Saturday, May 25, 2013
In Which I Eulogize a Damn Cat
When I was about 22 years old, my friend and coworker, Joelle, somehow inherited a female cat named Elizabeth. Joelle, in her uniquely Joelle way, renamed Elizabeth to Lizard and brought her into her home where she had a male cat named Chewie (I think Chewie had been renamed from Charles or something...). Chewie and Lizard had too much to drink one night, or fell prey to some other kitty romance and some time later Lizard had a big old litter.
Maura (my wonderful friend and roommate) agreed that our home was down about a quart of kitty and so we brought home both Lizard and her little black baby which we were, having enjoyed too many Mel Brooks movies, initially planned on naming "Schvartze." Better angels prevailed, and we noticed the kitty's propensity for scrapping, and we decided to call her "Scrapper."
Maura recently reminded me that kitty Scrapper had a tendency to scale our screendoor and get caught. So you'd open the door and here was this cute little black cat stuck midway up the screendoor, yowling. It was hilarious.
Lizard died. Maura fell in love and moved in with the man who's now her husband and Scrapper moved with me. Oh, you guys, the boyfriends Scrapper saw me through!
Once my father was petting Scrapper, who was always very scrappy, and midway through a stroke, Scrapper bit him. Dad was hella pissed. But I said, "Look, she lets you know when she's fixing to bite. It's not her fault you weren't paying attention." Dad was unimpressed.
My mother always liked Scrapper despite her allergies. I think for a long time, Mom thought Scrapper was the only grand"child" I would provide her. Speaking of allergies, when Don and I moved in together 14 years ago, I told him not to worry, "She's pretty old and won't be around for much longer." Poor old Don suffered from allergies for 14 years.
When Laney first laid eyes on Scrapper she screamed in bloody, abject terror. Laney was so terrified, Joelle had to hold onto Scrapper for a few days. But when I brought Scrapper home, Laney was glad to see her. They've been pretty good buds since then, despite Scrapper propensity for jumping onto Laney's head in the middle of the night. Damn cat.
She was a damn cat. She knew exactly what she wanted and if you didn't provide it, she would make manifest her displeasure with you. She bit my father, made my mother and husband miserable, and terrified and then irritated my daughter. She would wake up in the middle of the night and start yowling wondering why no one was paying attention to her at 3:00 am. I loved her despite her epic capacity for being a royal pain in the ass. She was an epic pain in the ass. That cat pissed me off. I loved her.
When I took her to the vet today, all of us knew what was going to happen - the very sweet veterinary assistant (whose comforting hugs I will always be grateful for) and very sweet vet and me. We all knew that it was time for Scrapper, who had almost no muscle mass left, who was deaf and hadn't eaten or used the litter box in a week, to die. But, oh lord, I was ugly crying the whole time.
Scrapper's last act before shuffling off her mortal coil was to bite the shit out of me, when the vet gave her a sedative. That was Scrapper. Scrappy to the very end. And, thus, I am eulogizing my cat. Who I've had for half my life. And now she's gone.