Missing. Vanished without a trace. On a late June morning, The Nator wasn't at the front door when I woke up. An APB was put out, neighbours were called, sheds and barns were searched, but within 2 days, I realized he wasn't coming back. Nator never strayed far, and had never gone AWOL before.
Nator came to us 3 years ago. During an early summer drive, we happened upon a young orange cat, soaking wet, obviously abandoned in the middle of nowhere, and when we rolled down the car window to check the little guy out, did we ever get an earful! That's how little Howard, who later became the Howarnator for his Terminator-like tendencies, made his introduction.
We brought Howard the Howarnator home, and he made his presence quickly felt. Unlike BobCat, who cheated on us with various neighbours, Nator never roamed.
He never liked other cats. He tolerated our females, Schatzie and Popina, but tormented poor BobCat, who neurotically licked himself half-bald because of Nator's merciless attention. He shadowed poor BobCat, and try as we might, we couldn't find a home where the Nator could live as a single cat. One of our friends tried to adopt him, but within a day at his new house, the Nator stopped eating and became lethargic and lifeless. It was pretty obvious Nator wanted to be our cat. We brought him home the next day.
You could count on Howard to provide comic relief:
I am here to tell you, this guy was a ham. With pets, you sometimes get the feeling they understand and relate to you on a different level. Well, Howarnator was that kind of cat. A recycled soul in a furry body.
No one liked suitcases more than Howard:
No one liked boxes more than Howard:
And no one liked day-dreaming about the bird or mouse that got away more than Howard:
Like Cooper, Howard was a foreman in his own right. He watched, inspected, and distracted:
One day, Howard came home with what the vet best described as heavy-metal disease:
His ears were bloody, one eye was swollen shut, a patch of fur the size of a dime was missing on his forehead, and one of his front teeth was knocked out. In all likelihood, he'd had a run-in with a car or tractor, because he'd wake with a start when he heard cars zooming by, or heavy equipment driving past. I hoped this run-in meant he had earned extra street-smarts, and if the road wouldn't get him, he'd live a good long life.
Nator just wanted to be near us. Here he's helping with the upstairs renovations by finding a good resting spot on the drop-cloths. He'd make himself at home, and despite the noise and dust, he would fall asleep anywhere.
Nator could do a smashing Zombie impression. I don't know why he'd sleep like this, but he did it quite a few times. I think he was channeling a past incarnation.
Howard has joined the ranks of cats who find their way to our door and into our hearts. Cats we take in without question, have vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and who we love and cherish. Some, like our 25 year-old Schatzie, chug along, and others, like Howard, spend far too little time with us.
Godspeed, little Nator. I hope our paths cross again.