And Edward also writes: Well mention to Sky that
there will be many more enjoying
and affected by the magic.... I post the column teasers now
also in that frenetic Facebook whirled where I now have 726
and counting "facebook friends". I suspect most of them will
enjoy the adventure
When Cloudy Gray died suddenly
in late September 2006, there was a great
emptiness at our home, a profound loneliness, a very depthy
settled in to await her Return. [Yes, indeed, we believe in
That.] In the meantime,
little Wooly Cat, advanced in years, took up and carried things
as best she could
until she, too, passed on in late March 2008.
The other night, I was awakened by a small but jarring crash in
Arising immediately, I was not surprised to note, in the dim of our
that Sky Gray had pulled and shaken several things from the lower
my major office bookshelf -- in her by now well established goal
of reaching its
very top, crammed with many items of interest. Her sense of
progression is, frankly, splendid and she pursues all of her
goals in a systematic
step by step fashion -- seeking to remove one obstacle after
In this instance, as in many others around the house, Eldri and I
amiably bolstered The Defenses yet again -- consistently petting our
Kitty. And I finally went back to sleep, soon joined as always by
very closely cuddling Sky. Several high up dimensions in our living
bookcases --large and heavy notebooks full of personal papers and
-- are "protected" by crushed-up newspapers in grocery bags,
more to gently
discourage and safeguard her than the encased archival contents.
We've often said, now for almost half a century, that we'd much,
have our quite intelligent, if occasionally a bit problematic,
offspring and emergent
grandchildren -- than docile and pliant creatures. And that, of
course, also holds
quite true for our Furry Friends.
Sky, from the first moment of our encounter at the local animal
became an extremely special personage. This great and signal
was super stimulated by an "out of the blue" and overwhelming
feeling by me on a
Thursday at the end of last April -- a powerful awareness that our
late Cloudy was, for whatever reason, unable to reach us in her new
And that great burst of light was followed less than three days
later by the equally
powerful feeling on my part that we
should get to the animal shelter first thing
the following morning, Monday.
And we did just that -- well before it opened for business.
And there, of course, we encountered the litter of four playing
had been deposited by their owner -- on that just past Thursday when
exactly two months old. Immediately, Sky saw me, stopped and looked
intently for a
moment, then separated herself from her three still-playful
began to frenetically climb the bars on the cage, again and
again, outstretching one paw.
And so, Sky Gray came home with us. [Her three siblings were all
within two or three days.]
She is now about nine months old, still in the process of all-around
filling out with naturally deliberate speed. Although her overall
demeanor resemble that of Cloudy -- long body, very powerful legs,
broadening head and comparably spaced conspicuous ears with black
tufts, long whiskers, the beginnings of a winter ruff, and a deep
throated purr, there
are some physical differences. Her eyes are, at least at this
point, a lighter shade
of green and her fur is considerably shorter. Some of her leg
suggestive of some of Cloudy's -- but only Sky's basically white
contains the black spots common to Bobcat heritage.
Her leaps are truly tremendous. Awesome.
And, like Cloudy, while she gets along nicely with all family
human; other furrys -- feline and canine and rabbit; and the turtle
is, most definitely, a One Person Cat.
And that, of course, is me.
And that's just how we both like it.
I am only infrequently out of her sight -- though she sometimes does
her afternoon nap in a secluded "cubbyhole." Obviously psychic
like Cloudy, and capable of the very same steady quasi-hypnotic
she "takes care" of me with the greatest faithfulness and
affection, day and night. We regularly eat breakfast together -- as
was the case with
Cloudy -- next to one another at the table. Since Sky has a marked
preference for can-fresh tuna, so now do I.
She is mostly always with me.
Even at my computer -- helping at the key board, seeking to grab
the mouse, and frequently endeavoring to catch the cursor [both on
the monitor screen, and occasionally reaching a paw behind it.]
She has had all of her shots -- and through a glitch at the vet's --
rabies shots. She's been spayed -- an occasion comparable for us
understandably high tension that always occurs when an offspring is
And, like Cloudy, she has, of course, an obvious Bobcat strain.
was half Bobcat, Sky is less so -- probably about one quarter.
A quite respectable blood degree.
On that note, I am always a little surprised at the few people who
proclaim that Bobcats and Domestics cannot inter-breed and
cast no aspersions on their skeptical motives but their conclusions
puzzling. Years ago, with respect to Cloudy, I wrote this [now
edited] on a discussion list peopled by those with full-blooded and
mixed-blood feline entities:
"This is the first time I've posted on this very interesting List.
