"More will be revealed."

To the Coyotes and Cats in the Circle of Life.

Willie has been gone for days.  I knew when we moved here 6 years ago his chances of being killed by coyotes were increased.  He had already survived 12 years living in town with night roaming dogs and I have spent many hundreds of dollars saving him from punctures from feral cats.  It’s a rough life being a cat sometimes.   So, he’s about 18 years old and has eaten lots of wonderful fish and cat food, and had a health plan more secure than my own. He had a thin winter last season, but came through in better shape with all the fresh fish and canned cat food.

I miss him.  He was the guardian of the garage, where all the grain is kept for the chickens, and the host of other amazing things two middle aged people keep in storage.  He kept me company in the morning with my coffee and deigned to sit in my lap when I wore a sweater.  Willie was a very swift hunter and often left me little lizards bottoms, looking like a pair of pants on the doorstep.  He was hell on grasshoppers until the chickens came and wiped them all out.  He never missed a mouse, that I know of.

He was not to be trifled with, either.  Do not mistake him for a house cat, by no means.  He would hook you, with keen precision, snagging just the first layer of skin on your hand with one claw, sharpened several times daily.  He managed to sneak in the house a few times and hone them on my husband’s leather couch, which won neither he or I any favor with the man of the house.

Willie was a loner, and independent and could abide no other cats.  He barely tolerated a couple of strays while we were in town that I fed for several years.  He made sure they didn’t get into his garage guarding duties.  Out here in the country he was a force to contend with.  I felt he had a pretty good chance here, and he did well for 6 years.

Now, he has been missing for several days, and we have many coyote families around the valley.  There are plenty of hunting opportunities here and the ranchers are determined that no coyote is going to harvest any of THEIR stock.  I can see their point, and yet I have a contention with the methods they imply.

I have to listen on a fairly regular basis, and as I did this morning for three hours in the wee hours before dawn, to the sounds of three individual coyotes, likely a whole litter of young dogs, while they cried out in agony as poison took its toll. For a long time I thought they were being trapped, but after many hours of listening, I have determined they are baited to poison, and sometimes shot, if they can be spotted during daylight.  Personally, I think poison is a cowards device.  To die that prolonged and painful death when there are immediate and effective measures seems the most vile and inhumane thing to employ.

If they must die, then let it be quickly.

Today I am lighting a candle for Willie, my beloved feline companion of 18 years, and for the coyote family that could possibly have been his demise.  I will celebrate the balance of life and death in this season of Equinox, and count myself blessed for many reasons.

To the Coyotes and Cats in the circles of life.

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