Our barn cats are regular as clocks when it comes to meal time. When White Cat didn't appear for supper Thursday night we thought it odd. Missing bedtime snacks was alarming. We opened garage doors, workshop doors, shed doors thinking he might have gotten shut in somewhere. Nothing. Friday we hunted the hay mows, ditches and under shelves and feed racks in the barns. Friday night at midnight we found him in the hay mow of the sheep barn in one of the places we had already looked. He was reluctant to move, but not in obvious distress or pain. He purred and was happy to be fussed over. A big soft towel in the cat carrier and a bowl of water and a few hours spent in Andy's heated shop tided him over until seeing the vet in the morning. A careful exam revealed a broken canine tooth and a wildly displaced hip. White Cat had been hit by a car, the first here in nearly 20 years. We decided to sedate him for replacement of the hip, give supportive care and take a wait and see attitude. He continued to decline over the weekend and it became clear that there were internal injuries that were going to cause his death. We opted for euthansia and his doctor eased him into the next life with petting and assurances that he was a good kitty.
Although neutered, vaccinated and fed as well as any house cat, our barn cats do face perils. The road is something we have no control over. Where had he been from Thursday mid-day to Friday midnight? How had he heroically made his way back home despite grievous injury? I'm very grateful he made it to us so that we'd know what had become of him. I'm glad we could help him go gently to his inevitable end. Although we sure didn't need another barn cat, I'm really glad this fat, happy white cat adopted us. I'm sorry we didn't have him longer.
We'll miss you, White Cat.