Monday late afternoon the cats were lounging on the porch.  I wanted them to come in for the night so I grabbed Powder and hauled her inside.  I went back for Riley but he looked away from me and obviously didn’t want me to pick him up.  I told him, “Fine.  Stay out here then.”  He’s my cat that always wants to be outside and has spent most of his life spending the nights outside.

I didn’t know that it was the last time I’d see him.

I started to worry when he didn’t want in Tuesday morning.  I was panicking by Tuesday night.  There were neighborhood searches and signs put up.  I have a theory about what happened to him but without a body there is no proof.  I’m sure he’s dead.  This isn’t a house cat who goes outside and gets scared and hides.

Cats that go outside don’t die of old age usually.  I know that and have experienced that often while sharing my life with barn cats but this death hurt extra.  He was my lover boy who always wanted a cuddle.  We are hysterical and devastated.  There has been sobbing all week.  Powder is clearly grieving.  She took care of him from the time he was 6 weeks old.  Nine years later she still sniffed him when he came in from outside and would give him a cuff upside the head if she didn’t approve of where he’d been.

We still automatically check the patio doors when we walk into the room to make sure he isn’t asking to come in.  It is a jolt every time he isn’t there and we remember all over again.

It’s taken me this long to be able to write this without getting hysterical and there aren’t any pictures because I can’t face that yet.  Maybe later.