October has been a pretty rough month here at the Fraudulent Farmstead, not least because we said good bye to our sweet stray cat, Lou.
Lou first showed up about six years ago. I had started putting food out for another stray, but Lou moved right in, hunkered down, and made himself at home. He lived in a little blue house on the front porch, ignored any number of squirrels, possums, and—on a few occasions, raccoons—that helped themselves to his food, and generally lived the life of Riley.
It took a while for Lou to warm up to me, but once he did, he was aggressively affectionate. He enjoyed supervising my work in the garden, occasionally squirming directly under my arm to make sure I paid attention to him. Other times, he’d flop down a few feet away to observe.
Lou could pick the sound of my car out of anyone else parking on the street. Even if he were three houses away (patrolling his territory), he’d come running to the curb to meet me.
When I first met Lou, he was a big, talkative, schmoozy cat. The last few months, he had lost a lot of weight, and he was starting to move as if he ached. I wanted to spare him pain, and we tried to get a vet to come to the house to put him to sleep. (We didn’t want to freak him out be trying to transport him.) But a home visit was crazy expensive.
In the end, Ginny and I padded the cat crate with blankets and gently set him inside. I left the top open so he could look around and I could pet him on the way to the vet. The fact that he didn’t fuss at being handled confirmed just how bad he felt.
We stroked him as the vet injected him, and he seemed relieved to go. When we stepped outside of the office, tears streaming down our faces, we saw a brilliant rainbow—which of course, just redoubled my tears.
It’s two weeks later, and I still expect to see him every time I park the car. It’s just not the same at the Farmstead without his grey and white form meeting me at the curb.
Our other cats came to us because we chose them. But Lou came to us because he sized us up and decided we were a good bet. So Louie, thanks for choosing us to be your people. We miss you, and we love you.