Saturday, August 20, 2011

Strange Days

It's strange waking up without a pet.  I've had pets for most of my life and consistently had one for over the last 20+ years, with exception to the couple weeks we had a cat go missing.  Being an animal person, having a pet kind of completes life.  I loved waking up to my Luke purring beside me or hearing the kids get up because he was on their bed purring so loud they could no longer sleep.  He loved sleeping with the kids.

This morning we said our final good-byes to The Luke-ster giving us all time to reflect on what  an impact he had on our lives.

Luke showed up at a perfect time. 

We were living in rural Washington state.  We had recently lost our dog, Sam.  After Sammy died our orange tabby cat, Louis, had  hard time adjusting to life without Sam and he disappeared.  Living in the country with coyotes, we suspected the worst, but hoped for the best.  We hoped for two weeks Louis would return.  I placed ads on Craig's List, visited the local animal shelters, posted Lost Cat notices, but no responses.

After about two weeks, with a heavy heart I took Louis's water bowl and placed it in the dishwasher.  While doing this, I felt like I was being watched.  Creepy!  I looked around and then looked out our large kitchen window.  Sitting on our bar-be-que, staring back at me was an orange tabby cat.  Could it be?  Did Louis return?

I opened up the back sliding glass door to a scrawny, malnourished orange tabby with a spiked collar.  This was not my Louis for sure.  The kids thought it might be, but I reassured them this orange tabby was missing a couple extra toes and Louis definitely would not have worn a spiked collar.  When I opened the door, he immediately ran to the laundry room to eat from the cat food bowl.  He ate like there was no tomorrow.  How did he know the food was in there?

We weren't sure where this tabby had come from, but began to think he was sent by God.  Immediately we began the name hunt.  This new cat needed a name if he was going to hang around the house.  I liked the African name Foluke.  It means "Protected by God."  It is a girl name, but I figured if this cat survived the rural life with wild animals, it was definitely protected by God.  The kids liked the name Luke, as in Skywalker.  We agreed he'd be called "Luke."

We placed ads on Craig's List and called local vets alerting we found a cat, but no one claimed our Luke.  He had found his FAMILY and we found the perfect cat to complete our family!

Within the first week we took him to the veterinarian for a check-up.  He guessed Luke was about 3-4 years old based on his dental development.

Immediately, Lukey cozied up to our family sleeping with my hub on the couch, cuddling with the kids.  He'd let them carry him around like a baby, dress him up, etc.  This is the most patient cat I've ever seen. 

When my husband was transferred to Orange County, Luke didn't miss a beat.  I was concerned that he would not adjust well to city life after being a country cat, but he did so well.  Upon moving in, he quickly greeted and made friends with the neighbors.  Everyone knew and loved Lukey.  He loved being outside, laying on the brick wall watching over his kingdom. 

I know in my heart, Luke was sent to us, "Protected by God."  My heart grieves his loss, but I'm so thankful for the years we had with him.

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