Farewell to a vagabond who came to stay 101

Some years ago he came to us as a very young cat, not quite at the adorable kitten stage, more an adolescent cat, with the attitude of a typical adolescent.

He showed up on the front porch one day, checked out the incumbent cats, sampled the food and decided to stay.

When we adopt new pets we take some time to discover their personalities before naming them. It didn’t take us long to find a perfect name for this new resident. We named him The Terminator.

Terminator rose to the top of the cat hierarchy very quickly. He remained the alpha cat for the rest of his life. Her came to us in the early spring and during that first summer Terminator killed or chased away every chipmunk, mole, mouse and rabbit in our yard. He often brought his dead trophies onto the back patio for us to admire.

He seemed to have a robust vendetta against snakes. They were his favorite victims. More than once he brought a live, wriggling snake into the house through the cat door cut into our back door. The usual procedure was to drag the snake inside, then meow loudly for everyone to come and admire his hunting skill.

When he opened his mouth to call us the snake would escape and find something to crawl under, like the grandfather clock in the hall or the couches or chairs in the living room. Then it was Rob’s job to capture the wounded snake, which, by this time, was quite irate and indignant, and take it up the hill to the garden while I put a protesting Terminator out the front door.

For some reason we never figured out, this great hunter did not kill birds, as most cats do. He simply ignored them.

At feeding time Terminator would stroll from dish to dish, taking a leisurely bite or two from each one, while the other cats stepped back to give him space for sampling. I think he was making sure no one got anything better than what he was given.

It was not only the other house pets who felt the wrath of his claws and teeth. The family soon learned to be cautious when petting Terminator. He allowed a certain amount of stroking, then gave the stroker a look that clearly said, “That’s enough now.”

We soon learned to obey that look and pull our hands away. Satisfied that his command had been obeyed, Terminator would close his eyes and purr in sweet contentment.

When Miso, the latest addition to our cat family, came along Terminator decided to mark his territory throughout our house. This was unacceptable behavior and thus he became an outside cat.

Miso became an outside cat along with Terminator when Pierre, who enjoys chasing cats, was added

to the family. Rob bought two heated cat houses and a heated water dish for

the front porch, the one place safe from intrusion by Pierre.

As was his habit, Terminator rousted Miso from the cat houses so he could take a turn in both of them before choosing the one he considered the best.

Even in his last years Terminator reigned supreme among our cats. Sadly, last week his reign came to an end. Terminator died at the age of 18, having lived a long, full life.

He was haughty, aggressive but also very loving when he chose to be. With admirable gentleness the good people at Hillcrest did what had to be done. It felt like the end of an era.

Sleep well, dear

Terminator. You will be sadly missed.

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