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...