleep.  “I will take him there, but you have to make the decision.”  Months have gone by, the months of winter, and none of the vets or nostrums Quan uses on herself and then tries on everybody else have cleaned up this ear, or his temperament for that matter.  But she loves the cat, for all its ill will or maybe because of it.

When I got back from England and saw the brown flecks on the new paint job in the hall, I asked her again.  “I suppose it’s really time,” and I can hear in her voice that finally she means it.  Apparently so can Pookie, who looks up from the living room rug – and he must have taken it in, because that night he disappears, never to return.

Now we have lost a lot of cats here since we’ve moved in – 8 in 8 years – a couple to old age, a couple to cars, the rest we suppose to foxes, fishers (a kind of weasel), and one to a rare bobcat or mountain lion.  So the grounded and logical explanation is just that this was Pooky’s night to get got, but how coincidental, how beyond coincidental that he should go that very day.

In imagination, we see him walking away down the road, his little kit bag on a stick over his shoulder, “Well, if they don’t want me…”   Sniff.  It’s sad.  I really hope he did make a conscious bid for freedom over the indignity of the pentathol prick.  It’s spring, and he’s wily, and he could make it in the woods, I bet.  Personally, I don’t miss him, though I know Quan does.  But to me it’s just another example – the rabbits, the horses, the turkeys – of her advanced ability to speak to and with the animals.  (https://tomyers.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/breakout)


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