Back in October of 1997 I took my mom to the animal shelter because she wanted a cat. Before I left, I teased James that I would be bringing home a little orange kitten and we could call him Pumpkin. James didn't really want a cat...it was just a joke.
As my mom looked at the cats, I stopped to play with a few myself. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned to see a fluffy orange cat reaching out of his cage to get my attention. I went to him and took him out of his cage. His name was Loverboy and he lived up to the name. He was rubbing his head on my neck and purring wildly. I was in love. And he was orange.
But, of course, we already had two cats and we weren't in need of more. I steeled myself and left him there.
Until the next day.
I just couldn't stand it. With James' permission, I returned to see if he was still there. I was sure he would be gone and I could rest easy knowing he was loved and didn't need us. But, he was there...and he was Loverboy all over again. I took him home and we called him Pumpkin.
Over the next nine years, Pumpkin definitely became James' cat. Once playful and exhuberant, he retired to the guest room upon the birth of our children, and he has held court there daily for eight years now. James uses the room's closet, so he had one-on-one time with Pumpkin every day, even if the rest of us never saw him.
Although Pumpkin was a reclusive indoor cat, he did occassionally find the outdoors calling him and he knew just how to sneak out as we came in at night. Every few months he just needed a romp outdoors - a little excitement for a night.
Monday night was just such a night. Pumpkin ran out and we couldn't find him. I checked on him all the way up until midnight, but he would not show himself.
We were awakened at 5:00 a.m. by the sound of dogs outside our window. James and I both ran out and chased the dogs away, but we were too late to save Pumpkin.
We are devastated. Pumpkin was a faithful companion and a solid link to our past. He was innocent and undeserving of his fate. We will miss him every day.
Rest in peace, Pumpkin. Rest in peace.