Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pumpkin Head is Gone

I can hardly look at this picture of Pumpkin Head from when he was a kitten. He used to love sitting in the egg basket.

Like his litter mate Blackberry, he just disappeared without a trace. He was one of five kittens born to Mama Kitty, and lived the first months of his life with his litter mates under a wood pile. It was during my 'trapping-neuter-spay' period, when I was capturing the litter that came with our farm, that turned into three litters because I couldn't catch the Mama fast enough. Mama now lives happily on the porch, her children all around the farm, but no longer does she slip off to bring food for her brood. She has grown plump and although she will not let me touch her or pick her up, she does follow me around the farm sometimes, but always at a distance - sitting up on a hay loft to see where I'll go next.

Pumpkin Head lived on the front porch, with Little Orange and Mr. Plum, and at one time Blackberry. His litter mates Fig and Teasel were sent to live on another farm. He was always at dinner and breakfast. When the kitchen lite went on in the morning, it was Pumpkin Head who sat on the outside window ledge, watching me inside. He knew breakfast was coming.

Two nites ago, he wasn't at dinner. I've been through this before. If a cat is gone two full feedings, it is not good. If they aren't there the next morning, it is bad. And by the second nite, it means one thing. Many nice readers wrote me when Blackberry disappeared last month, encouraging me he might come back. "My cat was missing 1 week and came back," they'd write.

But I know he won't come back. I gave him a front porch with blankets and food. He would have died a long time ago without that care. He never created any unwanted kittens, and he had companions You can't take semi ferels and put them in a house. I just hope he didn't suffer.