The Universe Gives and Takes

Dear Constant Reader,

I don’t want to write this, but I also need to.

One of the things that made the pandemic bearable was The Boys, Tux and Tom, the bonded feral cats who made our yard home. It brought me a lot of joy to see them. Especially when they snuggled together to nap and happily rolled around in the grass. When Tom was killed by a coyote that joy went away and so did Tux. We were pretty sure we weren’t going to see Tux in our yard again.

Tux did come back and eventually he made a new friend, Lord Julius, who reigned over the Rectory behind us. Julius is a cranky sort and will hiss and smack your hand if you get too close, but somehow Tux won him over. He convinced Julius to hang out in our yard and stay in our shelter. We started calling them The Gentlemen.

At first the friendship seemed grudging on Julius’s part. They often sat at opposite corners of the hot tub (their favorite perch). Eventually, they became closer until they groomed each other and snuggled up together to nap. It made me so happy to see them together.

Tux was also becoming less skittish around me. In the mornings he would be waiting for his breakfast. He would lead me to the feeding station but hang back from the food until I walked away. Lately, if I stood quietly by the food dish, he would overcome his hesitation and eat. I never tried to pet him. Maybe someday we’d reach that level of trust.

Cats are a gift from the Universe.

On July 21st I saw on our outdoor camera that there had been a coyote in the backyard around 4am. I raced to the window, hoping to see both Gentlemen and calm my fears. Julius came for breakfast, but no Tux. I held out hope for a while, but I knew. Our neighbors found him and we buried him in the Rectory garden, near his best friend Tom. Scratch made a memorial of two stones, a big one and a small one, nestled up against one another.

Untitled     One of Tux’s first appearances     Untitled           Tux and Tom
Untitled                 Tux and Julius Untitled   Tux in Tom’s favorite spot

Julius mostly stays close to the Rectory now. I worry about him every day.