Native American, with a life-long background in wilderness settings.
. . .
It's always been my understanding that Domestic cats and Bobcats,
Domestic cats and Lynx, can easily interbreed and I've certainly
offspring. . . Usually, this is a night-time relationship with the
participants not inclined to compose and file documents. I'm a
little surprised at the
skepticism on this that's emerged.
We have a six and a half year old mix [Cloudy] -- a female from a
that developed in Northern Minnesota. I should add that not only are
the Bobcat features
striking but so are certain behaviorisms. She's been spotted as
substantially Bobcat -- without our saying a word -- by several
Her coat is Bobcat -- with Bobcat markings. Her ears are tufted --
feet are quite tufted between her toes. Her head and face are
are green. Her tail is long. Her back legs are unusually long and
powerful -- and she runs in huge leaps and bounds, climbing a tree
seconds. She's a one-person cat [me] and can get extremely quirky in
temperament around any other people. She is very quick to use her
. . Our vet, who spotted the Bobcat heritage the first time Cloudy
has advised that she be kept leashed while outside and we generally
that advice. Bobcats and Housecats mate and reproduce easily -- and
Bobcats often come
close to and even into what some people call "civilization" -- thus
encountering Housecats. Maine "Coon Cats" and "Norwegian Forest
Cats" come out of this
kind of mix of House Cats and Wild Cats. Bobcats [or Wildcats]
weigh between 15 and 25
There are Bobcats [and Mountain Lions as well] very close to our
here in Eastern Idaho. Perhaps we'll find Cloudy a relationship and
blood offspring. But she will always be with us. In fact, she camps
computer whenever I'm here.
Anyway, no question in our mind -- or anyone else's. We don't see
Well, very sadly indeed, we never were able to find Cloudy her
Bobcat mate -- but we do
have her in full reality yet again. And, one of these days, we shall
once more have
our faithful Little Wooly who left us late last March [We shall
always be grateful for the many fine
notes of condolence and
encouragement in each of these losses -- and for those happy ones
So now a Great Canyon has been traversed -- reaching out from one
far and shining rim to the other.
And a Broken Circle is restored.
In the mountains of Eastern Idaho
Nialetch / Onen
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
COMMENTS: [MUCH MORE SKY GRAY MATERIAL
LIES BELOW THIS COMMENT SECTION]
Hunter, what an inspirational piece to wake up to this Sunday
morning. I will have no second thoughts today, about continuing my
pattern of very, very occasional Church attendance, in favor of
meeting a client in crisis this AM. With your permission, the
spiritual message contained herein, may at some point comfort a
grieving parent. I believe as you do, Broken Circles will be
restored. Thank you.
I love your writing style, Hunter. Cassia does, too.
You have the storyteller's gift.
I'm one of those folks who believes in the
Return, too: dog, housecats -- everyone. In many cultures, it's common
to say of a newborn child, "Grandfather has returned." In my family, we
typically named all our dogs the same name because we sensed they had
returned to us.
I did a radio
interview tonight and my research on early Christian reincarnation
beliefs came up, as it always does.
I haven't really studied it, but I suspect
reincarnation is a commonly held Native American belief, yes?
At the moment I am without the eloquence with which you eulogized Cloudy
Gray--but later I hope to write about my little beloved Merry Christmas, who
came to me November 28, 2001 and left today. Two weeks ago she started
sneezing awfully and stopped eating altogether. We never could coax any
more water or food into her--all her favorite smelly stuff. She was from
the brambles, ledge and woods of southeastern Connecticut. Our office had a
broken cellar window and she must have been trying to get away from some
other wild critter and jumped through that glass down into a moldy
basement. We wound up taking her home--and she became more like a dog,
sometimes. Her favorite spot was the stove top--and she was our black 5
o'clock AM alarm clock--without fail. All day yesterday we kept our
fireplace going for her, and she stayed in front there--hardly able to walk
anywhere else. The vet said it was most likely cancer. I have always had
my cats a long time--Paha Sapa at 18 1/2 years. We had Merry Christmas for
only 7. I miss her layouts on the computer keyboard--a sure signal that she
wanted more attention. She purred for us right up to the end.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your happiness with your new cat. I thought I
had saved your recent email about how you got her at the shelter--but
evidently I lost it. Maybe we will be lucky enough to be mightily moved--or
called--to the animal shelter to find another reincarnation of our wonderful
cat--in the tradition of Groucho--that tuxedo cat you and Eldri gave us a
long time ago.
