Saturday, May 31, 2008

RIP Shirley?

Yes, I'm afraid she's gone, and this may be the end of a very long line of cats living here. As I mentioned before, this all started with a pregnant cat, way back when I was just a boy. Shirley and Junior were the last of the line, having been spayed and neutered, respectively, several years ago. (That would have happened to prior generations, but no one was ever able to catch those cats and get the work done!)

As I noted a little over a week ago, Shirley has been MIA. Then, several days ago, Junior went missing. I would worry that my blog post had upset him, but Junior wasn't even smart for a cat, let alone... so no, he probably doesn't read blogs. ;)

Seriously, he went missing, and I started to wonder if maybe they had both been taken in by someone. Sadly, today brought a sign that one of them has died. When she first went missing, I reminded Marc of one sign that indicated a cat death over the years.

This is rather disgusting, but it's a fact. The cats have made their home for at least 20-25 years in a tiny crawlspace under the end of our living room/library. The furnace room runs under part of that room. The close proximity of the end of the furnace room and the crawlspace in question allows some air to pass through, and, as we learned when other cats came home to die, the repulsive smell of decomposition carries through to the furnace room.

Today, Marc went into the furnace room for something and immediately yelled up the stairs to me. I ran down there, entered to furnace room and ran smack into that smell.

At least she got to die at home in her bed. There's something to be said for that. Given the timing, I would guess the smell is her, not Junior. As for Junior, I can only imagine he didn't like the smell and so he left. His complaining to Marc was probably a request that he remove the body. Of course, no human can fit under there (it's really just a space for pipes, not a true crawlspace), so we couldn't do anything if we wanted to.

Soon enough, the smell will pass and she will rest there with ancestors of hers whose skeletons are there. She had a very good life for a feral cat, and I suppose this is as good an end as we could have hoped for. We guesstimate her age around 13 years. Not a bad run, given the circumstances.

Whether Junior will return, who can say? He's around somewhere, I'm sure, and I have no doubt that someone else is feeding him (he always looked quite well fed, and I always thought he had other sources). If he comes back, he will be welcome. If not, I wish him the best.

In the meantime, rest in peace, Shirley.


CoffeeDog said...

Aw, sorry to hear that Shirley is most likely gone.

We have a few yard cats if you want to borrow one! I am having a hard time keeping them away from the chipmunks. I chased them away from yesterday, they we're all ganging up on the poor little thing and that just breaks my heart. Now the squirrels, they can have them, squirrels are cute, but they are bird feeder robbers and attic rats!

Greg said...

Awww...what a shame...but it sounds like she's lived a good life...(and hopefully she won't stink up the place too bad with summer coming on).

We, too, have yard cats to spare...we were a little annoyed to learn they used to be our landlady's--she didn't even think twice about telling us she'd left them behind.

Ours is strictly an indoor kinda guy, though he loves bird TV through the window.

ATG said...

Aww, poor Shirley. RIP little kitty.

Greg said...

Sorry to hear about Shirley. Hopefully she passed peacefully. We have an indoor cat, but tons of ferals roam the neighborhood, dodging cars as they cross the street, squeezing into crawlspaces beneath our landlord's house.

Jeff said...

Aww, sorry to hear that. RIP.

tchoden said...

m sorry for your loss.
It remined my of the time when my sister loss her cat moku. She cried all day and she even had prayer offered for her.
And i love your article on Globe Trekker host Jay Harding. I was watching him host his travel in Vitnam and i suppose he does take off his tshirt in very other show... now that we complain!! hehe

Squirrel said...

sorry Shirley has passed, but it sounds like she passed in her sleep. nice obit, esp the part where you say she's resting with the bones of her ancestors.

Jess said...

Thanks, everyone. And it now looks like Junior may have gone to kitty heaven, too. The stink came in two waves, and he hasn't made an appearance. I don't know what might have happened to him. Perhaps Shirley had something communicable. No idea. It's sad, but we must go on. If I managed to go on after losing human family members, I suppose I can deal with this. I just hope the end was peaceful for the poor kitties.