Goodbye, my puma

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Most of you already read on Facebook or in the comments yesterday that Roger has died. He was only eight months old. And 640 pounds.

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Roger could open the screen door to the back yard by himself, and he stomped out Thursday night, angry at me because I put his Christmas collar on him. "Oh, Roger, don't go out in your Christmas collar!" I called after him. Dick Whitman was over and I was distracted. But Roger had gone out a hundred times and always came right back in. On his own. Opening the door. Sometimes he even let the dogs in and out for me.

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But I shouldn't blame Roger. I always stood by my belief that cats should be allowed to play outside, even if it was dangerous, and my whole life I've had cats live to a ripe old age, with no problem. Roger did not have that kind of luck.

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As soon as I woke up Friday morning and Roger wasn't in the bed with Edsel and Tallulah and me, I knew something was wrong. I went to the door and called him, and when he wasn't there, I just knew he was dead. I don't know how I knew.

My tarot cards, which I read every month, had said I may need to put a pet to sleep this month. I tried not to think of that. But what I didn't know is that at about 1 a.m., Roger had been hit by a car. My neighbor saw it happen, and it looked bad. He grabbed a shovel to get Roger out of the road, but when he went over there, Roger was still breathing, in a labored way.

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He took Roger to the all-night emergency vet. Because Rog had on that Christmas collar, he had no tags on so he didn't know who the cat belonged to. My neighbor was really upset about the whole thing and called the vet the next morning. They told him that Roger had made it though the night and was probably going to be transported to the county animal shelter as a stray. Then yesterday, the neighbor's girlfriend finally saw the signs I put up. That's when he called me.

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Can you imagine having to be that guy calling my dramatic ass?

"Hi, this is PJ. I found your cat."

OH MY GOD! REALLY!?!?!"

"Now, it ain't good, ma'am. He got hit."

"OH MY GOD! Booo hooo hooo hooo!"

"He didn't die. At least not right away, ma'am."

"OH MY GOD! WHERE IS HE!?"

I mean, who wishes he had never driven up on that scene, do you think? Anyway, as soon as I hung up I stampeded to the animal shelter FOR THE THIRD TIME THIS YEAR to try to find Roger Dodger.

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There are five damn rooms at the shelter of cats who just came in. Then there are three more of cats who are ready for adoption. This is why when someone tells me they just bought a cat I want to smack them with my adenoids. I looked and looked and looked for Roger, and even sneaked a glance for Winston while I was up, but nothing.

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Finally, I took his picture over to one of the workers and told her Roger's story. "He sure looks familiar," she said. Then she paused. "Ma'am. Did he have on a Christmas collar?"

"Yes," I said, my voice getting wavery. I knew it was gonna be bad when one of the other workers ripped off a paper towel and handed it to me.

"Come over here," she said, pulling me aside.

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"I'm the one who euthanized your kitty," she said. "Once I remembered the Christmas collar it all came back. It was Friday morning, real early. They brought him in from the emergency vet. They can't put cats down at the vet–we have to do it. His head trauma was real bad, ma'am. It was the humane thing to do. But I felt bad because I knew he was someone's Christmas kitty."

"He was my Christmas kitty," I said pathetically. Roger effing hated that collar. And he had to die in it. If you think he isn't gonna haunt me for the rest of my days, looking crabby in his jingles…

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I thanked her and she seemed very sorry for me. I started walking to my car, but halfway there I grabbed Roger's picture and just bent over and started sobbing in front of 394939292949393 people visiting the shelter, and all the workers, and all the dogs in the dog run, and God who apparently hates me, and the rooster who inexplicably is up for adoption in case anyone needs one. I cried and sobbed and wept and carried on and did not care that I looked the fool.

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Because I am gonna miss the crap out of that cat. I have had cats my whole life. I have known mean ones, sweet ones, shy ones, smart ones. I never met a cat like big old Roger. He was spectacular, with his squirrel-killing, refrigerator-jumping, dog-attacking, unflappable self. In many ways he reminded me of my all-time favorite cat, Mr. Horkheimer.

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I wonder if somehow he was Mr. Horkheimer, and he could only visit me for a short while.

Whatever the story is, I am glad I had Roger for as long as I did. I will never forget that giant puma of a kitten.

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Thank you, Roger, for putting up with me. And the Christmas collar. And Edsel. And the 900 million pictures. Rest in peace, sweet boy.

