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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Carlos the Barn Cat: it was nice knowing him...

 This cute black and white tom cat showed up last fall.  He just starting hanging around.  And a couple days ago, he was gone.  He didn't leave.  He appears to have simply laid down and died.

Well, I enjoyed him while he was here, and I think he had a pretty nice life for the last half a year.



When he first appeared, I regarded him like I do most strays: PEST.  Oh great, another stray cat.  Probably wild and vicious disease-riddled.  All scarred up from beating up on other cats.  I'd just gotten done dealing with an extremely nasty old tom with half and ear and a scarred up face and one withered up useless foreleg, who stared at me with contempt like he fully expected me to chase him down and kick the snot out of him.  Clearly he didn't know me.  At first, of course, the black and white cat fought with our two brothers, Larry and Moe.  I had to put a boot between them a few times.  Nobody is allowed to beat up on Larry and Moe.  Sorry, guy.  Eventually he was slinking up to the kibble bowl with just a few throaty growls.  And then he was just there.  I had three cats howling around my feet every evening, instead of two.

I name critters. It's a bad habit of mine.  Early on I decided he looked like a Carlos.  He had that little chin beard going on.  "He looks Mexican," I declared, which is silly, I know, because I don't even know anybody Mexican, how the heck would I know?  I just felt like if he were to speak English to me, he'd sound like Antonio Banderas!  



Handsome little devil, and very charming and affectionate. Right?

My friend Susan, excellent riding coach/ slick graphic designer,  pretty much read my mind.  YES this is what I see when I look at this cat!!!


So, we had Larry, Carlos, and Moe.






I had my suspicions about this cat.  He wasn't your typical stray.  He was not wild.  I don't know when it happened, but he was under my hands and under my feet and if I ever sat down, this cat was in my lap.  He didn't leave the barn like the brothers, which makes me think he'd been a failed house cat.  I figure when he turned from a cute kitten to a young tom cat, somebody didn't feel like spending the money having a vet do something about those little fuzzynuts, and took the cat for a little drive in the country.  After scrapping with a few unfriendly critters along the way, he ended up here.  Lucky guy. 


Carlos was a huge vet bill waiting to happen.  How many times did I wish I could bring him into the house, but first he'd need to be neutered, and he had a nasty sneezy snotty nose problem, he hwarfed up his dinner occasionally, and he seemed to have had a broken pelvis at some point.  

Barn cats aren't pets, even if they're tame.  It isn't always practical or realistic or even smart to spend hundreds of dollars on vet care for a cat that might up and leave in a couple weeks.  Or up and die.  I can't spend hundreds of dollars on a sick barn cat.  I have to pay for hay.  I have to buy winter boots for my teenage son.  I have to buy groceries.  Our barn cats are not typical, because they're neutered and they've been to the vet and get rabies shots.  Having only two of them makes a difference.  We do our best to keep them healthy but a lot of it is out of our control.  This is what I tell myself to make myself feel better.  That at least Carlos had a pretty happy life for the half a year he took up residence at the Ol Homestead.  




Well, Larry and Moe are happy and healthy, catching mice, eating cheap kibble, cuddling up on the saddle racks.  Lucy the Psychotic House Cat has been slightly less insane lately.  And for the last month or so, a massive shiny pure black cat has been slinking up to the kibble bowl... 


12 comments:

Auntie said...

Aww, Heidi ... now that brings a tear to my eye that Carlos was probably a failed housecat. How lucky for him that he ended up at your place.

Scott McLean said...

oh i'm sorry he's not with you now. there's a cat here that shows up and it's a dancing/tripping cat, well, it runs in front of our feet tries to trip us (out of love) and then dances around on the ground. i have a theory of this but it's somewhat paranormal. lol

Laura said...

awww, poor Carlos... At least he had a few good months with you guys.

Undercover Sandy Cove-r said...

Sorry to hear about Carlos. He's over the rainbow bridge and hob-nobbing with his brethren. Good that her had you guys for at least a few months.

Undercover Sandy Cove-r said...

Oh and there are plenty of cats around Sandycove that need a home so if anyone if inclined...

Heidi the Hick said...

I was thinking about all those homeless cars actually...!

I'm afraid it wouldn't take much to tip me over the edge into full-on Crazy Cat Lady.

mugwump said...

Carlos' story is fair warning for the city folk that think, This cat isn't working out, I'll dump him in the country where he'll be happy.
I read once the life expectancy of a feral cat is about 2 1/2 years. Carlos was lucky.

Heidi the Hick said...

Exactly. We live on a highway and it's too easy for a cat to get killed on the road. Our guys, who grew up here, actually look both ways before they cross the road. Can you imagine a cat who lived in a house for his first year?

I'm glad he showed up here. He got a good deal compared to some.

Cowgirl in Training said...

I understand you perfectly, I would have done the same and written the same. Even if we like to, unless we suddenly become billionaires, we can't save them all. But it sounds like he knew that he had come to a place there he at was better treated then he was before and that's why he stayed with you! :-D

Heidi Willis said...

I don't for a second believe you were more annoyed at his showing up than already giving up a bit of your heart to him on the spot.

I love reading about your barn cats. They live better lives than a lot of house pets I know. And Carlos seems like he got the best of a lot of worlds - food, love, shelter, company, and the chance to be just a bit wild.

I'm sorry for your loss. No matter how they come or go from your life, or how long they're there, it still hurts when they leave.

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