We are cat people. We have one cat who actually belongs to us, SheWhoAggravates. SWA is a Siamese whom we adopted from our local Humane Society. She is a totally-indoor cat. We have also managed to somehow acquire other cats from the neighborhood, who have come to regard us as their family. We feed them, take care of them, and love them, but they remain outdoor cats. We have long called the Offspring "the cat herder" because they all flock to her. She has that natural touch with animals, and has stated since the age of five that she plans to be a vet when she grows up. We've all grown very fond of our kitties -- Blackie, Grady, and Bushy. Offspring named them -- Blackie (she's black), Grady (he's gray), and Bushy (for her fluffery tail.) Blackie and Grady appeared at about the same time -- maybe word travelled on the cat network that these people were suckers for cats, and they had extra food. Both of these cats had been neglected, and we think Blackie had been outright abused. It took a long time for both to trust us, and to approach us without fear. Bushy was another story.
Bushy appeared about six months ago, skulking around the food bowls when she thought no one was home. She would tear off the minute we approached, and acted terrified if we made the slightest movement towards her. The other kitties would try and chase her away from the food bowl, sensing an interloper, but Offspring always made sure Bushy had her own little bit of food, and didn't have to fight the other two in order to eat. Bushy was getting to the place where she realized that we were good people -- we fed her, after all -- but was still not quite convinced that we weren't going to hurt her. We were firmly convinced that she had been very badly treated.
Yesterday, when we got home from school, Bushy was waiting for us on our porch with Blackie and Grady. (The cats have long since stopped caring that Bushy was hanging around...) We went through our feeding routine, and Bushy slunk to the hedge to watch. I tried to approach her, and she backed away. She didn't run this time, but she obviously didn't know what I was up to. I settled for leaving her in peace to eat.
On the way out of the door this morning, JF discovered Bushy had been run over in the night. Some poor excuse for a human being ran this poor, mistreated animal over, and left her to die in my front yard. JF managed to warn me before the Offspring saw her, but when I told her, she was just inconsolable. We plan to bury Bushy in the backyard this evening. We may not have been able to convince her during her lifetime that we were Nice People, but we'll at least give her a place to rest amongst our other much-loved family pets.