RIP Punchy, The Feral Who Inspired Black Cats Tell All Book by feline author and editor Clyde.
We’re quietly grieving the loss and honoring the charmed life of the one and only Punchy featured in our book Black Cats Tell All: True Tales And Inspiring Images. We first published a story about Punchy in 2015. The idea for a book about black cat stories percolated for a while and went through many permutations until it was published a little over a year ago. I’m proud to be a fellow book contributor with Punchy and although we’ve never met in the fur, I feel he is black cat kin. My mom Layla and I were having a meander down memory lane last night.
They say outdoor and feral cats like Punchy have a shorter lifespan of about three years versus 15 years for an indoor-only cat. He blew that stat to smithereens by living past twenty. In fact, I believe we need to re-examine those lifespans. It’s not uncommon for ferals and indoor/outdoor cats to reach deep into the geriatric years with proper care. Punchy lived out on a farm in Iowa on his terms. He was coddled and cared for by Ellen who tried at different points to bring him indoors but he wanted his way.
Punchy died the way he lived, on his terms, naturally and gracefully in cozy straw nest with his feline companion Itty by his side. The other cats are in mourning. Punchy was the grand old mancat, the patriarch of a well-managed colony in Iowa that dwindled to near zero over many years.
Cats have a way of finding us, even in the dead of winter, in the middle of nowhere. There are new arrivals at the farm who get spay/neutered and fed. I’m convinced there is a huge sign above their farm (invisible to humans) that says, “Good home. All welcome.” Not all but most cats have uncanny sense where food, shelter and love can be found. I say not all cats because it it were so, they’d all be lovingly cared for.
Punchy’s dear catmom Ellen and Layla developed a simpatico friendship and told her details about Punchy which I’ll leave for now. Layla honestly thought I was a goner several times this year but Miss Ellen said to hang on. They trust that the timing for exits will be purrfect. Punchy while old and frail kept going like he had an extra nine lives stashed under his black suit. Like a magician, he kept pulling rabbits out of his hat until vanishing into the ether
The only thing Ellen would like to add is “I miss him. Punchy was loved, and when it was his time to go, tears were shed for him a much as any beloved cat.
I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through. ~Jules Verne
Yes indeed, true blue words.
Thanks for visiting. See you next week, Spirit willing,
Clyde and friends