The Blood

Posted: August 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

I grew up on the north side of a suburb of Madison.  Across the street was an un-tilled area of farmland; far too swampy to be worthwhile.  The road we lived on was gravel, and there were four houses in our neighborhood; it was several years before the suburb actually enveloped us, and we had suburban amenities like roads and sidewalks.

In fact, the road was a surprisingly straight and level stretch of pavement, and although we saw little actual drag racing, there were plenty of dipshits willing to wind their 4-4-2s and Trans Ams up into long speeds.

Between the exurban locale and the Road, we had hit-or-miss luck with pets.  Yes, I totally mean that pun. Sometimes an animal would just not come back.

And Wife Sublime had a similar experience; she grew up on a full-fledged farm; livestock were an investment; cats and dogs were either useful, or ignored; there was no such things as pets.  Often, she says, they would lose a less-agile cat who was dozing underneath a cow, when the cow would lay down.  You would be surprised how little time it takes a cow to lay down.

So when it comes down to it, we are not unfamiliar with the demise of the animals who have allowed themselves to be domesticated.  In particular, cats who spend time outdoors are subject to all kinds of ends.
When we first set up housekeeping, Wife Sublime and I, after a bit of discussion, got a couple of farm kittens.  She wasn’t in favor.  But we got them anyway, and named them Corbu and Attila (later shortened to Tiller).  Total house cats, and Tiller lived to be 20 or something.  Here, take a look:

After Corbu had a spinal tumor, we got Toby; Tiller never really got used to the new cat.  eventually, Tiller also passed away, and we were left with Toby and Lucy, the Orange, Leaky-Ass dog:

Toby, a rescue cat, never agreed to be limited to the house.  He insisted on going out, even during snow and rainy days; and he teamed up with Lucy to split the seams of a wide variety of small critters that wandered through our yard.  Of course, I am the one who cleaned up the blood and entrails.  Toby seemed particular to the brains and the other tender elements of the skulls, and left the rest to Lucy; for her part, Lucy seemed perfectly willing to let Toby have first pick.

Toby went out for a walk Sunday and has not come back.

I hope he might come back so we can share a nap again, but I am not optimistic  Outdoor cats have shorter lives, that’s the way it is.

Caturday may be a bit hard this week.




A charcoal/ conte crayon drawing I did of one of Toby’s eyes a while back:


  1. mikey says:

    If you never stop fighting, you cannot lose.

    Eventually, the universe tells you when it’s time to rest.

    You Charley Mike, mi amigo, and know you were a good friend.

  2. Roger that mikey. Stubborn is what I do. I learnt it from my mother.

  3. but I will probably need you to weigh in on my questionable musical comments tomorrow, so stop by.

  4. O it just comes up on the iPod, but it feels so right. Slobberbone, doing “Get Gone Again”:

    Road rashed, run down, wrinkled from the rain
    The song in my heart makes just one sound,
    But I sing along just the same
    And I wonder how long I’ll hang around
    Before I go insane
    Before I break down
    And get gone again

    And it makes no difference
    what you thought you came here for
    Any plans that you might have had; swept right out the door
    And it makes no difference how hard you think you’ve tried,
    Cause what you’ll find out in the end is that its just a lie
    There’ve been girls that loved me,
    But I cheated on them,
    With a woman named Whiskey,
    And Gin, her best friend

    Their affections flow like liquid
    To a thousand other men,
    Who’ll trade loving for liquor;
    Salvation for sin
    Road rashed, run down, wrinkled from the rain
    The song in my heart makes just one sound,
    But I sing along just the same
    And I wonder how long I’ll hang around
    Before I go insane
    Before I break down
    And get gone again

    Of course, I saw them in a small bar downtown, before they broke up and they were loud and sloppy and drunk and awesome (dammit, BBBB! stop cutting me!) I suspect Slobberbone is the soundtrack to sing me to sleep tonight.

  5. Also, that has to be my single favorite Pinko Punko comment EVER. If it didn’t violate the rules, it needs to be in the Words of Wisdom; or somebody more motivated than I am could turn it into a header.

  6. herr doktor bimler says:

    Sending sympathies on behalf of Mrs Spat the half-feral outdoor rescue cat.
    Despite them not living as long as us, and the resulting sadness, I still like to have a cat or two or five around the house. They have their own predatorial way of looking at the world which I get to share sometimes from being in their company. Also I get to look slightly less feral and slightly better-domesticated in comparison.

  7. Good luck with the kitty.

  8. That’s a great picture and here’s hoping Toby comes back.

  9. vacuumslayer says:

    Oh gosh. I’m really sorry to read this. My mother has lost a couple of her outdoor cats and it nearly killed her. I hope he comes back, I really do.

    And I’m with Thunder–great picture.

  10. Never had a pet as a kid, and the view from outside was always wondering about teh connections people make with their companion animals. They’re pets ferchrissakes! Why are you so attached to some dumb animal! Part of teh family, yeah wev.

    Two dogs and two cats later I am hoping teh turtle outlives me.

    So best wishes for Toby and his.

  11. Brando says:

    Hope Toby comes back, ZRM. You can’t have a cat nap without a cat blanket.

  12. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    Hope all turns out well for Toby- it’s hard losing a pet, but the companionship is too meaningful to forgo having one.

    Sending sympathies on behalf of Mrs Spat the half-feral outdoor rescue cat.

    And half grizzly bear, judging by her size.

    Also, nice pic- very candid.

  13. blue girl says:

    Hoping for Toby’s speedy return, Zerm!!

  14. Kathleen says:

    Dude that totally sucks. I’m sorry.

  15. fish says:

    We also had a Toby with a similar living arrangement. It is a pretty good one.

    It is better that he lived well than lived long.

  16. careful, fish, or people will start liking you.

    Thanks for the good wishes everybody.

  17. …also, Toby lived pretty long. As a rescue, we aren’t sure, but the estimate is 12 or 14.

  18. Hope your kitteh shows back up!

    I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time and money on my current dog that we got from Border Collie rescue. He’s had a rough 6 years of life so far of various illnesses (dog breeders are horrible people), but he’s still the happiest guy. We don’t expect him to live all that long, and will be devastated when he’s gone.

    I need to take a break from pets for a while after this — it’s just too damn hard to deal with when they have hard, short lives like this. We figure we’ll pet sit for our friends when they travel for a year or two, then get another dog.

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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