Scooter and I started the morning with our standard morning routine.
Scooter gets up at dawn and starts trying to wake me up. First, he sits beside me and stares at me, not believing that I can sleep while the animal kingdom is celebrating the sunrise. As his patience ebbs, he walks across my chest and jumps off the bed, trying to show me that we should be walking to the door. After several cycles of this, he walks across my neck, stopping when his butt is in my face. He has found that this wakes me up. If these techniques fail to get me up, he resorts to the Siamese solution: loud yowling.
I give in and get up. I’m not a morning person but Scooter has a strong will. After a stop in the bathroom, I put on some clothes and we go downstairs. I grab the outgoing mail and open the garage door. Scooter and I walk out together into the early morning. The sun is just coming up.
I turn on the water spigot to create a small stream of water that runs across the driveway. Scooter likes to drink his water from a stream, like his ancestors in Thailand. While Scooter laps up water, I walk up the driveway to put the mail in the mailbox and get the newspapers. When I return, I watch Scooter walk down the walkway (video) in front of the house.
Scooter wobbles and weaves as he walks. It’s painful to watch. He’s stiff and a little shaky after 22 years of cat life. He was in hundreds of fights before he retired from fighting and hunting, and he still suffers from the battle injuries. I can see the splits in his ears as he limps along (he has three wire rings around the bone in his right leg). I follow him and sit on the front steps to read the paper, keeping one eye on Scooter. I’m his guardian, concerned about the coyotes live in the woods behind our house. Scooter doesn’t hear well now – he’d be easy prey for a hungry coyote.
Scooter’s nose works well. He checks the bushes on the edge of the yard like I check email. He gets a sense of all the critter activity from the smells. He slowly works his way along the border of the yard and the woods, sniffing and analyzing the scents. Then he drifts into the woods. I stand up to watch him carefully.
If he goes out of sight, I’ll follow to keep him out of trouble. He finds a bush about 10 feet into the woods that appeals to him. He sniffs and circles, sniffs and circles. Finally he backs up to the bush, points his tail at the sky, and marks his territory. But then Scooter alters our usual routine.
He blasts out of the woods in an old-cat run. He can’t run like he used to. He was about 10 when I first met him, but he was still a great athlete. When he really needed to cover some ground, he ran low, with his tail pointed straight back, his front feet grabbing the ground and passing it back to his hind legs with fluid, graceful power. A cat in a flat-out full run is a special sight to me, whether he is 7 pounds (Scooter), 100 pounds (cheetah), or 600 pounds (tiger). Young Scooter was fast enough to run down a rabbit, and he often did.
Now he runs on stiff legs with his tail pointed straight up. He can still outrun most humans. Seeing him feel spry enough to run makes me feel good and I laugh as I move towards the garage, where Scooter is yowling at the door, demanding that I hurry to let him in. I have a smile in my heart as I turn off the water spigot, walk into the garage, and open the door for the old warrior.
For more weblog posts about Scooter, click here.
Links to stories about Scooter:
Know Your Blind Spots,
Scooter Rolls Past 104,
Scooter the Cat Is 100 Years Old,
Sixteen and Wise?,
That Darn Old Cat,
We All Need Nine Lives