Some cats are just cool. I don’t mean “cool” as in aloof. I mean “cool” as in just plain cool. The kind of cool that would translate in human terms to convertibles and surf boards. Our little tabby cat, Scout, was that kind of cool.
She adopted us one winter evening – coming out of the woods on the side of the road and following my partner home, not terribly perturbed by her own dire situation. She sat patiently, tail curled around her feet, on our side deck while we debated whether or not to let her stay. Even at that moment, she made it seem like staying was her decision.
And I think it was her decision, ultimately. She was just that sort of cat. Everything she did was on her terms. I know many people could describe their cats this way, but Scout was different. Truly. She possessed a unique combination of bravery, playfulness, and love.
She demonstrated all of these characteristics in her nightly walks around the block with my partner and our dog, Sasha. Shadows were her friends as she darted in and out of the darkness. She followed like a loyal and brave dog, purring and rolling around contentedly on the still-warm pavement of our neighbors’ driveways, scurrying quickly into the underbrush if a car approached and emerging triumphant after it passed. It was an amazing site that made us feel proud and special to have such a brave and true soul in our family.
We debated briefly about whether or not it was wise to let Scout take the nightly walks, but it was never our question to answer. Dangers lurk everywhere in our lives, and we can’t truly live if we base our decisions on the fear of what might happen. So, she walked. Joyously. For almost 3 years.
Two weeks ago, Serendipity, whom I’m so fond of writing about (or fate, or destiny, or the random chaos of the universe, or whatever you want to call it), brought together our sweet tabby cat and a speeding truck tire. The truck was loud. She couldn’t see it from her hiding place. She darted out in front of it as she made an ill-planned sprint for home. She didn’t have a chance and died almost immediately in my partner’s arms. The pain and sadness has been amplified by the senselessness of the whole thing.
The sharp-edged grief of the last two weeks has slowly dulled to a nagging sadness. I see her everywhere and miss her glowing green eyes greeting me from behind the fence when I get home and the sound of the cat door slapping back and forth when she’s bolted through it at mach speeds. In my stronger moments, I remember and smile at all the joy Scout brought to our lives and all the joy she must have felt in her short life. I’m grateful to her for all that she taught me, but I am most grateful to her for showing me what it means to be free. Consequences and all…