Alice M. Azure
Maryville, IL 62062
Response By Hunter:
We are all extremely sorry, Alice, to
hear of the passing of Merry Christmas. Only people who incorporate
Furry Friends into the family in the fullest sense -- well beyond
the status of simple "pets" -- can even sense the poignancy when one
of them passes on.
We do understand.
You may have to wait awhile -- we waited
for about a year and a half before the Feeling suddenly enveloped me
-- and a few days later Sky was home. It'll happen, some way, some
how -- just as Merry Christmas suddenly appeared.
Each day after her passing, I spent a
minute or two talking to Cloudy. Now we await our good little
Sky runs and jumps in great leaps and bounds -- as
did Cloudy. And she has, more than any feline we've ever known, the
most frequent, loud and compelling cry/yowl -- especially when there is
something she desires. [And, of course, she always gets Whatever,
MAY 28 2008:
We were pretty certain of this when Sky came
-- and now, after a month with her, we definitely are: We have
[Navajo for Bobcat.] Sky is most obviously
We'd love Sky, no matter who or what she is.
From the moment of our very strange connection, it's quite clear that I am
definitely her person and rarely out of her sight -- but she gets along very
well with every family member here, whether Human or Furry. She's obviously
extremely intelligent, intuitive to the point of being psychic, extremely
strong and active. She's grown considerably in less than a month. Taking
no chances on anything, we keep her indoors, of course, and she's already
been to our vet for additional shots and checkup. Aside from one slightly
sensitive eye area -- most likely because of the considerable dust around
these parts and even within our 'way up high home and for which the vet has
given us salve -- she's in top-flight physical condition.
She looks and acts very much like Cloudy.
She does have a thick, shorter coat. She can often wave her tail as wildly as did Cloudy.
And, like Cloudy, she often
seeks out very "hidden" places and high perches -- leaving those, however,
if I should momentarily leave her view.
And she consistently takes very good care of me.
Her ears are tall and distinctive, heavily furred therein, and
tipped with black tufts. [This latter point is not too easily seen in photos
but is conspicuous to anyone viewing her directly and up-close.] Her whiskers are long,
her body long and lean, and she has longish and powerful legs. Her paws are
proportionately large. Her eyes are green. Her white underside is
characterized by a number of dark and rounded spots common to some species of wild
felines, including Bobcats.
And when Sky purrs, which is often, it's like
Cloudy's: very deep, gravelly.
Bobcat/Domestic Kitty mixes are not especially
There are Bobcats aplenty all around here -- as there are in the Red River
of the North region [North Dakota and Minnesota], Cloudy's point of origin.
Mountain Lions, vastly larger than Bobcats, are plentiful hereabouts,
occasionally entering the outlying parts of Pocatello. You can bet
the even more numerous Bobcats,
not nearly as easily seen, do this far more often and go further into
town than Lions. Generally, these wilderness friends wisely
travel under cover of darkness.
We always wondered what our great little Cloudy --
who came to us when she was a year or so old -- had been like as a kitten.
Now we know.
SKY GRAY [MID-MAY
APRIL 28 2008:
My bedroom office has now been completely
taken over by Sky Gray -- a female kitten exactly two months old. She's
sharp, intuitive, active -- and, as I say, domineering. Taking that a
step further, it's clear from her behavior that she owns me.
She's also taken over every place in the
room that was a favorite of Cloudy's, save one -- and she'll probably
be into that one, the closet, before the day's over. She seems
especially fond of my cushioned office chair, which was Cloudy's great
It's been a long time since Cloudy left us
-- in late September, 2006. The void that remained for all of us was,
as most know, enormous -- especially for me. A month ago, good plucky
little Wooly, who had valiantly taken up Cloudy's support roles re
myself, died after a long [but not painful] illness. Like Cloudy, she
carried on her work to the very end of her life.
I had decided that, if no little stray came
to our door by, say, June, we would go to the city/county animal shelter
and see if we could locate someone -- with the understanding that, if a
little wanderer later arrived, we would open our door.
And then suddenly, last Thursday, I was
enveloped by a powerful feeling -- even as I was watching the political
news on the tube. The feeling was, at one level, a great sense of
lonliness and loss with respect to Cloudy. And then a deeper level
surfaced, transcending everything. I called our family members together
and told them, "I have an extremely strong sense that Cloudy is
tremendously distressed, distressed because she cannot make it back to
I was somber, even brooding
uncharacteristically -- until, again suddenly, early Sunday afternoon,
I had another powerful feeling. So again I said to our family members,
"We have to go to the animal shelter tomorrow morning -- just as soon as
Four of us, Eldri, Maria, Josie and I went
there first thing this morning. [Josie, with a bad cold, had taken the
morning off from her social work job.]
