by Trent Rosser
It has been quite a while since I have written about Rascal the cat, and it is for good reason. As I said before, Rascal claimed me. Also, as I have said before, Rascal liked to go outside. We had moved again, but this time it was across the street. Same landlord, just a bigger house, and again trying to put him in a box was like pulling teeth from a pit bull! He wanted no part of it. It is hard to explain that at one time he liked to play in boxes. I finally gave up and he watched me walk down the street and into the new house. My wife was able to catch Rascal and get him into the new house. Just like last time, he hid under the bed for 2 days before he would come out. When he did come out it did not take him long to go back out side to his rambunctious ways. Now we did not have a screen door for him to pull on and slam when he wanted inside. All we would hear would be his meowing. We would have to get up and let him in. He would stick his head in the door, and look to see the quickest route to the bedroom (where his food was) without the dogs seeing him. It was funny to watch as he would run by Hunter and all Hunter would do is turn his head as Rascal ran by. They still had a love hate relationship with each other. But at night we all would fall asleep together, my wife and I lying in bed, with Hunter between us and Rascal above my head.
Now Rascal became the “tough” guy in the neighborhood. I would walk out to take out the trash and there Rascal would be just lying next to the fence or the garage and the other female cats would take off running from me. He would look at me, lying back looking relaxed, and he would wink. I swear it happened more than once. Our garage was halfway between our new front door and our old front door, and there were many times that I found him on the steps of our old place. He would be just sunning on the steps with the other cats in the neighborhood all around him. I think he thought was the Hugh Hefner of the block. At first he would come home every night, but then he started to stay out. I admit, I would worry about him.
Now here is where it would get bad. He once came home and he was torn up from a fight. His eye had a strange puss coming out of it and he would not come out from under the bed. We had to coax him out a couple of times to get him to eat, but after about a week, he finally came out and started to get better. He started to eat and slowly he was better. I really thought that he would lose the eye. Even Hunter seemed to be concerned when he was under the bed. I really thought that would teach him, and he would stay at home, but no, even before he was completely healed, he was back outside. Then he came home with his paw swollen up to over twice the size as it should have been. We were able to catch him and “DR” his paw when we could, but every night he was right back out. He used to sit in my lap when we would watch TV, but then he was out all night. It was something that I actually missed.
One night as we were sitting watching TV, we heard Rascal howling to let him in. So I opened the door and he did his normal thing of looking into the living room to see where the dogs were. But something was different this time, instead of running to the room to where his food was, he jumped up on my chair. I sat back down and stretched out and he lay down between my feet like he used to. Just before we went to bed that night, I opened the door to let him out and there was a couple of his “girlfriends” waiting for him to come outside. I looked at my wife and asked, "When did we start to raise a teenage cat!?"
Around 6 am that next morning, my neighbor called. He asked if I could meet him outside. When I went out, he was looking very sad and somber. He told me that his 2 Rottweiler dogs got a hold of a cat earlier that morning and he thought it was Rascal. We went to the back and underneath a piece of plywood that was leaning against the wall was Rascal. There was not a lot of blood, and he was still alive, but barely. He was in pain and there was nothing that we could do for him. My neighbor’s wife was crying and trying to help and they told me that they would pay for the vet bills, but I already knew that there was nothing that they could do. I wrapped Rascal up in a towel and took him back to the house. He was crying a little bit and he even let Hunter touch him. Rascal knew that this was the end. Unfortunately we had to put Rascal down. He is buried on the Palo Duro Creek Ranch, overlooking a valley.
This was about 6 months ago when this happened. Last week my wife looked at me, in our new house as a mouse ran by and said, “We need a cat!” I looked at her and realized that she is right. Did I want another cat…..? No, but it would be nice to get rid of the mouse that is in the house. Plus, if we get a kitten, maybe we can get him and Hunter to be friends and for Halloween I can dress the kitten in a cowboy costume and put a saddle on Hunter! That would be fun. Well, this week, we brought home a new kitten. His name is Marco. Wife yells, “Marco, here Marco!” And I’m in the back room yelling back “Polo, Polo”!
So maybe soon you will be reading stories about Marco.
After we buried Rascal, I informed my neighbor that they did not have to pay for any vet bill. After all, their dogs were doing what they do best, protecting their territory. I have no ill will toward my neighbors and we kept talking until I moved again. I don’t really know why Rascal was in the backyard with the dogs, but I think I know what happened. The 2 female cats were in the backyard and were trapped by the 2 dogs. Rascal jumped the fence, attacked the dogs just to give the other 2 cats a chance to escape. He was a hero and saved the female cats. Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!