R.I.P., 'Roo

Scat was my oldest feline companion. He died Saturday, June 19. We actually had him a year and one month longer than we thought we would. He was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease one week after his biological mother died of the same.

Scat spent a week in the hospital last summer, and was so miserable he was going downhill fast. I decided it was time to take him home. If he were going to die, it would be on his terms, where he wanted. He’d always been so fearful and anxious of leaving the house and trips to the vet; we had to have them make house calls. We ended up giving him an IV every evening, and he’d sit quietly on our lap while we watched TV and administered his meds.

Scat was our first, and so far only, cat that has never known abandonment or hardship of any kind. I rescued his mother, who (with gentle prodding from me) found her forever home with my parents. Within weeks of settling in she delivered a litter of kittens. Scat was the only one out of five siblings with a deep gray coat and black tiger strips on his legs. From days old, I held him and we bonded.

Dad noted I was the only one who could hold him without his crying and squirming away. Scat would stretch his tiny body out full-length and sleep draped across my legs. By the time he was ready to come home he was an incorrigible Mama’s Boy, transferring his affections from his biological mother to me.

Every evening he was waiting at the door for me to come home from work. He caterwauled until I could pick him up, and he never wanted to be let down unless it was onto my lap. I seriously considered a Snuggly just to have my hands free. My closest cat at that time was an once-in-a-lifetime animal companion who had been with me 17 years, through 6 moves across country, marriage, divorce and re-marriage, and bouts of serious illness.

Now she was dying, and my heart was breaking. I could tell Gogo was happy I was bonding with this new kitten, and that she knew it would make her death tolerable to me. But even she grew a bit jealous by how possessive ‘Roo was. Scat also lived 17 years. He was an incredible friend. Some of his unique qualities: His coat developed into a sharkskin suit – black on top with a glossy undercoat of pure silver. Gorgeous.

He got his name because he danced to scat and jazz music, looking just like Snoopy on those 'Charlie Brown' specials. He was the Ambassador of the house, greeting everyone and finding the perfect lap. He had a reserve of twinkle balls we called Ruby balls* that he’d bring for attention, loudly announcing his intention. When he felt it was time for us to go to bed, usually around 11 p.m., he’d walk down the hallway to the bedroom and yell until we followed. He slept in the crook of my arm. When I’d get up, he’s wait patiently until settling back down again. And he’d let us spin him on the floor as he lengthened out, longer and longer.He was such a stellar fellow.

We cremated him on a funeral pyre after a memorial service, and his ashes reside with Gogo’s. We received a dozen sympathy cards and memorial donations to animal welfare groups in his name from his friends and admirers. Despite three other cats, the house still feels rather empty. Its so unfair animals don’t live as long as we do, but the time we spend with them is heaven. *A few of his more-frequent nicknames: Rooster Cogburn Ruby Red Roo Ruby-dough Mr. Boy Dr. Scat, Stat Scatzoid Zoid-man

Amy Gray Light
True Story?: