Monday morning at approximately 5:00 AM our beloved cat TingTing was snatched away by a coyote right in our own back yard and literally at the feet of my wife.
TingTing was an indoor cat but was not declawed and was in the habit of having a morning romp in the back yard. She never strayed away from the property into the open field behind our home.
We have a door to the back yard from our Master Bedroom and shortly after being let out there was a considerable commotion at our bedroom window. It was TingTing.
My wife opened the door to let her in and to her astonishment there was a coyote standing right there. Desparate for safety, TingTing jumped down from the window ledge and before she could make it into our home the coyote struck quickly and snatched her away. The unmitigated audacity of the creature is astounding. One would have thought that it would turn tail and run at the site of a human.
This is when I awoke from a very deep sleep to the disturbing sounds of the unfolding event and just in time to see my wife dash out the door.
I lept out of bed and went to the door as I yelled "What's happening?!?"
"There's a dog after TingTing" exclaimed my horrified wife and with that I was off.
I flew out the door and tore across the back yard with a shout and a clap like thunder hoping to startle the coyote into ceasing its molestation of our dear one. From the time I left the doorway until I was twenty or thirty feet into the field I heard only a single, terrible cry from her.
It was at this point I realized I was naked.
I ran back into the house and threw on some clothes and shoes, grabbed a flashlight and ran back out into the night hoping against hope that the coyote had released TingTing and she had simply gone to ground and was keeping silent to avoid detection. As time passed and the sun started to rise, what I already knew in my mind sank into my heart.
She was gone.
My wife was inconsolable with grief. To be so close and have your beloved pet snatched away left her shattered.
In addition to seeing TingTing taken away, there was also the dawning possibility that our other cat, Mimi, was taken as well. They had gone out together in the morning and usually returned together. He was like her big brother and almost certainly had witnessed the attack.
Big Mimi is far more worldly than TingTing and has been roaming the local area for 6 years and, at 17 pounds of solid cat and with a full set of claws, can take care of himself. The coyotes have been out there all along so there's no reason to assume that they had now captured him.
It's just that his belly usually brings him home like clockwork and as the hours pass doubt continued to cast its shadow over us. My wife and I took turns roaming the neighbourhood, calling his name in the hope that he would emerge from hiding.
Finally, at just around nine PM, he popped up at the window. He was clearly shaken and still very alert but otherwise completely unharmed. We scooped him up and whisked him into the house. Enveloped in my wife's arms he begins to settle but still snapped his gaze around at the sligthtest sound.
Once released from my wife's embrace he seemed torn between his food dish and something else. Hunger seemed to win out if only for a moment. After a few mouthfuls it became clear what else he was concerned about.
He is trying to find TingTing.
Normally she is right there to greet him upon his return and sample the scents from Beyond the Yard that still clung to him. He wandered through the house, pausing here and there at places where she could normally be found. He would stop at her little pile of toys near the fireplace, look at them and then look to us as if to ask "Have you seen her?"
TingTing had a habit of playfully ambushing Mimi at various points and it was heart-wrenching to see him pause at these locations; seemingly daring her to appear and pounce.
After a few laps of our home he settled sullenly on the back of the couch stairing out the window into the night.
Two days have now passed and Mimi will still not venture far and only goes anywhere if one of us is beside him. If we return to the house, he follows.
I still hold out some small hope that by some miracle TingTing made good her escape and has simply been lying low somewhere too frightened to return and will miraculously appear at the window. That hope however, fades with each passing hour. I fear that we must accept this harsh reality:
She was good.
And the good die young.
Just because I can...