Well, Foxinator did stop by that weekend to give me her expert opinion which was, “Yep. Two eyes.” Our working theory is that my rather cursory and inept examination of the eye socket missed the fact that there was still a working eye in it. We think that there was a remnant of eye lid or a strip of ripped-up forehead skin that covered the eye and then scabbed up with everything else. When the scab finally fell off it took that now dead piece of skin with it, revealing the eye that had been hidden behind it all along.
Zombie Cat could even still see out of it a little. There was no peripheral vision or hearing on that side, but for a thirteen year old barn cat that is not so bad. However, we all decided the cat’s name had still been officially upgraded from Pirate Cat to Zombie Cat because 1) he had scared the shit out of me 2) he had forced me to really think about the potential of a Zombie Apocalypse and resolve to improve my preparedness 3) the cat really had started looking like a zombie because of his age and his scars, and 4) it made a terrifically fun story to tell around summer bonfires to freak the kids out.
Sadly, as Zombie Cat got older he got even skinnier and more grizzled looking, patches of fur were missing. I felt sorry for old man Zombie and fed him choice table scraps once in a while to fatten him up (I even sneaked bacon crumbs away from the Curmudgeon – shhh! don’t tell!), but he continued to be skeletal and patchy, which really sort of fit him anyway. We were all waiting for the day he would not show up to be fed, but he kept right on living in spite of our worries. (OK, my worries, obviously Curmudgeon didn’t worry – “a cat is a cat, just a mouse-killing machine, and they are all evil and not to be trusted.”)
So old man Zombie Cat made it to sixteen before the winter got to him. I maintain that in his skeletal state he had trouble staying warm and was probably crouched behind my car one morning getting cozy next to the exhaust while the car warmed up… when I came out of the house in a hurry because I was late for work, jumped in the car, crammed it into reverse, and shot out of there with nary a bump.
Later in the day A.C. called me at work to tell me that one of the kiddos had gone out to feed the chickens and immediately ran right back in, excited to tell him that Zombie Cat had finally died of a heart attack in the driveway. So they went to view the body curled up in the frozen tire track in the snow. “Yep. Heart attack.” he said to the kid, bless his heart, “I’ll take care of it.” which he did. Good Husband.
Goodbye Short Bus Kitty aka Short Ears aka Pirate Cat aka Zombie Cat, your legend lives on.