I went outside today to plan a few flowers that have been sitting patiently in my sink for far too long. I opened the garage, quickly grabbed my gardening gloves and a little trowel, then went to work. I got the 8 little plants into the ground relatively easily, then went to get my watering can from the back of the garage.
As I looked toward the back of the garage, I saw a cat. A black-and-white cat, lying on its side. Lying very still.
My heart stopped for a moment, as I thought it might be my black and white cat! But it was smaller, and its coloring was different. It was a cat I hadn't met. "Kitty-cat?" I said tentatively. Then louder, "Kitty? Please be sleeping...."
The cat didn't move. I found couldn't bring myself to come any closer to it. I thought to myself: maybe (hopefully) it's just sleeping really soundly. Maybe some loud noise? My lawnmower was next to me, so I rattled it back and forth a bit. The cat didn't move.
Now I wanted to approach it even less. I picked up a stick, and slid it along the ground to jab it gently in the back. "Kitty-cat?" This confirmed my fears: the cat was definitely dead. I dropped the stick and shuddered.
Wringing my hands, I found myself turning in circles in the garage. Was this my fault, had I accidentally trapped it? But I hadn't left the garage closed for more than 2 days. It must have just been sick, it must have been in there hiding when I closed the door Sunday. I couldn't go near it. It wasn't my cat; I shouldn't be letting it upset me so. But still, I didn't want to deal with the poor kitty all on my own. What to do? Call G, see if he can help? Dig a grave, try to bury it? Ask my lawn-mowing neighbor what I should do? I didn't even know where it had come from; it could be somebody's pet!
Then I knew: I needed to cross the street. My neighbor Barb knows everyone; if somebody nearby owned a black-and-white cat she would know. Also, she might be able to tell me what to do.
I hurried across the street and knocked on her door. She is a very sweet and social person, a mom who runs a daycare. I am kind of shy and, although I say 'hello' to my neighbors whenever I see them, I don't know much about them. She is very outgoing and friendly though, and we have talked several times. As soon as I came in, she asked me how I was. "Okay," I said, "but I have kind of a problem." When I am upset I talk too fast, and I spilled out the story in a gush of words, still wringing my hands.
Much to my relief, she immediately told her husband to go deal with it. He had a friend over, and the two of them trooped out of his garage a few moments later with a few plastic bags and a shovel.
At first, I was going to let them manage all by themselves, but then I made myself accompany them. It's my garage after all; I should act somewhat responsibly. I danced in agitation from just outside the garage as I watched them scoop it into the bag, its tail still dangling out. I shuddered as they stuffed it in and knotted the bag. They made a couple of awkward jokes, then they promised me they'd take care of it.
I trailed a few feet behind them as we all walked back to their house, and I went back in and babbled with Barb for awhile. She didn't know anybody with a black-and-white cat, but she mentioned there had been signs out by the corner store, many months ago. Perhaps it was that one? We didn't know. The signs were long-gone. "We'll say a little prayer for it though," she told me. Then we started talking about other things, as I relaxed and started to feel better.
I bid her and her family good night, then I went back to my house. I watered my new plants and closed my garage door. I went inside. Tonight I will give my kitties extra petting and love, in honor of the little one we lost.