May 3, 2017: I found Flo in my yard

~by Louis Templeman

I found Flo in my yard. He would not respond to the clapping of my hands. Usually, he comes running. I walked out to him. Judging by where he was, he did not look like he’d come from the State Road in front of my house – where too many animals die violently. It looked like he’d come from the back yard or across the street, his daytime haunts. When he would tire of my food, he would check out the neighbors who he had seduced shortly after I moved out here. His world included more than just me. But now, it’s me he comes to.

When I looked closer and touched him, there was blood coming from his mouth. And, patches of blood around the spot where he had lain writhing. It did not look like a dog attack. It must have been whatever was lodged or grown in his throat; a hemorrhage, maybe (he had been gagging and coughing for a month). The doctor thought it could be a sand spur, or dehydration. We tried to attend to him medically. My love for him urged me to spend a lot more money than I had. I was glad to do it. I have put him in a large box with one of my work shirts. He loved to follow me around as I worked the flower beds. He would roll over on his back, between me and my plants, as if to say, “you going to scratch my belly, or mess with these stupid plants. Which is it?”

I brought him into the house. It is air conditioned. I can talk to him and pet him. But, he is going. It is sad as hell. There is a stray that comes around now. Ever since Flo has been sick, he has had more opportunity to catch the gravy train. I will keep feeding him. I don’t really want to; I hesitate getting close to another animal, the way I feel now. I have been in Oceanway, Florida, for a little over three years and I have lost the three cats I brought with me. He is not breathing now. I guess I will bury him tomorrow when the rain is over. By the magnolia. I’ll remember him every time I fertilize or water it. And, I suppose I will keep feeding Felix. Flo cannot fight to keep his larger share of the food, anymore. Goodbye Flotsam, my favorite kitty. I’ll feed Felix the rest of your food; then, we’ll see where that goes.


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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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