Monday, June 13, 2011
Slick was the name of the cat in the picture above and was a cat given to my dad when they were dating. Slick began life as an indoor cat up until my parents married and then got the boot outside by my mom. Kind of ironic. But was even more ironic was that my mom replaced him a few years later with another indoor cat named Tina that would live for the next nineteen years until I was out of college.
Slick was a tomcat and thus did a lot of tomcatting. Most days he would disappear only to come back in the evening for feeding time on the farm. Eventually his tomcatting would keep him away on overnight trips and as time passed by, his overnight trips became more and more frequent. Overnight trips eventually turned into multiple day trips which eventually turned into multiple week trips. But eventually there came a time when we fully expected that Slick would never come back. Coyotes were always a problem to farm cats out and about at night as well as winter frosts. We had another outdoor cat during the same time frame which had lost an eye to Distemper who got caught out one particularly cold night and ended up losing both ears and his tail to frostbite. When those had all fallen off and with his one eye, he looked as if he had been through a battle in hell and back.
On the other hand, Slick seemed immune to all these and always came back even if it was just once every few weeks. He would show up at our door thin and sometimes with open wounds mewing outside on our kitchen stoop steps. We would pour him a dish of milk or cream and tend to his wounds while he ate. He would stick around a couple days fattening up on the cream and then would disappear again. We never knew where he went but we spotted him sometimes several miles from our farm house as we were doing farm work on various outposts. Several neighbors along our road had plenty of outdoor cats of the female persuasion so I'm sure he spent time on those farms too.
Eventually when I was maybe nine or ten, the day came when Slick never came back. Whether he met his end one late night via a coyote or as I like to wish, meeting the ultimate female cat and settling down, we never knew. I do know that perhaps a year after Slick disappeared for good, a young male cat that looked identical in every way to Slick showed up at our farm and began cavorting with the outdoor cats. My brother and I were quick to name him Slick Jr. but he never stayed around long enough for the name to stick and after a few times of stopping by our farm, he too disappeared for good.