Tuesday, November 29, 2016


About twenty five years ago, a friend told me that his sister-in-law was despondent because she had lost her cat.  I was not a cat owner at the time.  When the friend went on about how the sister-in-law had become so sad about the loss, I said to my friend, "Hey, it's a cat."

Thirteen or fourteen years ago, Donna came home with a kitten. It was a tiny thing. A friend had told her there was a litter, and we had talked some about getting a pet, so she drove up the north shore and came back with this cat who had been placed in a carton box for the drive. I was watching a football game when she returned and was essentially on my back in the recliner.  Donna dropped the cat on my chest and went out to buy stuff for the critter. He was so small and hardly moving. There was such little motion that at one point I thought the guy had died on my chest.

In my family we never had pets growing up and I had my doubts about whether being a pet owner would be a positive experience.  In no time, however, I became very attached.  He was an orange and white long hair so we called him, very appropriately, Pumpkin.

Had you told me two months or two years or twenty years before Donna kerplunked Pumpkin on my chest that I would have become enamored with a cat I would not have bought it.  But enamored I became.  I enjoyed hanging with the guy and found him to be a terrific companion.  Once when I was sick and Donna out of town, he popped up on the bed and hung out with me all night as if he knew I could use a looking after.

Like me, Pumpkin was fairly autonomous.  We decided to allow him to be an outdoor cat, and the Pump reveled in the freedom. He would scamper out in the most awful weather. We'd see him climbing trees, chasing squirrels, rolling around on the sidewalk.  When he was out at night, he typically returned around 10.  A few times he hit the late bars causing no small amount of angst in our quarters, but then he would show up in the wee hours walking back as if to say, "Whaddaya worrying about.  I'm fine."

On Saturday afternoon we picked up the Pump from the cat hotel where he was lodging while we went to eat turkey in Philadelphia.  He was his normal self on Saturday, bouncing around the house when he returned, scarfing down his special food, meowing to get out or have us turn the water on in the bathroom,so he could drink by the sink.

Sunday morning was the same routine. Tough to drink my coffee and read the paper with the guy meowing requesting this or that.  Sunday night at around 6 Donna let him out while I was watching the Patriots play at a local tavern.  We would let the guy out as late as 9 since he always came home. I've let him out as late as 10.

When I returned around 630 Donna asked me if I had seen him in the driveway. I had not.  Around 9 we began to worry as he had not eaten in a spell. At 11 we walked the neighborhood with a flashlight. Then again at 1 am.

The Pump is still not back. I came home early yesterday, Monday, figuring for sure he would be on the side porch waiting to get in.  No Pump.  The food we left out for him was untouched.  When I saw the full bowl on the porch my heart sank.

The guy is probably gone.  Even if he is not, he has to eat special food, so if someone found him and is feeding him, he will be sick soon enough.  We have posters and put the guy's mug on facebook.  No news.

The Pump was a great cat.  Wherever you are, we miss you, little guy.  If you are near a computer give us a ping.

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