Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye to a barn cat: 'It was a strange but very fulfilling relationship'

Donald Gregg with Shadow (undated photo)
Barn cats have long been a staple of rural life, but are less a part of daily life than house cats, because they have their own territory and are usually wary of humans, even those whose property they share. But that doesn't keep them and their human neighbors from forming attachments, perhaps at arm's length but with a certain connection. Such a cat, named Shadow, was the frequent companion of Donald Gregg, the father of John Gregg, news editor of the Valley News in Lebanon, N.H., and White River Junction, Vt. When Shadow died recently, Donald Gregg emailed his family and friends a remembrance, and his son turned it into a Christmas Eve column for the newspaper. Here are exceprts:
Shadow, our feral cat, passed away earlier this month, very peacefully. She had been shutting down for a couple of weeks, eating less and less, and moving with a bit of stiffness. My wife, Meg, and I found her about noon, when we returned from yoga class, lying very gracefully, as though asleep.
The ground was soft, so I was able to dig her grave easily, near a favorite tree she used to scamper up, close to the old play house. . . . A few hours before Shadow died, for some strange reason I remember what we would say as children when on a swing, and we stopped pumping: “Let the old cat die.”
Well, die she did, and the first time I ever picked her up was to lay her in her shroud to be buried.
Shadow, true to her name, has slipped away. It was a strange but very fulfilling relationship. We shall miss her.
Donald Gregg, 88, lives in Westchester County, New York. He was a CIA official, national security adviser and ambassador to South Korea.

1 comment:

Nature Advocate said...

Be sure you keep your vermin cats on your OWN land. Here's a good read to show you what happens to every last one of these relocated invasive-species disease-infested vermin feral-cats that people dump-off on farms and in other rural areas in ANY location of North America and aren't kept contained.

http : / / www . predatormastersforums . com / forums / ubbthreads . php?ubb=showflat&Number=2628942&page=1

All they are doing is adding to the cat-shooting quotas of everyone who lives rural. What a nice waste of their money and time. I personally shot and buried hundreds of these invasive-species vermin to stop them from gutting-alive and skinning-alive the last of the native wildlife on my lands. Cats that morons adopted-out from "humane" barn-cat programs. Many hunting-forums even pass along contact information of any new "barn cat programs" -- for free delivery of practice-targets between hunting seasons. I don't condone this, because if they miss then I have to shoot them myself when they wander into my own lands. *"Hello? Yes, I have a bad rodent problem out here in the country. Can you bring out about 6 of your cats? Thanks!"* (A week later: BANG! BANG! Damn, missed one. BANG! BANG! BANG!) Their cats are "valuable", alright. But not in any way that they might ever think.

Cats that are relocated NEVER stay where they have been dumped. This is why you read reports of cats trying to get back to their points of origin hundreds of miles away. All the while senselessly destroying countless numbers of valuable native wildlife in their wake by torturing animals to death for their hourly play-toys. People in rural areas have enough of their own problem keeping these disease-infested vermin in check by shooting every stray cat they see (if only to protect their own animals and cats from all the diseases these free-roaming pestilent cats carry).

Don't go adding to everyone's weekly cat-shooting-quotas by releasing more of these pestilent vermin. "Cute" they are not. They ALL need to be destroyed. There are dozens of native predator species that are MUCH better suited for rodent control. Ones that eat rodents only and don't destroy everything that moves, like cats do. There's a good reason one species was even named the "Barn Owl". Gray-Fox being another excellent mouser, they don't even have European fowl on their menus and will even climb trees to keep squirrel populations in check. Even the 1.75-inch Masked-Shrew, a David & Goliath success story, evolved a poisonous bite specifically for preying on rodents right where they breed. Even the scent of them being around drives away rodents. But what do your cats do? They destroy these most beneficial of all rodent predators the very first chance they get.

Cat-lickers need to become responsible stewards of this planet by getting at least a high-school level of education in matters of ecology and biology so the rest of us don't have to teach them a valuable lesson by shooting and burying every last one of their invasive species vermin cats for them.