Last Saturday my mom called me to tell me that my childhood cat, Rascal, had gone into renal failure and had to be put to sleep. Naturally, he chose the time when I was most busy and least able to do much of anything, such as write this post. This is how cats roll and especially how Rascal liked to roll - he was named that for a reason, after all. In a way, was sort of good. Saturday I was in central Jersey finishing off our adventure in the Dark Heresy game and then after that has been nothing but moving and running around and getting caught in snow storms.
Really, it's sort of unreal to me that he's gone at all - I haven't lived at home for a while now, so it's not like he's an every day part of my life, but I sort of expect him to still be there when I get home.
Here he is, by the way:
In his natural habitat: the kitchen, looking faintly disgruntled at the lack of food being presented to him. He always won in the end - he had mom and I wrapped totally whipped.
Since we worked at a vet, we've always had a lot of animals at the house, but Rascal was my first cat. Our neighbors found a litter of white kittens in a storm drain and we ended up taking them in. All of them were rather ill-fated creatures - I think all the others ended up dying young in one way or another. We kept two - Rascal and King Zookinac (my brother named him...) - and Zook disappeared after a year or two, never to be seen again. So it was just down to Rascal, the last of his (ridiculous inbred, stray cat) line.
He was one of those animals that are very...people-y. Most of the rest of the cats are just cats and they're lovely animals, but Rascal...was people, in that way that only makes sense if you grew up with him, like I did. Everyone always has one of those pets and Rascal was the one for me.
I didn't cry about this when mom called me, but writing this now I'm crying quite a bit and I don't really know how to put into words how much personality he had, all his little quirks and odd habits, and the way that he was part of the family, at least for mom and I. When he was very young he used to suck on his toes because he'd been weaned too early. When he got older he used to go hunting and bring us everything from voles to squirrels, clearly in an attempt to keep us silly humans from starving to death. He tried to rescue my mom from the bathtub once, apparently greatly concerned about her habit of soaking in water - obviously an unhealthy one when she has a perfectly good tongue to bathe with. He used to groom my head if I would lie down next to him. Towards the end of his life he got quite cuddly and spent most a lot of his time sleeping, though right up until the end he always had to be outdoors. It wasn't always the best for his health - he's fallen out of a number of trees and gotten into fights with other cats, but it was all worth it because he wanted to be out there. He had his little kingdom and he was happy. In the last few years he stuck closer to home and mostly just napped in his spot under the bushes by the front door. Used to give mom a heart attack about once a month as he became hard of hearing in his old age and wouldn't immediately wake up when she called to him. After I graduated college I used to go lay out on the front steps and soak up the sun with him patiently attempting to groom me in spite of my hair.
In a way, it's good that this happened now. I was absolutely terrified that he was going to get seriously hurt or killed by something when my parent's moved down to Texas. So many things down there he'd never encountered before and him always stupidly adventurous and brave. This, at least, was quick and painless and peaceful. I just wish I could have seen him one last time.
So. That's it then.