It’s been a while since I last wrote, partially because I’ve been super tired starting back at work (balance is better now without weekly wellington trips), but largely because we’ve been down a mammal. It’s taken a while to write about because we’re not 100% sure we’re down a mammal so I didn’t want to write a big post fare-welling Poncho only to rescind a few days later and it felt weird writing anything else without mentioning it. But here it is. We’re pretty sure there is one less mammal in the mammals and me bucket.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve seen Poncho and there is still a chance that he has made himself at home somewhere where they don’t kick him out at night but there are reports of a cat matching his description on the motorway basically opposite our house. We haven’t been able to spot the cat on the motorway (it was about a week later that someone mentioned it so probably got picked up) but the location and timelines match. There is actually a much higher number of deceased tabby cats in my neighborhood than I would have guessed. Thanks to the magic of Facebook groups I’ve been receiving reports (and photos!) of passed on cats for a couple of weeks now, as well as pictures of many cats who are moonlighting their way around the neighbourhood. Also did you know that every tabby cat has the “M” shape on their forehead and the two big lines coming back from their eyes. We did not until we realised that Poncho’s “distinctive” markings were appearing on every cat we saw pictures of.
Here’s the awkward thing (aside from not knowing 100% and being able to bring him home which I’m finding surprisingly emotional), he was kind of a jerk. Not “You’re so bad I wish you would get hit by a car” levels but he was definitely a pain in the…whatever he was biting at the time. He bullied Monty, wound up the dog, kneaded and nibbled us, and sat all over the kids. Isobel was just getting old enough to pat him well enough that he’d get too excited and “nibble” her. When we first realised he was gone we heard from a nearby family who had been welcoming a tabby visitor and joked that if it was Poncho then we’d send them his vet records and they could have him for keeps. Still though, despite the evenings being a lot calmer and less painful without him (and we’re seeing so much more of Monty) I do really miss him. There’s something a bit irreplaceable about a cat who would leap off the fence and on to your shoulder to score a ride up to the house.
The other awkward thing? Isobel hasn’t realised he’s gone. She hasn’t talked about him for a few days now. There is a cat near her daycare who looks like Poncho and she sometimes mentions that Poncho visited her during the day but she hasn’t noticed that he hasn’t been at home. Given the absence of a cat to bury (so no cat funeral) we think we’re just going to go for the gradual fade out approach. If she’s in therapy years from now unpacking her fear that people/pets will leave her without any warning then we’ll know it was the wrong call but I think we’ll leave it for now and let Poncho be a happy memory.
So a bit of a sad post. There are still probably too many mammals in my house but Poncho was a big personality and has left a bit of a gap, particularity on our laps/shoulders/heads/seats/laptops/children. RIP Poncho, you were not the easiest cat but you brought us a lot of giant rats and you were enthusiastic in your spreading of cat litter across the floor. We’ll miss you.