201 thoughts on “Goodbye, my puma

  1. Awww June. What an awesome tribute for an awesome kitty. You gave him so much love and helped him to be the character that he was meant to be. Thanks for sharing that character with the rest of us. I know that many, many of us have shed lots of tears over the last day for a cat we didnt know and a person we’ve never met.

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  2. Love your blog, but Rodger shouldn’t have gotten run over. Cats do not need to go outside. Our pets depend on us to take care of them. Would you let Edsel go out and run in traffic. I fed a feral cat for 11 months. Once we rescued her, she would run the other way when we opened up the front door. If you think your cats need to go outside put on a harness and a leash or build a cat run. Don’t let them run free and get run over by a car.

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  3. I’m sorry June. I didn’t read the comments tonight so maybe someone already said it, but you know those cranky people who really just need someone fun in their life? the people who act all grumpy but really love being hassled by…oh, other people who have, say, a penchant for ridiculous Christmas collars?
    I think you were a ray of joy in Roger’s life, and I think he was secretly glad to go wearing his collar.
    I’m so so sorry though.

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  4. Phyllis,
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but shoving it in the face of a grieving woman is deplorable. Nobody needs to hear that. We are at risk with every breath we take. Dogs and cats are just at risk inside from fire, bugs, poisons, and the like. There is NO way to live a risk-free life. If our June decides to let her cats go outside and be happy, that is her CHOICE and it certainly isn’t your place to tell her it isn’t.

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  5. Phyllis ~ you, my dear, are an ass.
    And also too…his name was Roger, not Rodger.

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  6. I’m so sorry June. I’ve read this post twice today and cried both times. I know you must be in such pain. Eat all that christmas candy and those cookies. Grief needs sugar. And “spackle”.
    Phyllis – you may want to re-evaluate your approach to helping someone. I guess it’s possible you are attempting to help but it’s coming off bossy and quite cold. Maybe there are times when an “I’m sorry” is just all that is needed and you can save the “I’m right, you are wrong, and this is how you should do it” for your kids. Although I’m not so sure they are receptive to that approach either.

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  7. So sorry for your loss, June. You have a beautiful record of all the love Roger knew in too his short life in your posts about him. Please know that someone far away in Iowa is thinking of you and wishing you peace beyond the sadness.

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  8. Hulk (You know what would have been even funnier? If Alex had used my swear "KISS MY ASS!" that I am trying to get back into circulation...) says:

    I’m sorry…
    But when Alex told Phyllis to go fuck off?
    That just killed me…

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  9. Hulk (You know what would have been even funnier? If Alex had used my swear "KISS MY ASS!" that I am trying to get back into circulation...) says:

    I’m sorry…
    But when Alex told Phyllis to go fuck off?
    That just killed me…

    Like

  10. Hulk (You know what would have been even funnier? If Alex had used my swear "KISS MY ASS!" that I am trying to get back into circulation...) says:

    I’m sorry…
    But when Alex told Phyllis to go fuck off?
    That just killed me…

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  11. Phyllis? Did we miss out on the ‘compassion’ lesson? My god, woman. Get a grip. I certainly do not want to be in view of you and your ignorant know it all self because I think a bye-bye-pie in the face is in order. I agree with Alex. And I’m sorry for any animal unfortunate enough to end up under your care. God forbid children!
    June- you are an amazing woman, mother and blogger. Keep your faith, you don’t need to replace Roger, you just need to open up yet another spot in your heart for a new baby. We love you. And again, Alex is right. Phyllis can fuck off.

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  12. So sorry to hear about Roger, June! He was such a cool cat! I cried reading your post, and then hugged all my pets (three cats and a pomeranian), who all were wondering why I was sobbing and suffocating them at the same time. One of my cats goes outside every day, for hours at a time, and I worry about her until she appears at the back door. I could make her an indoor cat again, but she loves being outdoors. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that 2012 brings you happier times!

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  13. Oh June…I am so sorry about your loss. Roger will be missed by so many. Thank you for sharing him with us. This post was a great tribute to him.

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  14. After losing a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime big boy like Roger (he broke his leg, spent his last six weeks sitting in a cramped cage in a cast while it “healed,” then died in surgery to fix it since it hadn’t “healed” in the cramped cage), I vowed to never have outdoor cats again. I do feel guilty, like I’m depriving them of a real cat life, but it’s just too dangerous these days. I plan to build them an outdoor enclosure so they can have “the world” but I can keep my cats. Anyway, losing that big boy was, like, the major tragedy of my life, so I totally empathize. No one can take Roger’s place, but lots of kitties need homes very badly! BIG HUGS.

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