I called our vet at 4:42 today to ask if they could euthenize our cat. They told us to bring her in. Scout was seventeen years old, on the far side of the indoor cat lifespan.
Every pet I’ve ever had has given me so much. Scout has given us more than I think I can put into words.
Here is the greatest thing Scout has given. Her love of Danny. She has been the classic alpha female cat who tolerated me (actually, she saw me as the major alpha, so she listened to me), but she did not love me with affection most of the time. No, she saved all of her affection for Danny.
Scout loved Danny. She adored him.
She tolerated me, mostly because I was the one who fed her.
I exaggerate some. Scout did come and curl against me at night for a bit. She did rub my ankles with her chin and curl up into my lap sometimes.
It’s just that she loved Danny so much more. If we were both in the room, she went to him. If we were snuggled in bed, she staked her flag on Danny. She trilled and purred for him.
And so, her passing I know is harder for him.
When Danny was hospitalized in 2011, I didn’t go home much, and I didn’t go home initially for the first few weeks. That first visit home was for just a few hours. I took a bath, and I snuggled on the couch, with Scout and our other cat Cecil, bookends on the couch. I was in shock, so devasted by Danny’s trauma. I remember not daring to think about anything other than just being in my home, with the cats.
I was so comforted by the cats being bookended above me. That was enough, but then Scout stepped down off the back of the couch and curled up next to me. She purred.
I was in shock, but also present in that moment of that gift from her.
My next visit home was another few weeks later. I had with me the bag of Danny’s belongings from his initial hospitalization. The bag was labelled “Patient Belongings”. I didn’t want that bag. That bag felt like the end. A friend had held it, and she felt I ought to have it back. I’ll never forget that feeling, when she gave it to me, that she was giving me not his life, but his death.
I brought it home that second visit. I had not cried. Not really. A few choking tears, that’s it. I was so geared up to be on, to be ready, to be okay, to be….strong, so I’d not cried.
So, I walked into our home. My second visit home since Danny was hospitalized, since I’d been given the most dire news of his prognosis. I walked in, and I put that plastic bag marked “patient belongings” down. I watched Scout walk up to the bag.
I watched her start sniffing. I felt myself heave and rock because I knew. I knew. I knew and understood for the first time what was happening.
Scout sniffed at his belongings, and she kept smelling and sniffing, and it was in every part of her being so clearly, that she understood.
That moment was the only moment I really cried during those months of Danny’s hospitalization. I did some quiet weeping at times, but I never really cried.
I cried. I wailed, watching Scout because I knew she understood that Danny was gone. She knew he was gone. I knew he might not come back. She knew it.
Scout accepted me as more than second best that night and every night I came home for my bath and cat time. She snuggled with me, curled up with me. She loved me.
And when Danny came home, she went back to him. She tolerated me, loved me sometimes, purred when I petted her sometimes, but still, Danny, was her love.
We have lost Danny’s greatest heroine.