Saturday night, she looked up at me from the back door, and I let her out. She had always been an indoor-outdoor cat, and she was still agile and wily. But at the moment, I wondered what if the coyotes in the area caught her sometime? I let it go as she slunk-ran across the deck. We haven’t see Judy the cat since then.
Judith Actionia Hunter (Judith A. Hunter) was Forest’s Hanukkah present in late 2001, the same year he was recovering from a terrible car accident and shortly before I was diagnosed with cancer. In our household, when things go bad, we get books, and when things go really bad, we acquire animals. Forest immediately named Judy after our friend of the same name who had helped us a lot that year. While our friend is a Zen teacher-mathematician-poet, our cat proved to be versatile in other ways. She could hunt mice like nobody’s business, roar-purr, and do circus tricks. She was also good at rolling on her back and had the softest fur of any animal, save some bunnies, I’ve known.
Judy was great until “that thing in the laundry room happened.” All we know is that one day we came home to find Judy freaked out, unwilling to go near the laundry room (where the litter box and cat feeding station are) and extremely hostile. Our other cat at the time — Pinky Velvet — had extensive psychological problems and had been fight with Judy for years, but now Pinky Velvet was gone. We surmised thatPinky Velvet and Judy had a fight to the death, particularly since Pinky Velvet was found shortly afterwards — or what was left of her — in a coyote den on our hill.
Since that time, PTSD Judy alternated between letting us pet her and attacking us . She was still very sweet with Forest and slept on the end of his bed most nights. With the addition of Miyako, who always treated Judy with intense curiosity and was never put off by Judy’s attacks on her, Judy softened.
We all noticed Judy was particularly friendly this last week, abnormally so for her, but just thought she was finally a little happier. While scouring the hill, Ken and Daniel saw signs of a coyote family, and Daniel even glimpsed a beautiful coyote pup. We wonder if Judy is part of that family now or if, against all odds, she will slink back to the door, and if we don’t answer, jump up to a windowsill like she always did and yell-meow at us to let her back in. Our hearts are waiting.