For those of you who follow the blog & Facebook page, you probably know Puff had gone missing. As much as I'd like to say he came home safe & sound, that is not the case. Life on a farm seldom imitates those happily-ever-after Disney-type tales. A neighbor found some Puff-colored hair in the woods, as though there was a fight. There are plenty of things with sharp teeth in the woods, and unfortunately, they enjoy dining on pets & poultry. While we found no blood or body, he had never been missing before, and despite the tales folks have shared with me about cats showing up long after hope was lost, I've accepted the fact that he isn't coming back. Puff had a personality much larger than his size, and I'll miss the fluffball dearly, as I'm sure many of our farm stand friends will as well. I just count myself blessed to have had 11 great years with him.
It also never ceases to amaze me how animals can show love, compassion, or whatever you want to call it, to their humans. Maxwell & Itty Bit (other farm kitties) followed me faithfully through field, forest, and along the road while I searched for Puff. I'm sure they knew he wasn't coming back before I did.
Maxwell is only a year old, and he has always idolized Puff- cuddling with him, following him around, and just generally looking at him like he was thinking that he wanted to be exactly like Puff when he grew up. Max has been my constant companion, the first week I couldn't even go to the bathroom without him! He's taken to sleeping in all the spots Puff did, including on my bed, something he's never done before. And at least, unlike his hero, Max stays off the pillows! Itty Bit has been close by as well. (She's sitting in the computer chair with me as I type right now.) Even Stumpy, a kitten born this spring, has been extra sociable, and managed to weasel her way into the house enough that I've upgraded her status from porch kitty to house cat. And if there is any balm for a sad heart, I think warm cuddles and the antics of baby animals are right up there. Stumpy has been tearing about the house all morning at lightning speed. It impresses me greatly, because she lost a hind foot at birth, but doesn't let it stop her from running, jumping, climbing into my houseplants, or just generally being a kitten.
The only thing that remains to be seen is if any will step into Puff's pawprints as self-appointed farm stand mascot. And I know that wherever Puff is, a part of him will always be here at the farm with us. I mean that quite literally...I'm sure I'll still be sweeping up cream-colored cat hair for years to come...