Rome was a cuddler. The kind of cat kids love.
He didn’t mind being on the receiving end of the odd tail pull or other indignity a young child might hand out.
He loved to meow, to make his presence known but was well-loved despite the sometimes irritating tendency.
Kim and Jason Chambers brought Rome home from the SPCA nine years ago when he was just four weeks old.
He has lived with them since, the past five years at their home on 25th Street NE.
His routine was to spend much of the day sleeping and go outside at night. Some days he would stay out all night, others he would come in part way through, then head out again.
On Sunday, Sept. 1 at 1:30 a.m. the couple heard Rome meow, just once. Usually when he comes back at night, he scratches to come in.
They found him close by.
“He was laying at the top of our stairs on the deck; we noticed blood underneath him and he was gasping for air,” says Kim.
By the time they got him to the car to take him to the veterinarian, Rome was gone.
“My poor husband had to take him to the vet by himself because we couldn’t leave the kids.”
Kim says they thought maybe a raccoon or other animal had attacked him. But what the vet found was a perfectly round hole. An X-ray determined the cat had been shot – and confirmed it was by a pellet, not a bullet.
“He told us because it went through our cat’s lung, he wouldn’t have survived very long, so he would have had to have been close to our deck for us to find him.”
That hasn’t been comforting to know.
“We’re terrified that something else could happen to our other cat, somebody else’s cat or our kids. We don’t know if it was somebody walking by – if it was, why are they out in the middle of the night carrying a pellet gun?”
They also know that Rome – who was named when they got him – never travelled far. They know he would go across the road to the neighbours’ place as well as to the neighbours next door.
“He didn’t go very far. He was pretty afraid of vehicles and people he didn’t know.”
Since he died, the Chambers have spoken to their neighbours who are shocked. They didn’t hear anything that night.
Kim and Jason also contacted the RCMP, who have spoken to the neighbours as well. Kim says the officer told them that unless they receive more reports of something similar happening to an animal, or damage to property in the neighbourhood, there’s not much to go on.
“They said if anyone hears or sees anything, to contact them.”
Meanwhile, Kim says she and Jason are not doing great, holding it together for their two young children.
“Trying to explain to a two-year-old their cat is gone is not easy. The first thing on Sunday morning when he woke up, he said, ‘Where’s Rome? He used to have a basket he slept in…” Kim explains. “As hard as it is for a two-year-old to understand, he sees how sad Mommy and Daddy are. We have explained Rome got hurt and he won’t be coming back.”
They have another cat, Grayson, who’s also missing him.
Kim wants to warn the public as well as make a plea to whoever shot their beloved cat.
“We want to let people know and hopefully, if it’s a random thing, maybe the person will see it and think twice before they do that again.
“The pellet went through his lung and the vet said, had it hit his heart, he would have been dead instantly. Apparently pellets are pretty powerful.”