I was not well and so not working in the early 90's, out in the garden "creating life in the soil" a lot in my Seattle home in the University of Seattle district. This sweet orange boy, about 3 months old kept peeking around bushes at me about 80 yards away. I would talk to him, look at him and he would not move, but just watch me. The student next door was graduating from the university soon and she had been grabbing feral babies, finding them homes and feeding the strays she could not catch. This orange tabby teen was never caught by her, but she fed him and so he knew humans were kind.
I bought some dry cat food and began putting it in the areas he would hang out and watch me from. Day by day, I'd leave the food out closer to me. Soon he was eating a few feet away. He eating, me, weeding and planting. Thus began our love story. I was living in a basement "room" in a student boarding house, on the very ground floor level. I would leave my bedroom window open and leave a bowl of water and cat food on my window sill which he could walk right up to, and did. That went on until winter. Then, I moved up to the 3rd floor of the house into 2 of the bedrooms. I would call "kitty kitty" but Pumpkin never came.
I did not see him until the next spring. I thought my move had confused him and he had moved onto a new location, especially since the girl next door had long moved out. I continued to leave food outside in hidden areas, but I was no longer gardening and not outside.
One spring morning, I had my bedroom doors open into the hallway and the hallway door open to the door leading outside down the stairways. I had some music on and was talking on the phone when I saw this timid face peek around my door and look at me. My heart cried for joy. My baby had found me again!
After a long winter, I knew he must be starving. I had a can of tuna and opened it up put it in a bowl and he tried to eat it right away but something was wrong. He could not eat. I thought he must have something stuck in his mouth. Unbelievably, he let me pick him up, put him in a box and I took him to a local vet through an organization I was volunteering with as a cat rescue person. At the vets, Pumpkin let the vet handle him, open up his mouth and pulled out a chicken bone that was perfectly stuck on the roof of his mouth! He came home with me and slept indoors from there on. We were completely married soul-to-soul for 13 years after that.
I always thought Pumpkin had some kind of handicap as after I moved from the "U" district, he would yowl just a couple of houses away. He always seemed "lost." Many times, I'd be calling out "Pumpkin!" from my window while driving my car from the "outer spokes of a wheel" back into centre (home) to help guide him back to his home. I thought of him a little bit like my autistic child. I had to truly watch out for him. I did not care what others might think, and even hoped they'd learn how to find their pets should they ever get lost! You have to really make a creative effort!
I later moved 30 miles away and he got out one night and I lost him again for another 3 months. It was a hot summer and one day I came back from the pool and, as usual, called out his name while walking to my apartment. Then at home, saw a yellow cat (there were many in the apartments) ... I thought, "It is probably not him, but I have to keep trying." So, I went outside, for the 100th time, calling his name. He began to slowly walk towards me. I thought: "Could it be?" He kept walking my way. I thought: "Oh my God, it is him." He kept walking. At a close distance, sure enough, it was Pumpkin. He was weak and timid. I had brought out some cat food when I came down. And sure enough he began to eat. I snatched him up, and once again, did not let him out for a long time.
I was going through a very tumultuous emotional and "karmic" time in my life, and unfortunately, moving went with it. With each move, I made sure he was comfortable with the area around him before letting him out. Finally, in one home, that he just loved, his sister had recently died of Lyme disease complications, seizures were consuming her and her body could not lift her weight at all. I had waited until her absolute instructions through her eyes, that it was time to put her down. I had sung to her "her song" that she always responded to, and so much love poured out from her eyes. Pumpkin missed her much more than me. Life had weighed so heavily on him after the moves and now her loss.
One weekend, a few months later, I went away for 3 days, came back on a full moon and "mercury retrograde" (for those who are not familiar, it is a reality where you don't make any big decisions, and all forms of communication go completely haywire). I was exhausted and Pumpkin was howling to go outside. I never let him out at night. I was not thinking, and so let him out. As soon as I did, I ran to the door and called him back in. He was nowhere to be found. I felt an uneasiness and fear go through me and heard the whisperings: "he will never come back to this house."
I was up till 3:00 am that night and every day thereafter looking for him. I made 300 flyers and went door-to-door, left on mailboxes. I called all the agencies. I spoke to many neighbours. I had four leads, each one, hours after his sighting. Everyone to a tee said he was darting in and out of cars on the major street, in an elementary school, under cars. All said he had a bloody eaten up tail and acted as if he was crazy. I knew it was Pumpkin. I also knew something was after him, coyotes.
We had had one flyer after another up with "missing cats" on the mailboxes. Whenever I let Pumpkin out, I only let him out for short periods of time, and only when I was home and could keep an eye on him, and usually he just stayed in the back yard that was fenced (but there were some areas to crawl out), and NEVER did I let him out at night ... except that one ill-fated night.
I contacted two different "animal intuitives"; they each had a different story, but similar enough. The second one confirmed that he had just passed away. She said that Pumpkin told her that he ran across a major street, got hit and "dogs" took him to a field and then into a forest. This was the exact setting of where I lived. Pumpkin also told the intuitive that we would recognize each other by how our chins, faces and noses would "kiss" each other. This was something I did with Pumpkin all the time. I pretended I was licking him, but putting my chin on his eyes, nose and cheeks and would make the sound of smacking my lips, like a juicy licking session. His eyes would roll up and he would be in love heaven.
One day, while grieving Pumpkin's absence, I was guided to look around and under a small hole where cats could go in and out under a fence. While inspecting this hole, I saw gobs of Pumpkin's fur all over the wooden fence. It was an obvious struggle. The scene was a bitter-sweet gift of more of "the story" and why the words: "he will never return to this house again" were spoken to me only moments after I had let him out. He was caught by a coyote on the other side of that hole and dragged out. He escaped in that moment, but his home was now, nor never would be "safe" in his memory or nervous system. I got it. It was the set up for "The Perfect Storm" on a full moon and mercury retrograde. What a colliding of chaos that ensued, just like the movie. No exit. No lifeline, just the insanity that waits until the very end, when it is all over. And then the long healing afterwards.
I would wake up in the middle of the night hearing Pumpkin's loud meow outside my bedroom window. He would not be there. It was his astral body. He was lost, his theme, so deeply engrained in my heart. My boy was "always lost"; by that I mean, in his last life I believe, he got lost, and he died that way. In this life, he always seemed like he was trying to find something, that is why he would leave, yowl and be in a bit of a trance, and then I'd have to guide him back home, safe and sound. Once inside the house, he was calm and all was right again. So, this yowl would happen many nights of the week, for at least a couple of months. This upset me terribly. He was my boy and now I had no way to help him on the other side. He was still "lost" over there.