(Note: This was written May 8th, 2008 late at night)
Today has been a very hard day here at the stables for us.
Our beloved cat Foster was found, dead on the side of the road as we headed into the city. Not 20 ft from our driveway.
Foster had been missing for more than two months but we were holding out hope that he had just been taken in by one of the many visitors who always teased "Oh Foster, we are just going to take you home!".
Foster you see was a unique cat. He was conceived somewhere in Asia - the product of an affair between a domestic Siamese mother and a wild Oriental Fishing Cat father.
He was sailing the seas while in the womb and wound up in Saint John, NB (Canada) when the ship his mother was aboard was quarantined.
His mother, a thoughtful girl - fled the ship and birthed her kittens under a step near the docks - although she delivered several kittens - only 3 survived and she herself passed away shortly after giving birth.
The newborn kittens were heard and found. They were taken in and cared for.
Foster came into my life at 6 weeks of age. He was my first foster cat. He was my first adopted cat. He joined me in my first apartment and followed me through my; second apartment, a move to another city and two more apartment moves before we purchased our farm.
Foster loved life on the farm. He loved greeting those that came to visit. He loved the horses - their smell, their hay bales and mostly their long flowing tails. He would "ride" Quinn (2 yr old Paint filly at the time) in the pasture as she grazed - both of them content as could be. He never became a mouser, even with those giant paws. He was a lover not a fighter and a hugger not a hunter after all! Though he like to patrol the pastures, barn and occasionally the neighbors decks for "treasures".
He not only tolerated the many foster cats we had in our lives but took on a fatherly role, loved traveling in cars, loved fishing & swimming in my parent's 55 gallon aquarium, loved water and stealing anything shiny - tweezers, change, jewelry, trinkets and valuables - he would steal and stash them all.
He had 22 toes. 5 toes on each of his front paws and 6 toes on each of his back paws. He liked to show people his paws. He also loved to hug people, wrapping his long arms around their necks while he purred into their ears and licked their hair.
He was the greeter, ambassador and hugger to all those who visited us since 1999.
The lifeless body that I picked up off the side of the road today was Foster. He was not hit by a car, shot, snared or injured in any outward way. It appears that he died shortly after disappearing (my guess is the night he disappeared).
It appears that he died of natural causes or perhaps with our extreme weather at the time he got caught in the snow and died from exposure.
He has been more than likely in the woods across the road from our house ever since - under snow. Awaiting spring.
Somehow, an animal found his body and brought it to the road early this morning. I do not know what type of animal - local dog, fox, coyote etc but whatever it was - it brought Foster home.
I cannot even begin to tell you how it felt to get out of the car this morning and see the extra toes. Knowing it was Foster. Seeing his body in the condition it was in. Although intact for the most part (99% of it was frozen) - the animal did of course pick at his stomach a tiny bit.
This was not the Foster I knew and loved. This was not the way it was supposed to be for him. It is not what I wanted for him. He deserved more than to be left on the side of the road.
So I picked him up, while cars on both sides of the road stopped and carried my boy home. Most people in those vehicles knew Foster and I heard several people say "No, not Foster" as I wept, carrying him across the road, into our driveway and up to our house. Many cars stayed stopped for several moments - out of respect for Foster and maybe us.
Don swung the car around to follow me and we quickly decided that since he was almost entirely frozen, we would bag him and freeze him in our "dog food" deep freeze (we feed raw food to our Chis).
We will be driving 2.5 hours next weekend to my parent's home by the ocean to bury him near the water that he loved on land that will be willed and entrusted to our family for generations.
Throughout his lifetime as he met people, vets etc - we were offered money time and time again for this unique feline. One vet offered several thousands for him because of this personality and breeding. Everyone who met him, loved him - even those that didn't like cats. He was a true ambassador for all felines.
I wouldn't have traded our time with him for any money in the world. Although right now, I would trade everything I own just to have spared him even an ounce of pain - or to have been with him - holding him when he passed - or to get one more hug from him.
We will never have another cat like him. He was the only one of three of this crossing known. He was unique, special and loved everyone unconditionally.
August 31, 1999 - 2008
RIP Foster - you will be missed, more than you will ever know.