Seven years ago, when we bought this campground, we discovered that a cat came with it. She simply showed up one day about six years before we came along. I think she was a Blue Russian. She was a bit aloof and at first would only allow me to pet her when I would put her food out. As our first winter winds started to blow I worried about her being outside. She refused to come inside, but she did allow me to pick her up and hold her.
She was quite independent and caught her own food. She seemed to like birds the best, but she was also a good mouser. I lined an old hooded litter box with a wool blanket and she began spending her nights and nap times in there. I was resigned to her not taking me up on my offer to come inside.
We would wonder, from time to time, just how old she might be. She must have been spayed, because she never had any kittens. But, like most proud females, she kept her age a secret. No tell-tell signs of gray ........ she already had gray fur.
Last winter was extreme and she finally decided to come live inside. Only at night. She began depending on the catfood I gave her as the main part of her diet and bird feathers no longer appeared on the front porch. I still kept her food outside to prevent the dogs from eating it and witnessed her sharing it with an old possum. The older she got the more docile she became. She would hop into my lap if I sat on the front porch and purr contentedly.
For the past few months, she preferred the indoors and seemed to be fading away. She was losing weight, not matter how often I would feed her. I resorted to offering special treats to her. She loved canned tuna and she snacked on dog food when ever she found the bowl without canine presence. When I held her she felt like just skin and bones. But she still purred contentedly. I knew she was not going to be with us much longer.
I did not see her yesterday morning when I went outside. I didn't see her all afternoon. She would usually come to the store door and slip in with a customer. Late yesterday afternoon, after closing the store, I decided to walk out to the barn with the new puppy. He is like a baby, motion will put him to sleep.
I saw the still form of the old gray cat right under the front of my car. She looked like she was catching a nap. I called out "kitty, kitty" and she did not move. She looked like she simply lay down and went to sleep for the last time. Still, I was sad that she died all alone.
She had a proper burial and I called the only other person who loved her as much as I did. Debbie had renamed her Smokey and we both were sad, but Deb reminded me that Spooky/Smokey had a really good life. Still, it was sad not to see her on the porch this morning.