Hollie Grimaldi Flores: About a cat | TheUnion.com

Hollie Grimaldi Flores: About a cat

Hollie Grimaldi Flores

Hollie Grimaldi Flores

My cat is dead. The victim of a predator in his own front yard. I did not see it happen, but I heard it and I am guessing it was a fox that finally got him.

For nine years, our cat Figueroa (Fig) graced us with his presence. He came to our home as a gift to my daughter when she was still in high school. As an indoor/outdoor cat, he defied the odds in our rural area for quite some time.

He was a great hunter. He would often leave us remnants of his slaughter. Entrails or other body parts lovingly left at the front door or next to the bed where I would nearly step on them. He was quite proud of his accomplishment and liked to let us know there was one less rodent running around the property.

He was kind to visitors. He loved everyone he met and was never shy. Often, he would climb onto a stranger's lap for attention and affection. He would take turns sleeping on each of the kid's beds. Everyone thought they had his affection.

When we first brought Fig home, we tried to keep him inside. We had already lost a couple of cats to "the great outdoors" and I was afraid the local shelters would stop letting us adopt. But there was no keeping this cat inside.

When he was young, more than once, we came home to find him half-way up a tree. We left him up there for days the first time, with food and water at the bottom, just as had been recommended. He never made the trek down. Each time, we would cave in from worry and call in rescuers, who climbed up and retrieved him for a nominal fee or a six-pack.

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Once my husband was looking out the window when the cat scrambled up (yet another) tree. He realized a skulk of foxes was circling around the bottom. Our poor cat had been running for his life!

My husband shooed the foxes away and rescued Fig, but the reality is we live in a wooded area and predators are out there. Finally, he figured out a way to scamper onto a second-floor landing of the house, where he could come in through an open window.

He hardly ever "meowed." I appreciated that attribute. Still, he knew how to get my attention.

Often, he slept at the foot of the bed after his escapades of the evening were complete. Sometimes he decided he needed to go out (usually around 4 a.m.).

He would swat items off a dresser or pounce near my head or run an obstacle course worthy of American Ninja Warrior training until I stirred.

I would begrudgingly get up, walk past the open window and down the stairs to the front door where he would make his exit. An hour later, I would hear him come through the window again and settle on the bed for the rest of the morning.

We had no need for a cat box. Fig preferred the great outdoors. How would we ever replace a cat like that?

In his cat-ness, he also scratched furniture, destroyed a wicker hamper and ate my roses — every time a bouquet came into the house.

Still, I am going to miss him.

I had never considered myself a cat person. All dog, all the way. I still grieve the loss of my Golden Retriever and he's been gone for more than a decade.

It was my daughter who convinced us we needed a feline. I thought the loss of a cat would be easier to survive. But I admit I grew quite attached.

When the child moved away, the cat stayed. He and I connected. I especially miss having him on my lap at night and the way he would lay on my chest on lazy mornings.

I think Fig may go down as the last pet in our household. It hurts to lose our furry friends and they just don't live long enough.

Plus, if I am being honest, there is freedom in not having that responsibility. I will get my fix loving on the pets of my friends and strangers I meet along the way.

So, if I come up and give you a scratch behind the ears, indulge me! Grief has many stages.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.