Well kids, I hung up the "missing" posters today, and one of our neighbors was kind enough to let us know this evening that Pim is, in fact, deceased. From what he was able to tell us, and what we know about Pim, our best guess is coyotes or some other wildlife. Of course we will never know exactly what happened, but then again I think I prefer it this way. In my mind I have formed a valiant, quick-&-painless passing and I'm sticking to it.
The Cat Daddy suggested that writing about my feelings might be cathartic, and since I have a blog and all I'm inclined to agree. So here are my thoughts an hour after the fact--
--I told God that obviously I wanted Pim to come home safely, but in the event that he had met his demise I would want to know about it so that we didn't go to Wyoming wondering. In this regard I am thankful to have the uncertainty lifted.
--In the event that he had died, I really preferred not to be the one to find him. The neighbor made the discovery very shortly before we started searching on Sunday. And he is a kind person who loves animals. He has a kitty of his own, in fact. He did a most concise and practical 'disposal,' and he broke the news to us gently. I appreciated that.
--Pim came to us as an outdoor kitty. He also came to us without front claws. We weighed the risk of letting him continue to be an outdoor kitty without his natural defenses, but had decided that we would rather have a happy cat with a shorter lifespan than a long-lived cat who was sad 'cuz we made him stay inside when he preferred to be out. By our calculations he was at the very least 10 years old. So we're thankful that he had a happy and diverse life, traversing the country with us.
--The Cat Daddy's pseudonym may be up for reconsideration; I haven't decided. Depends on when we get a new pet and what sort of pet it turns out to be. Just to narrow it down, it will be a dog or cat...so please don't try to sell me your ferret.
--I've lost pets before. The nature of pets is that we generally outlive them by quite a bit. So while I'm sad, I'm comforted by having been thru the pet grief process before.
--My theology on the pet afterlife is highly unconventional. I don't buy into that "they don't have souls" business...I happen to think they all go to heaven. Willful ignorance? Perhaps...but we can't know for sure in this life. As to the spiritual status of nondomesticated animals, it's beyond my scope of expertise. I have my guesses, but I really cannot say for sure.
That's about all I've got at the moment. Let's all think nice kitty thoughts and give a "hear, hear" for our good buddy Pim...