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Marmelade, the best, smartest, friendliest cat I've ever known died
today, hit by a car.
He was a feral we'd coaxed into spending more time with us to have a
professional mouser around. For at least three years he lived in the
general vicinity - from the first year, watching us occasionally from
the other side of the lawn at evening and stealing a few bites from the
bowl of food we left out, to the third when he started living regularly
on the porch and decided humans in general must all be great and
wonderful and he'd hop onto the lap of complete strangers who'd just
shown up. He wasn't quite tame enough for us to get him to the vet
before he came down with FIV last spring, which he survived, but it took
a lot out of him; he spent most of the summer sleeping on the porch. By
autumn he was coming inside the house and managed a vet visit, and he
spent a fair amount of the winter inside, either curled up by the fire
or watching the snow and ice with a depressed and frustrated look.
He was really happy to see the thaw. He'd taken up the habit of coming
in for dinner, lounging around a bit, then coming to find me, jumping on
my lap, purring really loud and getting petted thoroughly, then suddenly
up and off to the door and start the night's hunting. He was regularly
bringing back mice in the morning, most of which he ate on the porch
after being congratulated.
He'd never shown any interest in roads before, and there was plenty of
territory for him to cover without needing to go near it. Once, he'd
accompanied me on a walk partway around the property, and just stopped
and watched the trucks going past the way one zones out in front of a
TV. We thought he knew better.
We hadn't seen him all day. I had an errand to run this evening and
before getting in the car, figured - I'll go check the road, make sure
there's no smashed cat anywhere. I had that thought, being quite sure
there'd be nothing. Not so.
He was orange and white, and really big. He had only a stump of a tail
- whether he'd lost it somehow or it was a birth defect, we were never
sure, but he was never sensitive about it, and except for chasing it
(too short for that, and maybe why he absolutely loved to play with the
string we gave him) he'd use it the way any cat would use a tail. His
purring in general was something to hear - you could be halfway across
the room and you'd hear him clearly. He liked people. He liked other
cats, even if they didn't like him. We don't happen to have any dogs
but I expect he could've come to terms with one if needed. He was
exceedingly polite and careful, and when rules were made clear to him,
took care to obey them. I suppose everybody says this about their pet,
but there won't be another like him.
I want to do things to that road and the people who use it, things which
if I were specific I'd get a police visit. I'm not going to do them.
But I want to.
I miss you, my friend.
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