R. I. P. Tuna

Last night, we had a bitterly cold night. Now it wasn’t cold enough to snow, but it was below freezing and we had to make sure to drip the faucets so we’d have some water in the morning.

Our cats stayed outside. They always do. They’re outdoor cats. They were tough. All four of them were used to sleeping outside, even in the freezing cold. We’d only ever lost one cat to the cold before, and he had been an old cat on the verge of death anyway. I know I went to bed, at least, fully expecting to wake up in the morning and see all four of our cats waiting for their cat food, as they usually are.

But as I did my usual morning writing, a family member came in and told me that one of our cats — Tuna, as we always called him — was dead.

I could hardly believe my ears. Tuna? Dead?

You have to understand. While Tuna was one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, he was tough. He was the only other male cat on our property, which is incredible when you consider that all of the other male cats were chased off by our other male cat, Mufasa. Not to mention that Tuna was young and strong. We didn’t know how old he was (he was a stray cat who basically adopted us because we fed him), but we knew at least that he was no old cat.

I went out and looked for myself. I knew he was dead as soon as I saw his body. He was unnaturally still. I covered the body with a blanket and my older brother buried him a few hours later.

This isn’t the first time we’ve lost a cat, but it’s the most recent and for me, the hardest hitting. Tuna was a unique cat, almost like a dog in terms of friendliness. Losing a pet is always hard, but losing Tuna was even harder.

I hope this isn’t a portent of things to come because if it is, this year is gonna suck.