Eileen's Eulogy for Scarlet:
Missy Scarlet passed away this evening. She transitioned peacefully. While she passed on her own, I had just seen her a half hour earlier, offering her a plate of food we both knew she would not eat but which was understood to be another love offering.
She adopted Tom and me about 14 years earlier when we visited the local We Care animal shelter. Clueless, we didn’t yet know that it was the cat who adopted the human and not the other way around. She must have seen something in us, this couple looking around at the hundreds of cats and wondering how to choose. She leapt down from her high perch and, after a pretense of a warm greeting, ordered us to take her home. The rescue staff were all surprised as she was not considered a friendly cat. Instead, she was known simply as a cat who liked high places.
We spent the first few weeks in the house climbing stepladders to place food atop tall cabinets where she lounged. She really does like high places, we would agree with each other. It turned out we were as wrong as the shelter’s staff as, once she became accustomed to us, she never spent time again atop tall cabinets. She didn’t like high places so much as she generally disliked others and high perches allowed her to ignore other cats and beings in the crowded shelter. She was at the shelter for two years; her exact age at the time of her death is unknown but she was believed to be about 18 years old.
She was grumpy and domineering but when she fell in love, she fell in love obsessively. As a writer who spent a lot of time in front of a computer, I’d often turn my face from the screen and suddenly realize with a jolt that she must have been by my ankles for prolonged minutes or hours silently staring at me—the kind of behavior that’d cause someone to call the police on a stalker.
She also trained every single German Shepherd to be wary if not scared of her. For my first two dogs Achilles and Gabriela, it may have been the sight one summer of her in the backyard chasing down a mole. After she caught the animal, she tortured it for a few minutes with her sharp claws. Then she ran eagerly to us with her catch already half-way down her throat while its tail wriggled from a corner of her mouth. Jaws dropped from my big dogs as they stared in horror at her violent glee. As a result, my 95-pound Achilles used to quiver in fear whenever her 9-pound body would enter the room.
But despite being wary, the dogs also all desired to be her best friend. After she thawed over time, she occasionally would give the dogs the benefit of allowing them to sniff her butt.
She was Queen of her domain and insisted always on doing things her way, including when she would transition. From cancer, kidney and thyroid diseases and some type of internal bleeding, she lived about a year-and-a-half longer than her doctors projected. While she reluctantly left behind her human family, we also believe that her crossing of the Rainbow Bridge will turn her into a much nicer being. At least we hope so for the sakes of Achilles and Gabriela who are waiting for her on the other side.
Rest in Peace, Missy Scarlet. You waged extreme battle against the four diseases that tried to invade you—we will never forget your feistiness, even as you gentled our grief eventually by passing peacefully instead of forcing us to be the ones to make the painful decision of letting you go. You love was as fierce as your warrior spirit. We look forward to seeing you again as, ultimately, we also know you refuse to let us go.
(Scarlet and Gabriela)
(Artemis and Scarlet)