Roscoe is gone.
I came home one evening, when it was still light out, and found that Roscoe wasn’t in the house. I called him to no avail. Since it was a rainy and windy night, I thought he’d be home soon, but he wasn’t. I was up most of the night, calling his name with increasing desperation in the stormy darkness, but he never came home.
Roscoe was the most skittish cat I have ever met, reacting instantly to the slightest noise. He was smart, fast, athletic – he could climb trees in seconds, and do a mouse drive by in less time than that – and invisible in the darkness in his inky black fur. He grew up here in these woods. It seems all the odds were in his favor, and I never thought this would happen to him.
Rob helped me search all the sheds and outbuildings, as well as the logging road and the Ridge. He told me that the logging companies have been working on the haul roads around here, and between that and the drought, it has flushed out many creatures like foxes and wildcats, who probably took my beloved boy.
Rob told me that you have to feel your feelings and take it a day at a time. It is amazing what a huge hole one feather-light, stealthy cat can leave in your heart and your house, which suddenly seems empty with only two cats in it.
It’s especially painful since Roscoe really blossomed over the past few months, sitting on my lap every morning and often in the evening as well. He maintained his Mysterious Mr. Roscoe way of slinking around the house and being super skittish, but he was more openly affectionate than ever. He slept with me every night, and one of my greatest pleasures was smelling his strangely rough, yet soft fur, which had a unique scent of piney woods and warm Roscoe. He had an inherent dignity in everything he did, and I always felt like it was an honor to be part of his world. His loss is almost unbearable, and I’m spending a lot of time crying in the car and coaching myself to keep it together at work, at least on the outside.
I don’t know how to get through this. And I don’t know how to live with the new and terrifying knowledge that something terrible can happen to my few remaining cats in the daytime. When the Beautiful June Bug vanished on the night of my birthday several years ago, I naturally assumed it was the monsters in the darkness that stole her away, and if I kept the remaining cats inside during darkness, they would be fine. Since that is not true, or is no longer true, I don’t know how to find peace with the knowledge that when I pet them goodbye in the morning, I may be petting them goodbye forever. How do cops’ wives do it?
I also feel like I failed June and Roscoe and that I am a terrible pet parent. My cats’ survival rate is 50% at this point. Not getting any more cats after Clyde and Audrey leave my life (may those horrible events be many years away and be peaceful, please) would be a solution, but a catless life is a sad thing to contemplate. As usual in life and death, there are no good answers.
And now there’s no Roscoe, either.
A YEAR AGO: I had all three cats. The Christmas tree was up and there was some weather coming.