It rained in the morning two days last week. Butler did not show up for breakfast either day. When he finally showed up for dinner on Friday, he was very weak and had lost weight; I don't know if he had eaten at all during those two days. I put him in a dog carrier (alone in the days, with his mother Smudge at night) for protection from the coyotes (one came past the hay pen during dinner on Tuesday), but his condition did not improve. He had trouble breathing through his stuffy nose; it was as if he had something blocking his throat. He seemed to know what food and water were, but was not interested in food and could not take much water.
Monday I left him out by the hay after breakfast; he had found a shady spot in the hay when I checked on him at lunch time, and had gone off to the far corner of the pen by dinner. I picked him up and put him on a hay bale, but he did not want to stay. When I talked to someone and opened the farm gate, he wandered off, probably never to be seen (alive) again.
Butler was my favorite cat. He was the first of the kittens born last spring; he was born on Saturday, and Parker and Schwarzie were born on Sunday. The other queens had their litters later. Butler would often sleep on my lap after breakfast. In the evenings, he would hunt bugs outside the shed, and talk to me while he did. (Or maybe he was talking to the bugs.) I remember the day he caught a pregnant mole; it was more than he could eat. With a shovel, I brought the liver and one of the young into the shed for the younger kittens. Sir Ed enjoyed those.
In the evenings, after I closed the gate, I would often go back by the shed. Butler was often outside chasing bugs and meowing at them. I would walk and talk to him and tell him how I would one day have a real home for him, which I thought I would.
He was a long sleeved tuxedo cat, with a bit of a moustache. Before I knew those kittens well, I distinguished the tuxedos by the color of their nose. This one was Booger -- he had a pink and black nose with a half a black mustache off to one side (The others were his sisters Pinky -- pink-nosed Parker -- and Schwarzenase). That did not seem like a good name for the cat, so I asked myself who wears a tuxedo? A butler, and the name of Butler stuck.