Late this afternoon I heard a strange repeated cat cry, which led me to the East Orchard, where Sterling, my very white cat, was lying on the very green grass, his pupils slitted with pain, his tongue and gums not so red as they should have been. It was obvious that whatever it was was really bad, so I scooped him in a towel and rushed him to the vet five minutes away. He died on the way in.
Sterling was coming up on his fourth birthday. We don’t know the exact date because we got him when he was about six months old. He had moved out of the barn where he was born and was living under a pull-behind camper in a machine shed a mile or two from here. A nice older gentleman was living in the camper, feeding Sterling venison burgers and cans of tuna, but he was going in for hip surgery soon, and Sterling would not be able to go with him. The gentleman saw my poster for a lost cat and called me from the pay phone at the gas station. He said, “I don’t have your cat, but I have another little one you might like.”
I did like him. He had a funny double-strike meow, and he got to be great friends with the other junior cat in our extensive pride. That fellow, John-Paul, looked on in great concern as Sterling lay crying in the field, and had to be shooed out of the way as we rushed off to the vet. Of us all, I feel the worst for him.