I know I am going to cry writing this and look there I go. With a gut kick in our stomachs, our best 3rd of the 3 of us is gone. Meet Riverstone, on the very first evening we met her. It were having stitch-night with our friend Colleen and the doors were open in August. She walked into our home and greeted us with a meow. She jumped up onto the dining room table where we were sitting and cuddled with Daniel. Daniel, in turn, gave her food. She was a stray. She came wearing a flea collar that was too tight. She came back over to Daniel and fell asleep on his lap. It was love at first meet.
Riverstone chose us. Each day, she wanted out, so she would go out but return quicker and quicker. The summer ended and we realized, she’s here to stay. We took her to the vet. She was approximately 1.5 years of age, skinny from starvation and flea invested. We got her back on the right track, medically speaking.
The Crochet Crowd got to learn about her along the way. Many people know Riverstone’s name. She was named after the Riverstone Garden Daniel had made. Her colouring matches Riverstone Rocks. Daniel would tell her she has a rockstar name.
Over the beautiful months here, you would find her being a hunter and gatherer. Her gifts of mice, frogs, moles, birds and even snakes as she would bring them in. Being outdoors was her joy, finding her sleeping in the tall grasses on the property.
In Walkerton, she was pretty much a stray in the backwoods where she would frequent after she accepted us into her life. The creatures to watch for were other cat strays. Wasn’t uncommon to hear howling kitties in the back woods as territories were crossed. Nothing bigger to be fearful of… which leads us to this moment.
We moved to Nova Scotia in January. It took her months to venture beyond the porch. She refused to go out for 3 months. Of course, she was always given the option to go outside. She would look, sniff and make a decision. Free choice is important and when she was ready, she took longer sniffs and stayed out on the porch more and more.
Here in Nova Scotia, the predators are different than back in Walkerton, Ontario. You have abundance of bald eagles, coyotes, hawks and owls. Suddenly, Riverstone isn’t near the top of the food chain. She’s part of it.
Daniel and I don’t believe in trying to cage a creature who loves the outdoors. While some cats are raised indoors and stay indoors with little desire to go out. She was never meant to suddenly change from enjoying the outdoors to being caged up in our home here in Nova Scotia. She chose us and we extended her the freedom. She darts outside at at the sight of an open door to take in the outdoors and be the cat she was meant to be.
Our home is a routine. Riverstone is on the bed sleeping in the morning with us. She gets all excited about potential food at breakfast. She checks in with us while we work and goes in and outside and does a long afternoon nap. Wakes up around 5 pm to join us for supper and is goes in and out to see what’s going on. She usually returns around 10 pm. She has the power to leave at night time but usually is back on our bed in the morning.
A week ago Saturday, neither of us noticed she wasn’t on the bed in the morning. She was on the bed the night before as we fell asleep. We worked all day.
In the early evening, we were sitting down on the back porch and noticed a huge grey owl. It was remarkable. As a joke, we ask “Where’s kitty!” and we laugh about it. We have not clued in that neither of us have seen her all day. Daniel clued in around 10 pm Saturday night that she’s gone…. like gone gone.
In fairness, we were given warnings not to let the cat outside. How, do you keep something caged when it’s gone its full life with free choice? We couldn’t justify it. Taking Riverstone’s joy of the outdoors away from her seems unfair.
So are their morals of the story?
Yes, our hearts are broken. Our feelings are vulnerable but she was doing what she loved to do. She was hunting and gathering but ended up being the one that was hunted. While some may coldly say, you should have kept her inside, we couldn’t do that to her. The joy of her being outside was undeniable. She was a happy cat and got lots of exercise. She opened herself to us, and in turn, we opened our lives to make room for her too. We were a partnership of 3.
So it’s now over a week. She is gone. If she walks through the door now, it will be a miracle. We’ve been grieving and moving on now for a week.
With Riverstone gone… “Then there were 2!” as Daniel and I will adjust our lives.
You came into our lives injecting a new wonder and spirit in our home. We gave us contagious giggles and incredible joy. You left us too soon but it was our honour to respect your freedom. You chose us and we felted privileged by this fact alone. It will take us a few weeks to not instantly call your name or think you may have just walked by.
You will be missed, more than you ever know.