|Birth: ||Jun. 27, 2000|
|Death: ||Nov. 20, 2001|
"But sometimes, it just breaks your heart." ~ Dr Richard Orzeck, Veterinarian friend in Trumansburg, NY, USA - Author of Sometimes It Breaks Your Heart
Craig and I had been trying to trap Boopsie, one of the female feral kittens who was born four to five weeks before we'd moved back to Louisiana. She was the last of the three in her birth litter to be altered. I had trapped her before, but she was right at delivery so I reluctantly released her. The following day, June 27, 2000, she delivered. She was barely 4 months old when she became pregnant.
She brought out her babies for the first time that I knew about on July 26, 2000 while I was mowing. I immediately stopped as soon as I saw them - four tiny four week old kittens - one male, three female. I scooped them up (yeah, right - it took me nearly three hours to get all four "scooped" up) and brought them inside. Late that same evening, little Boopsie walked back into the trap for spaying, just a tad over six months old.
Boopsie disappeared from our feral colony in August 2001. Her mother, Teresa, disappeared in March 2001. It hurts so terribly to lose any of them.
The first kitten waddled straight up to me, no fear in his eyes at all. He was a tiny blob of smudgy black fur. I named him Smut. The other three kittens were Toffee, a lovely cream dilute tabby, and two almost identical gray and black striped tabbies, Spic and Span.
George, Boopsie's brother, must have gotten to Boopsie just before he was trapped for neutering. Spic and Span were his spitting image. Toffee's father was Samson. Smut's father was Sylvester, the dominant male of our feral colony, who was VERY trap shy, but I managed to get him trapped late September, 2000. Syl became a wonderful semi-tame feral who we called our patio cat.
Smut was into everything, the ringleader of the group - those four kittens were a handful. Smut was simply a fearless little tyke. Our sweet JacquiLee immediately took all four under her wing. She groomed them, disciplined them, slept with them, and pretty much shared her space with them.
All of the kittens became, of course, house cats. We hand-raised them indoors since the day we took them from Boopsie. On occasion we let our cats outdoors for supervised outings. They love the outdoors and chase and play even after they become full-grown cats.
That year we were extremely cautious about letting Smut outside. Smut was a beautiful all-black cat with dark yellow eyes that appeared pumpkin-colored in some light, and the fears of the Halloween season came down heavily on us. Beginning in mid-September, we made absolutely sure that we didn't take him outside at all without both of us present until the middle of November.
But Tuesday evening, November 20, 2001, tragedy and great fear struck at our door and into our hearts. All the Kiddens were in the kitchen eating their supper. Craig opened the den door with an armload of trash. Somehow without our knowledge, Smut managed to follow Craig and raced out the door. I thought I saw a black blur shoot past Craig and I ran past Craig screaming Smut's name. I saw him as he leaped our cyclone fence. It was dark and though we searched and called for over an hour before Craig went to bed, I kept at it until well after 2:00 the following morning. In the subsequent days, we knocked on every door within a three mile radius, tromped through woods and fields, climbed fences and checked in backyards, around barns and stables, and under and around storage buildings, decks, porches, etc. - no one would admit to catching a glimpse of him.
Smut was overly-friendly. His meeting no strangers was our worst nightmare. He could easily be lured to come to strangers with tidbits of food. At the time, our neighborhood wasn't kind to animals, especially cats; in fact, we had an old cretin (since deceased) who openly discussed trapping cats, hauling them to parts unknown and dumping them. Of course, he emphatically denied ever laying eyes on our little Smut.
All those days of searching - nothing, nada, zilch, zip. It was like Smut had never existed. There were flyers on every post and pole in a three mile radius of our home, I questioned people in our area daily, I stopped what I was doing during the day and searched for blocks, sometimes miles, at least twice a day. I continued doing this for five years as the gaping tear in my heart grew bigger and bigger. I couldn't stop crying. If tears could have brought him back, he would be paddling home in my own right this moment.
Don't let anyone ever tell you that a well-trained house cat can't and won't escape. It happens every day - just one "accident," one tiny bit of inattentiveness and a cat is gone, perhaps forever.
Prayer to St Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats
St Gertrude, keep my cat all night
From trap or poison, thorn or bite,
From speeding cars and thieving men,
And bring him safely home again. Amen.
St Gertrude, former Abbess of Nivelles, Belgium died in 659 and is patron saint of cats, gardeners, and travellers. She may also be invoked by persons against mental illness and those fearful of mice. While never formally canonized, Pope Clement XII declared her universal feast day to be March 17th in 1677.
IMPORTANT: The time frame of six to eight weeks before Halloween each year is extremely dangerous for all animals, but especially so for cats ... even more frighteningly dangerous should your cat be black. Please, PLEASE take a few moments each day taking additional precautions to make sure your cat(s) or other pet(s) is/are safe during the holiday season. Follow and promote safety precautions for animals, especially black cats and dogs, during the Halloween season and throughout the year.
FancyBoy Stallings Dog (1973 - 1983)
JoJo Stallings Dog (1967 - 1983)*
Cuddles Stallings Bachman Cat (1984 - 2000)*
Kaitong Chang Stallings Bachman Cat (1984 - 1998)*
Danielle Stallings Bachman Cat (1985 - 2005)*
Spook Stallings Bachman Cat (1987 - 2000)*
Missy Hedge Cat (1991 - 2003)*
Samson Bachman Cat (1992 - 2002)*
Sylvester Bachman Cat (1992 - 2008)*
Autumn Bachman Stallings Cat (1994 - 2009)*
Lucky Jax Stallings Bachman Cat (1994 - 2005)*
Goblin Bachman Cat (1995 - 2009)*
JacquiLee Bachman Cat (1995 - 2002)*
Tigger Bachman Cat (1997 - 2005)*
Midnight Bachman Cat (1998 - 2009)*
RedBoy Bachman Cat (1999 - 2000)*
Smut Bachman Cat (2000 - 2001)
Breeze Bachman Cat (2000 - 2011)*
Spic Bachman Cat (2000 - 2012)*
Susie The Cat (2000 - 2002)*
Princess Bachman Dog (2000 - 2008)*
Puglena Bachman Dog (2001 - 2014)*
Rebel Bachman Cat (2004 - 2004)*
Skeeter Bachman Cat (2004 - 2004)*
Cheerio Bachman Cat (2005 - 2014)*
Li'l Craigster The Squirrel (2013 - 2013)*
Body lost or destroyed
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Jan 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104040953