And there we found a litter of four very
young kittens. Two of them, kind of tabby-like, but with distinctive
black markings, drew our attention. Both were females. But only one of
those, upon seeing me, climbed frenetically up the wire on the cage
door, again and again, her paw outstretched. When I held her, she went
wild with joy.
And that's mutual.
You'll have to draw your own conclusions.
We've drawn ours. I named her Sky -- Sky Gray -- which isn't, of
course, that far from Cloudy Gray.
While we were completing the paperwork, I
asked one of the key staffers, "When did this litter come in?"
She thought for a moment, "Thursday," she
said. "It was definitely Thursday."
Lois Chaffee: So there is something to
reincarnation. I always suspected it. And I share your pleasure that
Cloudy's spirit has found its way back to you. It would give me
great joy to find Suzy again, in some body or other. Regards, Lois.
Sheila Michaels: Just to say you should never ignore
those signs & feelings. Looks like you got the right cat. May you
both enjoy a long life together.
Reber Boult: Kittens from the shelter, or who were
otherwise abandoned, have been really fine additions to our family.
David McReynolds: Good news -
and I send the report on to my little cat list. Welcome to Sky Gray,
we hope for further reports.
Sam Friedman: This is wonderful news! Both our cats came
from the local shelter, and are very caring too. Sky Gray sounds
like a terrific kitten.
Hunter Gray: Virtually every animal friend we've ever
had, cat or dog, has been either a stray or in some way abandoned.
We're not a bit critical, of course, of pet stores. Once Maria got a
kitty from a Grand Forks pet store who produced a number of litters
and who is known in legend as Momma Cat. Her daughter, Wiggle, had
at least 12 litters, including at the end, our late Wooly and her
still surviving brother, Acoma. Cloudy was a wanderer who made her
way resolutely to us. Our dog, Hunter, was a stray who came and ate
spilled rabbit food in our then open garage; we got the Australian
cattle dog, Homer, via the animal shelter. [That was their name for
him so we kept the moniker.] We also have a very venturesome cat,
Django, [named for Django Rhinehart, the gypsy musician whose "swing
music" so infuriated Hitler -- and concurrently Django Mulholland,
one of Joan's sons. ] Django came to us as a kitten [then named
Dodger], brought by a young Sioux woman desperate to find a home for
him -- since she'd been told by the UND dorm people that she
couldn't keep him. We haven't had kittens for give-away for a long
time, but that could change. Whenever we have had litters, we've
been very careful to whom they went, and have always had a complete
My great coyote, Good, was saved from a large litter in the Nebraska
sandhills, killed for bounty via the county courthouse.
Maria, I should add, often does volunteer work at the animal
Good to get the best wishes and/or good thoughts on all of this from
all of you. Been a very good day.
You're quite right, David.
Looking back from higher ground one can see the rough and
tangled uphill turf through which we all have come. But
looking ahead, we obviously still need our mountain boots.
And, of course, we always will. [On the ages-old struggle
for human rights.]
On a more localized and sunny
note, a signal void has been well filled here with the
arrival of the Kitty. It's been a good while since we have
had a kitten in our nest. In keeping us all on our toes,
she's making us younger -- and refueling our basic optimism.
I often wish I were a Cat.
And thanks very much for putting
the good news on your Cat List. We all need to know from
kindred spirits that good things can happen, that -- as we
said when Cloudy passed away, "It will all be all right."
Our very best,
DAVID MCREYNOLDS TO HUNTER:
There is nothing in this
world quite like a kitten. I am delighted she has come
into your life. (And you into hers!).
HUNTER TO DAVID MCREYNOLDS [IN
RESPONSE TO PHOTOS OF CATS]
Rustie is a great Cat -- and
obviously a firm and sparky Socialist!
No one knows better than people
like ourselves that relationships with Cats are powerfully
intuitive. It doesn't matter a whit whether the Kitty is
mixed or pedigreed. If it works for us and our Cats, that's
the bottom line.
Sky awakened me at 1 am because
she was lonely, After playing with her for a time, I
adjourned for some coffee and water. When I returned, she
was sound asleep. But, as you note, I'm much awake.
She sounds like your very fine
Shaman. You both are quite fortunate and Rustie and the
Socialist Party both benefit from their mutual presence.
