My little pal Barney, the black and white cat who made me smile.
by Barney's Mom
Barney in the garage...sitting under the heat lamps. One of his favorite spots.
I am so sad, so devastated. My beloved "Barn Cat" Barney did not come home last Tuesay and I haven't seen him since. I am heartbroken. It has been almost a week and I am trying to accept that something bad has probably happened.
Barney came to me last September. He walked out of the woods near my home, a skinny and somewhat shy Black and White boy. Just as I was getting ready to go somewhere, I pulled out of my driveway and heard him meow. I got down in my knees and called to him and he came over.
I tried to take him to the local no kill animal shelter to be put up for adoption, but they wouldn't take him because he wasn't found in that county. I didn't feel I needed another cat...I have four indoor cats already. So, the deal was I would get him neutered and try to find him a home. Meanwhile, I would feed him, get his shots, love him, give him a warm and comfortable shelter....I told myself it would be temporary, I wouldn't get too attached. He had a different idea in mind.
I took him to the feral cat association and they told me he had already been neutered...I felt like an idiot for putting him through that trip. I knew he had belonged to someone at some point, but they obviously were not taking care of him because he was emaciated when he came to me. But, he came home with me and over time I fell in love with this wonderful little guy, and he became a part of my life. He spend his nights in my garage with a warm heating pad, sleeping in his comfy bed.
In the mornings, he would follow me down to the chickens and just sit and watch. He followed me everywhere...he was my pal. He loved to run along side me everywhere I would go outside. He loved to roll around on the rug and to be picked up and pet. And he loved to race outside every morning for his first taste of the outside air. I kept him inside every single night..he did not spent a single night outside. He roamed outside only during the day.
I always worried that because he was outdoors and we live up against a forest that something could happen. But, every night when I would get home from work, there he would be...in the garage on his warm bed, stretching and yawning and greeting me. I always left the garage door slightly open during the day so he could come in and out whenever he wanted during the day.
Then last Tuesday.....I left for work and Barn Barn was in the driveway in his usual spot...rolling around, happy and looking forward to going down to the chicken coop and hanging out. I came home that evening and opened the garage door, expecting to see him in his warm bed stretching and yawning and welcoming me home from work. He was not there. I looked everywhere, I called his name, I spent hours looking for him. I hoped he would be back in his bed by the next morning. He wasn't, and he hasn't been since.
Since then, I have posted flyers, called neighbors, looked all around my property...everything I can think of. He had a collar on with all of my contact info. I fear a coyote or raccoon may have gotten him, because all his food was tipped over and completed gone when I went out on Wed morning to see if he was in the garage...something got in there and it wasn't a cat.
One of the worst parts of all this is I feel so alone in my grief. My partner does not have a lot of empathy to begin with, especially as it pertains to animals. She did not bond with Barney like I did. She does not handle my emotions, crying etc very well. It makes her feel overwhelmed. Well, I'm sorry but I have been overwhelmed. And every time I have tried to share my grief, she would just compare it to the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon and tell me that this was "just a cat". She felt like she had given me plenty of attention about this matter,and I needed to let it go.
I was/am still heartbroken..it hasn't even been a week, and I was being asked to just move on as though nothing had happened. She also made the heartless comment " I wish you had never found him and you had never taken him in..and I dread the day anything happens to these (our indoor) pets, because you will be inconsolable." There are obviously deeper issues at play here, but this is what I had to lean on.....very superficial, not heartfelt, get-it-over with "support", while she felt she had heard about and talked about it "non-stop". It just isn't true.
I cry every time I go outside, down to the chickens, see Barney's bed, see pieces of his fur on a blanket, etc. I keep expecting to hear the little bell on his collar jingling when I go outside, but I don't. He is gone.
Please someone tell me I wasn't a bad owner for not finding him an indoor home or taking him in to my own home. My other four cats would have not tolerated it, and I've had them for 10 years and have to love and respect them, too. Tell me that I am not being selfish by needing to process this grief with the person who is supposed to love me and support me. Any words of encouragement or advice wold be greatly appreciated.
Wherever he is, or however he left his world, I will not forget my Barn Barn, my sweet boy cat who came in my life silently and left just the same. I miss him so very much and loved him and I pray that he did not suffer. That is my worst fear. I pray whatever happened was fast and painless. I pray he felt loved up until his last breath. Because he was.