My sister lost a cat today. She wrote this online:
“Wednesday came home in pretty bad shape this morning. I got to hold him and tell him how cool I thought he was. And we all got to say goodbye. He came to us on a Wednesday and left us 17-years later on a Wednesday – Maybe I should have named him Forever.”

As Wednesday had been mine for a time, and had been an intensely social neighbor, we thought about how many people might appreciate knowing why he would no longer be visiting. Some told their children he was theirs. I remember once crossing paths with Wednesday on Halloween, he didn’t give us a second glance, he was trick-or-treating with another party.

I found this note I had written some years ago:

I wrote to tell my sister that Wednesday was okay. The other day I had driven past a cat’s body on the side of the street and thought it was Wednesday. I’d made the wrong turn and wouldn’t otherwise have seen it.

I was running late so I didn’t stop, plus I didn’t want the body to have been his.

I’ve searched over dead cats on the road before, it’s heartbreaking. Even if you found the cat wasn’t yours. And you had to scrutinize the poor thing closely quite unsure because you’d never seen your cat dead or decomposed before.

Haunted by having encountered the accident by accident, I returned to the spot later that night determined to check. The body was gone. There had been a squirrel on the other side, its body was still there. But the big black cat with a bushy tail extended straight up in the wind was nowhere to be found. Someone had picked it up I suppose. I was five blocks from my house. Too far to have been Wednesday.

I didn’t go back home that night. I didn’t want to not find Wednesday there.

He and I had been seeing very little of each other. I leave the window open and he comes and goes as he pleases. I get home late, go to bed, and somewhere in my sleep he comes in meowing, meows past me to his food, then meows as he leaves. I wake remembering something of that. For a time he was bringing birds home. I’d take notice in my sleep when he passed without a sound, figuring out later his mouth was probably full. I came to dread that dream because I would then wake to find the hall strewn with feathers and I’d find a little beak lying in the midst.

I got Wednesday from my sister. She was going to have a second baby, and was moving, and wasn’t crazy about having a cat around. When I visited I remember twice Wednesday leapt unto my sleeping face in pursuit of his playmates.

Wednesday is named after the day on which he arrived at my sister’s farm. My little niece decided the logic. From the condition of his fur, the vet determined he’d been in the wild for at least two months. It was incredible that he’d survived the coyotes, rattlers and hawks. One night Karin remembers Wednesday was outside under the porch while coyotes hunted for him above it.

At my place he’s made a similar legendary impression. I live on the second floor. He climbs the cedar wall to my balcony without apparent effort. When he wants to descend he just jumps straight unto the lawn. My neighbors beneath are no longer startled to see him fly by.

I’m quite proud of him. Another neighbor cautioned me about a fox she’d seen on the property. Worry about Wednesday? Oh no.

Everyone has befriended him. I know by how well brushed he is. A neighbor who had moved away, and to whom I had never spoken, came by during a holiday visit and left a note with treats for Wednesday. Another neighbor had him shaved when it was obvious I was neglecting his fur.

The other night I called him and I could hear his faint reply from far off. I imagined him wounded, calling to me meekly. When he got to me, in the dark I couldn’t see if he was wounded. He brushed through my legs and i avoided looking at him that night. He was alive.

In the morning I could see that he was his safe, alive self. My fears had been entirely imagined.

I reassured my sister that Wednesday was back, safe, the body I had seen on the street had not been Wednesday. She told me “Well, you’ll never know, it might have been. You know he’s immortal.”

Something like that.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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