L to R: Rags and Midnight
Rags, the cat on the left, was killed by a fox in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
When I called the cats for breakfast on Tuesday morning, he was missing. I worried and called for him on and off all day and when he still didn’t show up for dinner, I got very anxious.
A neighbor called me Tuesday night to say that the guys working on the golf course before daybreak that morning, told her they had seen a fox grab the cat.
“NO!” “NO!” “NO!”
As I left for the gym that Tuesday morning about 6:45, I saw that fox run across the road in front of me… NEVER dreaming he had just killed my cat!
I had read a couple of years ago, that foxes didn’t bother cats as they didn’t think it was worth getting scratched up. But, I guess if a cat got scared by the mowers and started running across the golf course, the fox would give chase. I’ve watched those foxes run at lightning speed and scale 10-foot walls, so I know they could catch a cat if they decided to.
Since December of 2009, I have trapped seven cats that people have dumped in the neighborhood, in what the organization, Alley Cat Allies, calls the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. They have all been taken to the vet to get examined, neutered/spayed, and given vaccines. They have also had their left ear tipped to let others know that they have been neutered. After their vet visit, I bring them back to my yard and feed them twice a day. Even when I go out of town, I hire someone to feed them.
I love them as much as I love any of my pets. When they stay in the yard, I feel thankful. When they wonder off, I get scared.
Rags has been a little “live-wire” since he showed up two and a half years ago. He was very skinny and his coat was a shambles, hence his name. The entire time we had Rags, he would show up once or twice a week with a new sore on his neck, ears, back or legs. None of the other cats has any marks, so I have never figured out how Rags kept getting injured.
My Q-tip and Neosporin were used as often as I could do a sneak rub to his sores while he was eating.
Rags loved to be physically close to other cats (not to humans) and when he first came, he started following the other cats around. They did not like it one bit, and I heard a lot of cat screaming. I don’t think they ever attacked each other, but there was always a lot of commotion.
After a couple of months, Midnight, who is pretty calm and laid back, began to let Rags follow him around. So, for two years, they were basically always together. They traveled as a pair. They rubbed heads whenever they saw each other. They slept together.
Midnight seems bereft and I’m sure he misses his companion tremendously. We have a new young cat, Pepper, who ran up to Midnight today and rubbed heads, like he was consoling him. Maybe he can help ease his loneliness.
One Thanksgiving the weather turned cold, and Rags and Midnight disappeared. I feared the worst as they were gone for nearly two weeks. One morning I got a call from a neighbor about a 15-minute walk away, who had seen the cats.
I couldn’t believe it and grabbed some food and water and drove over to see if I could find them.
There they were! I was so happy. I gave them their food and water and then wondered how I would ever get them home.
I went home and grabbed more food and talked my husband into driving me back over to find them. I called them and shook their food and they actually began to follow me.
It took 30-minutes as they were very slow and cautious, but they followed me all the way home!
One early morning as I was taking my dog for a walk, I kept hearing loud meowing. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from as it was dark. We continued on our walk and when we got back it was light enough to see. There was Rags up in a tree!
He must have outwitted the fox or coyote who chased him that morning, and was able to get up the tree. However, he went so high up that he couldn’t come down.
I spent the whole day trying to figure out how to get him.
I called the fire department and they said if he was still up there after 5:00, they would see what they could do.
In the meantime, I asked my wonderful neighbor, Jami, to help me. We carried a big, heavy painter’s ladder from her garage to the tree. But, it was no where near high enough!
Rags in the large circle
I called a tree trimmer who came out, and after looking over the situation, said he couldn’t go up there as the cat would probably scratch him.
I called a second tree trimmer who came out. He wasn’t afraid and climbed right up. However, by the time he got close to the cat, Rags got scared and jumped. My goodness, he landed on his feet and took off running as fast as his little legs could carry him.
He stayed gone two days before he showed back up for dinner.
Another morning, I went out to feed the cats and Rags was really hobbling. He had a big sore on his leg and I called the vet who said it sounded like a serious infection and I should try to catch him and bring him in.
That was not going to be an easy chore.
It was cold and he was feeling so bad that he went into his cat house on my porch. I ran and found a piece of cardboard just the right size and held it over the door. Then I had to dial Jami once again, with one hand. I told her to wear a coat and gloves as we were going to have to try to get Rags into the large dog kennel as I had to take him to the vet.
He was so scared, he just huddled in the back of his house and we ended up having to turn him upside down and shake the house to get him into the crate.
After his trip to the vet, I was supposed to keep him contained for at least two weeks until he could put weight on his leg again.
I put him in the garage and added another carrier to his, so he could now have a “double wide.” He mainly sat on his cushion for the first week, since he still felt bad.
I would go out and talk to him two or three times a day, trying to get him to be comfortable with me.
Eventually his leg healed, and I released him. Midnight was so glad to have him back!
So many memories with this black live wire. I’m so sorry to lose him.
Sitting here finding these memories has taken the edge off of his loss for a while. It’s nice to be able to think of all the memories he brought.
L to R: Rags and Midnight on top of table; Pepper on the ground.
L to R: Midnight, Pepper and Rags
RIP my sweet little baby. We all miss you!