February 16, 2010

The Grand Adventures of Scar Cat

No one knows where Scar Cat came from. I like to think Alcatraz, but I cannot confirm this. He appeared at an animal shelter one day: no owner, no history. They named him Gorseth because that is a very appealing name that just screams "Bring me home with you!"

The Dude and I had just decided the day before that we wanted a cat, so we went to the shelter to adopt. After browsing for a while, we decided to take a closer look at Gorseth. Once out of the cage, he snuggled right up to the Dude, purring, and acting (for all intents and purposes) like a cute little kitten. We signed the papers, forked over the dough, and brought him home.

However, he was not who he appeared to be. It turned out that he was a vicious creature of the dark: jumping from high ledges onto our heads, attacking our toes while we slept, and even punching our crotches when he felt the situation warranted this. It is because of this behavior that we renamed him Scar Cat (or Pooper, for short).

Regardless of his wild ways, he assimilated into our lives.

We had Pooper for several years before he disappeared. While we loved him as part of the family, he had other plans. Every day when I arrived home from work and he snuggled my face, he was actually timing how long the door stood open and unguarded. Every time he chased me into the bathroom to chill with me, he was actually distracting me from a plan gone awry. When he curiously chased squirrels through the window like any cat would, he was actually measuring window frames and plotting coordinates. We only discovered this later.

It all happened one chilly day in March. I had rushed home to grab sleepover supplies for the Dude. As I ran inside, with the screen door slowly closing behind me (relying on its pneumatic air pump to avoid slamming shut), Scar Cat seized this opportunity and ran outside. I raced outside but couldn't find him. First mission, Hide-From-Owner = success!

Now, he had gotten out of the house before. Wild hearts cannot be tamed. Neither can wild cats. However, he had always come back home before nightfall. But this time was different.

Night came and went. No sign of Pooper. Days of postering the neighborhood and leaving messages with the shelter followed. Then passed the weeks of walking around the neighborhood, calling, "Pooper! Poopy-pants!" while bewildered neighbors watched. Finally, months of morbidly looking at any street we drove down, checking to see if a lump of black fur lay in the gutter. No sight of him.

He had rambled on.

After several months, I took my broken-hearted son back to the shelter, hoping a new cat would cheer him up and fill that gap of toe-biter in our lives. Instead, we found a rambunctious little sucker which would eventually find its way onto my eternal shit-list.

But the Dude loved her, his little cat named Dodo.

We pined almost daily for the mean black cat we used to have. But the consolation prize cat worked and my son felt happy again.

While at work one day, I received a call. The man asked for me by name. He asked if I had a cat named Gorseth. Instantly, I was suspicious. "Yes, I might have had a cat by that name once..." He introduced himself as a veterinarian. "Your cat was brought into our office by a man who thought he was a stray. We scanned his microchip and your name came up." My hooting and hollering with joy was interrupted when the man then said:

"Do you have any idea how your cat got to New Mexico?"

Heh? New Mexico, what? The vet said his office was located in Albuquerque. As in, six hours south of Denver. The vet then asked if I would like to come and pick up my cat. As I thought of my slim bank account, I hesitated, then said, "Of course! I'll be there this weekend!"

Friday night rolled around. My best friend had agreed to take a last-minute, middle-of-the-night road trip with me. Why in the middle of the night? Because we had a concert Friday night and People's Fair Saturday afternoon. Friday at midnight was the only chance we had for a jaunt to New Mexico. As soon as the concert ended, we set off for Albuquerque, double-fisting large cups of coffee. We hit New Mexico around 3:30 a.m., breaking the land-speed record.

Three hours later, we had arrived. We watched the sun rise in the desert, here in the Land of El Chupacabra. We had an hour or two before the veterinarian's office opened, so we found the one patch of grass in the State of New Mexico: at the entrance of a ritzy housing development. There we parked our blankets and lay down for a quick nap.

Finally it was time to get my cat back. We arrived at the clinic and loudly declared, "I am from Colorado. I am here for my Scar Cat." The nurses had apparently heard of the kitty's journey and all watched with teary eyes as he was brought out.

With that, I paid the bill Pooper had racked up by ordering Champagne and hookers all week, then we started home.

With only minor snags (such as running out of gas in desert and watching a windshield wiper flap in the breeze for three hours), we arrived home. The next day, the Dude came home from his grandparents' house, where he had stayed for the weekend. He walked in, passing by Pooper, who was perched like a statue, taking coordinates of the screen door's slow closure. Then he looked down, saw the cat, and cheered with happiness.

Since that fateful summer when Scar Cat ran away to New Mexico, we've had no more incidents. He still stares out the window wistfully. But he now settles for occasional supervised jaunts outside...on a leash.

After a few months of being back home, his eye started to get wonky. A quick visit to the vet informed us that he had caught the Herpes in the desert.

Way to go. I hope she was worth it, Pooper.

1 comment:

Trish said...

YAY!! Great story. I laughed, I cried.