Peter was up all night waiting for her. Now he’s asleep on the couch, more or less exhausted from pushing forty hours’ wakefulness, and I can write this.
Bubble went out yesterday afternoon, before we went down to Baltinglass to do some food shopping and a couple of errands. She wasn’t at home when we came back.
This by itself wouldn’t have been a cause for concern. But she’s always prompt about mealtimes. She didn’t come in for dinner. She didn’t come in later. She didn’t come in in the middle of the night, as she sometimes does, with something freshly killed.
The night before last, Peter heard a fox yipping in the pasture behind the house. It’s not a place Bubble normally would go. She prefers to cross the road and jump up and over the eight-foot wall into the Big Estate to hang out there. But was she out frogging, last night? She goes down to the pond for that…and that’s where the fox was.
This morning Peter went out with cellphone and spear to see what he could see in the back field. He found, not Bubble, but the body of one of the young swans which had been coming into their adult feathers. When we got back from P-Con in Dublin, there had still been two of them (out of a total of six, three killed earlier in the season in uncertain circumstances, the fourth gone we weren’t sure where). Monday afternoon we saw two cygnets walking up the slight hill from the pond with their parents. Tuesday we saw only one. Today there are none, and Peter found the ripped-up body of one of them. That was a big bird, even immature. Whatever killed it could have made two bites of a little cat Bubble’s size.
We hope all the normal things: that she wandered into a neighbor’s yard and got shut into a shed, that she’s lost and confused somewhere. But our hopes, to be realistic, are not high. Not that I wouldn’t laugh and feed her without complaint when she came in, shouting as usual, in the middle of the night. She is a goofy, valiant, loud-mouthed kitty who can be forgiven much even when killing things messily in the kitchen.
Goddess grant she’s still on life. If not…may her passing have been swift.
The worst of it will be the not knowing.
ETA: She was fine. She got lost after going over to the neighboring stud to kill rats.