Our puppycat Skeeter died overnight. He lived with us 17 years, but we were never sure how old he was because he was a stray who most decidedly chose us as his family. He showed up in the neighborhood one summer, friendly as could be. I’d ask all the neighbors, “anyone know who this orange cat belongs to?” No one did so all of us fed him and named him “Orange.” He’d greet anyone who walked outside, truly knew no strangers. We already had a cat, Kiki, whose baptismal name was Hugh Emerson Woolie, HEW. It took the entire summer and a campaign of tears and much cajoling to convince Mr Woolie to adopt Skeeter. The two cat boys would take naps together on either side of the screen door, normally Kiki hissed at any other cat who dared cross his porch or yard. That the two boys got along and the few times Skeeter would curl up on Mr Woolie’s lap while he drank beer on the deck finally opened the doors.
Skeeter was a one man welcoming committee, the perfect host to anyone who came over to our house. His two greatest loves were food and cuddling. I think he thought guests came over to give him more food, quite frankly. And he thought, “oh, you’re sitting down? Allow me to cuddle up on your lap. Then I’ll show you to the kitchen and you can feed me!” Like a true puppycat he’d greet us at the door every single day when we came home with lots of meowing until food was placed in his bowl. He loved to curl up at night and watch TV, and I tell you there is no greater sleeping pill than a warm and cuddly cat snurring away.
Skeeter loved the human boys and they loved and adored him. Kiki was a bit irked after they joined us and took to the basement in protest, hissing from the steps if they peeked down the stairs at him. Skeeter only saw more food to be given and more cuddles. He loved to stretch out on my belly when I was pregnant. He still sat on my lap, but if the cubs became available he went right over to them. He gave them kisses by rubbing his face against theirs, and always came to comfort them when they cried.
He was greatly loved, not only by his family but everyone he met far and wide. An internet famous cat. We are very lucky to have had him for as long as we did.
We took him outside yesterday and spent the day saying our goodbyes and talking about our memories of him. He came outside again for dinner and had a little chicken. It’s somehow fitting that we spent so much time outside yesterday. He’s been an inside cat, but when he came to us all those years ago we spent our time together outside. He enjoyed the sun and the smells. He made a full circle.