Take care, amigo. A Cat, of
course, is not just a Cat -- the the invisible spirt forces
work hard, I believe, to arrange proper match-ups.
With our wonderful new
addition, Sky, having romped earlier this morning and
now returned to slumberland [briefly], I'll see if I can
get this off smoothly and with dispatch. She's
fascinated by the computer -- or anything I'm doing --
and tries to assist me in anything I take on.
It's worth mentioning that
she looks very much like Cloudy in some significant
ways: e.g., tallish ears with black tufts. Not as much
fur, at least at this point. Some behavioral patterns
unique to Cloudy are quite evident to all of us. We'll
have photos as soon as we can get Josie's digital
properly hooked up to a computer. [Their's recently
crashed.] Sky's arrival has been a major, major boost
for me -- and for all of us here. . .
Good to read about Sky
Gray.. and how it was all arranged.
My late mother had a similar
experience many years ago in Sweden with Jussi, a dog
that joined the household about a week after Oswald her
trusty old guard dog was run over by a car. She suddenly
just "knew" that she had to go and get the dog from a
family that couldn't keep it for reasons of travel
abroad. She told us it was a very strong feeling that
just cancelled her previously definite decision not to
get a new dog.
We're wired for much more
than we think we know. No doubt about it.
Any pictures of Sky?
PS Saw something new on the
weekend at the country place: a mother squirrel carrying
its young in her mouth from its nest, or whatever it's
called, under our roof to a new nest in the forest.
Three of them, one at a time, with the mother following
exactly the same route each time. Quite a sight. Even
temporarily changed my view of squirrels as pests making
themselves cosy in the insulation layer of our roof. I
made sure no one was left, and put in some stronger
metal netting. The squirrel had chewed and clawed its
way through the old one.
October is a wonderful month
in much of this country. Sounds like a good time to
me! [Sycamore Canyon trek]. And, a big plus, you will
miss less of Sky's brief kittenhood by waiting.
God bless you Hunter--
I was looking forward to it too-- always good to hear from
Stay wise and journey when the time is right.
Robert B. Livingston
Glad to hear the news about your
new family member, Sky,
and hoping you regain strength in all ways soon, Hunter.
Loved your description. Dale
My all good wishes for your
newest family member, Hunter!
Sky is a very light-filled name, lovely.
Out of touch, apologies. Taking care of my parents.
I'm very happy for you that you found Sky. I've
had my eyes peeled for a long while.
Dear Hunter, Thank you for
letting me know about your health. You inspire me
with your courage in keeping the fight up. I was really
pleased to read that you
have Sky. My darling Patch keeps me sane. When she is
lying against my leg I can feel the energy of the universe.
It is good to know such a spirit near you.
So here's looking foreward to a walk in the canyon in the
Fall. Barbara Svedberg
Your email of April 28 about
the "new" Sky Gray was wonderful. That previous weekend, we
had been up to Geneseo to see Patti and her husband, Dave,
and to go to their son Bo's piano recital. On the
night-stand in our guest bedroom was a picture of
that wonderful cat we got from you and Eldri--Groucho--a
tuxedo cat; Patti was holding him in that little picture.
He was a special cat. He died the day Patti got married in
1988. Our current cat, Merry Christmas--who found me in
southeastern Connecticut, is another little queen. Her
specialty is licking plates--and cheese, and she prefers to
sleep under the covers on my side of the bed.
Wonderful photo of a very smart
looking cat. You better treat Sky right, or I expect
all the local cats will show up with picket signs and
fancy slogans to meow and hiss at you! And then the
lovely mountain air will reek of cat breath, and much
woe will be upon the land.
Sending a copy to my cat list
- the web site has the photo of the kitten, with
Invaluable for cat people.
Hunter, Thank you for sending this.
She is beautiful and I loved the poem. Barbara
to comment on your webpage for Cloudy – I read it completely
and ended with tears in my eyes over the loss of such a
wonderful companion – I’m so sorry for you and then to lose
your other one this year – it hardly seems fair. You wrote
a beautiful and very touching tribute to Cloudy. I’m so
happy that she has returned to you in the newer form of Sky.
We had quite a discussion a while back on the intuitive
abilities of our cats – your description of Cloudy and Sky
is just another point in it’s confirmation of their psychic
AND SEE PREVIOUS PAGE
FOR CLOUDY GRAY: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]
Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the
junipers and sage, on the game trails,
in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the high windy
ridges -- and
they dance from within the very essence of our own inner being. They do this
when the bright night moon shines down on the clean white snow that covers
and its surroundings. Then it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft
and remembering way.