Two nights ago a coyote came into my backyard and killed my cat. I have to say I've been really impressed with the way I'm dealing with it and I just realized why.
When it happened I was wracked with guilt. I allowed her to stay out all night whenever she wanted. She was an old cat who had developed persistent health problems. She had been very healthy until fairly recently and had always been a mellow cat, not a fighter or hunter or even very adventurous. She never even left our yard. She simply loved to be outside during the summer, like so many of us do. Enjoying the sunshine before it's too hot and then later the nice cool evenings. I'm the same, I get it, it's a beautiful season until the heat becomes too much. Who would ever want to live inside all their lives? Sounds awful.
I know a lot of people who feel the same way, about their cats I mean. They know there's a chance of danger (cars, wild animals, even the pets of others) but they want to give their cat a whole and happy life.
Sad things happen. At first I was comforted that at least she was in one piece. (Which came after the strange horror/relief that at least she had been left in my yard where I could find her and know this for certain.) I didn't have to try to convince myself for a week or a month that she hadn't just wandered off or being left maimed and suffering somewhere I could never find her, not wanting to really face the most likely truth. So in a way this tragedy happened in the best possible way.
I also knew that she wouldn't have to suffer being more and more sickly and more and more yucky trips to the vet. And that she had had a good life and been very happy in the time leading up to her death. She had felt free and brave enough to stay out all night. This is a cat who used to hide under the bed whenever a stranger was around. But who had finally gotten so comfortable and tough with my bigger dog that she had swatted at his butt the other day, totally provoking him, and then gave him a disgusted look when he protested. I like that my cat was so happy and comfortable doing what she pleased, what a great role model to have. I'm very sad that she's gone but I'm going to be proud of her and myself for being willing to brave the risks.