Several times a week, I walk through my quiet Pembroke neighborhood. As I do, I notice several cats. Some look out at me through picture windows. Others I encounter on the street; this one darts away, that one follows me for a bit. These are the outdoor cats, the ones who are free to go inside or out, depending on their whim. My cat, Cheezy, until her unexpected death last month, was one of them.
I can only imagine the last few moments of my cat’s life. After she finished breakfast and I let her out the side door, she probably sat in the carport for a few moments, then padded off to a favorite spot in the backyard, near a fringe of woods. There she might have lingered for an hour, adopting her sphinx pose: body in repose, head erect, tail curled around her, eyes like slits. The day was sunny; she might have closed her eyes when the sun beamed through the tree leaves above. She was most likely at peace.
Then, from nowhere, two dog-like creatures, possibly coyotes, discovered her in the grass. They attacked.
My wife Carolyn, alone in the house around 8:30 that morning, heard what sounded like a monster catfight in the back yard. She saw the dog creatures attacking and our cat trying to fight them off. By the time Carolyn had thrown on some clothes and dashed to the scene, Cheezy’s limp body hung from one of the dog’s mouths. The two dogs loped into the woods, taking our beloved pet with them.
Cheezy, short for Cheez-It, was an outdoor cat, and the land around our house was her natural environment. She had long, silky orange-yellow fur. At her annual visit to the pet groomer’s we always gave her the lion cut; she stalked our lawn like a miniature King of Beasts.