Lou, brother of Li, son of Li-lou, left us yesterday. Not by choice. He was only 10 months old.
He had been hit by a car--we think. Usually he showed up every morning on the back doorstep, to eat, and spent a lot of time in our backyard--sitting on the bench with his brother Li, in the little bed we made for them in the shed, climbing the branches, or scampering across the roof chasing butterflys. He and Li were inseparable, since birth. They'd sleep beside each other, wrapped in each others' arms. They'd wash and groom one another.
We watched them grow up, so to speak--how they first figured out how to get down from the top of the tall cedar tree, navigated the pointy fence top, saw their first bumblebee. They loved the snow, thought it was the greatest thing ever. The very first big snowfall they were scampering out in it, burying their nose in it, chasing each other across the snowbanks, I never saw cats who took to snow like that before. Lou was the quieter of the two, the one more gentle, more shy. He had the most amazing green eyes. Two unexpected little permanent visitors. They played with our cats. We had unofficially adopted them, making arrangements to get them vaccinated and spayed, after not being able to find a home for them. The local SPCA is inundated with unwanted cats, some of whom are still sitting there, waiting for adoption, after four months. In the meanwhile, we'd become attached to them, and they, to us.
It was odd yesterday morning when Lou hadn't shown up to eat. Later, I went out looking for him, and discovered him curled up in the box in the shed. He didn't seem himself. When I put food in front of him, he was totally uninterested. When I picked him up, he seemed limp and lethargic. He had trouble standing up, walked all wobbly and with difficulty. There was something definitely wrong with him.
We took him to the vet and there was only bad news. There was a cut deep inside his mouth and blood in his tongue, the x-ray showed a twisted misalignment and serious fracture at the back, and he was bleeding internally, caused, the vet surmised, by blunt trauma. Possibly hit by a car, he said. But when had it happened?! That morning? We were up by 6:00 AM and heard and saw nothing. The night before? How many hours had he been lying in the shed until I found him? It was unbearable that he should have had to suffer like that. But the worst news was yet to come--even an emergency operation, costing thousands of dollars, couldn't guarantee he'd be saved, be without pain or ever be all right again.
It all seemed to have happened so fast--a familiar little face every day for months and months, and all of a sudden ... he's gone. Just like that. His absence seems to have affected his brother Li as well; he seems to spend a lot of time now searching the woods for something. Last evening he didn't even play with the other cats, just sat there in the grass, as if waiting for someone.
Babies Lou and Li resting in the carport, last autumn
you beautiful, gentle, wonderful little friend
Ain't the same around here without you no more