April 26, 2013

Obituary for a Farm Cat

With all the indicators in place: temps, gnats and pollen – spring has formally arrived and for good here in the Deep South.   And like every spring, everything is awakening and is new: new growth and new life all around us.  With this, I am always entertained by our farm menagerie as they too, seem to be as excited with the change of season. Our “working cats” in particular seem exceptionally frisky with all that is stirring and vivid memories of Whiskers come to mind – she was the fiercest and most prosperous of all our barn cats.


Originally written and posted in May 2009 when she departed our lives, here is her obit., in loving memory.


The Dirt Road Farm is grieving a great loss with the passing of Whiskers, the Farm's 5-year old black and white, tuxedo barn cat. Though not the eldest, Whiskers was regarded as the Matriarch of the Farm’s feline pride.

Born in the early spring of 2004, she was adopted by the Farm along with her 3 litter-mates in May of 2004. Affectionately known as “Ma` Ma`”, she was the quintessential farm cat. While lovingly devoted and loyal, Whiskers was fiercely independent and the open pastures remained her preferred domain; she was never to be a house cat.

A proud mother of two litters of kittens and skilled as a master huntress, Whiskers was best known for her tenacious mousing. She took great pride in her work – all too often sharing her prized kills with her beloved humans.

She lost the first of her nine lives to a mad swarm of wasps that had nested behind a window shutter on the Farm’s front porch requiring days of Benadryl treatments eventually seeing her closed eyes and softball sized head return to normal. The next of her nine lives was taken by the garage door leaving her with a fractured tail. The 3rd loss was a narrow escape after being locked inside the Farm truck on a long, long hot summer’s day. Her 4th life claimed from a possible coyote or wild dog having treed her resulting in serious injuries to a hind leg. But it would be an untreatable and fatal blood disease that would ultimately conquer what remained of her lives now leaving a huge hole in the hearts of her human family.

On May 26, 2009, Whiskers was laid to rest in the shade of the Oak and Pecan trees that cascade over the large granite outcroppings on the upper 26 acres of the Dirt Road Farm where she loved to watch and hunt from. She was buried alongside her first born son, Oscar-Duke of Meyer. She is predeceased by her sisters Misty and Diva, her brother, Professor Button, her daughter, Possum and her son, Oscar as well as other nieces and nephews including the Brer Brothers: Brer Fox, Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit, triplets born to her sister, Misty. She is survived by her two daughters Miss Georgia “Peaches” and Savannah Lucille (“Lucy”), nephews St. “Simon” La Rue and Rev. “Billy Bob” Clyde, nieces Skidaway and Charlotte, great nephew One-eyed “Rowdy” and great niece Princess “Patches”. Max, the eldest of the Dirt Road Farm’s cats and of no familial relationship to the deceased, remains indifferent to the passing of Whiskers.

She will be greatly missed seen frolicking and pouncing in the upper pastures as well as hearing her raspy mews expressing thank you’s for an early morning’s saucer of milk. This writer will deeply miss her all too familiar, gentle rubs against her legs while gathering eggs in the hen house – the comfort of her purring companionship while weeding the garden. But I know that somewhere her spirit lives on here along the Dirt Road…. and while on my early morning walks, I will likely feel her presence woven within the breezes that surround me along my trodden path.

…..just beyond my footsteps in the earliest morning sunlight, perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of a distant silhouette of an elegant cat sitting proudly atop an aging fence post and it will bring a renewed sense of comfort reminding me of a farm cat’s lifelong devotion and unconditional love for me.


Post Script:

Following the burial of Whiskers on the upper 26 acres of the Dirt Road Farm, the writer was driving the Farm’s truck back to the house and, due to an unprecedented amount of recent rainfall, miss-navigated the pasture and became stuck in an all too wet low area requiring a long walk back to the house and having her truck rescued by the tractor.

It just wasn’t her day.

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