Life on the farm is good and bad. Happy and sad. The cycle of life. This weekend, we said goodbye to our farm cat, Mr. Dude.
A couple of years after we moved in, we were having issues with animals under the house. We hired someone to plug up the holes and set traps to make sure no creature was left under the house. One day while he was working, he called me over and pointed the flashlight under the house. There were two identical cat faces, one big and one small. Not long afterwards, in the live trap was the little one. I put on leather gloves and was the first person to ever touch this hissing and spitting ball of fur. Those of you that know me realize I love reactions like that! I put him in our shop to get used to us and starting calling him Little Dude.
With time, his name changed to Mr. Dude or just Dude. He was a good hunter but not too fond of people. Even though he was neutered, he tended to get into fights and would lose. I cannot tell you how many times over the years we took him to the vet to get patched up, usually for abbesses. A few years after joining our farm, he disappeared for a number of days. When he finally showed up, he was a mess! His back right leg was pulled out of the socket and split open from thigh to heal. A front foot had a mangled toe, that had to be amputated. The vet was confident that he would heal well so we spent a lot of money to patch him up and put in a lot of effort to keep him quiet while he recovered
As he aged, he got into fewer fights and slowly became more friendly–to me. He was one of those cats that craved attention, but only on his terms. He loved to butt me with his head, almost knocking me over if I were bent down. He also escorted me to the food dish a number of times a day, whenever he could see the bottom of the dish.
The past year or so he started to show his age and the wear and tear from all his fights. He stayed closer to home, most days greeting me at the garage and escorting me to the barn to the food dish. As the weather cooled this winter, he spent a lot of time in the garage and often begged to come in the house, something he has never done in his nearly 12 years with us. I think it was because he was not well and had lost a lot of weight and was looking for some place warm. So for the last few weeks of his life, I kept him in the heated greenhouse where is was above freezing and safe. The poor old guy stopped eating and faded away.
I will miss his quiet presence and my daily escorts to the barn. I will miss you Mr. Dude. Goodbye, sweetheart.