How about a cat who (a) hisses and spits if you get too close to him, (b) poops in terror if you really get too close and (c) always looks just a little bit ready to kill you?
Yup. Scooter‘s allies are hopelessly devoted to our scarediest of cats.
I was first introduced to the ways of Scooter when I innocently (at least, it was innocent in my universe) gazed through the window of his suite and briefly made eye contact. Well, you would have thought I’d turned into a giant purple wolverine and bared my fangs at him. (FYI: I didn’t.) Scooter’s ears went back, his eyes went wild, and the biggest hiss I’d ever seen flew from his big mouth.
And that was just eye contact.
As a (grateful) non-member of our brave monthly “weights and nails” team, I haven’t had the joyous stuff-of-nightmares experience of weighing and trimming the nails of all 100 Tabby’s Place cats. (This is fine by me on many levels: I’d rather play “good cop” every time. :-)) When you’re giving unsolicited pedicures to everykitty from mushmallow Tony to I-hate-humans-and-I’m-not-afraid-to-show-it Geri, getting scratched and bitten is par for the course.
But Scooter takes weights-and-nails hijinks to a new level. The brave Ginny and Danielle, trimmers of nails and weighers of cats, now know to be ready with a towel for when Scooter relieves himself – voluminously – when they catch him.
All of this is gives you a glimpse of Planet Scooter. And, lest you think this is the normal anxiety of a new face at Tabby’s Place, Scooter has been with us for 3+ years. He is what he is.
Fortunately, we’re cracked – or, let’s say, unique – enough to love him exactly such as he is. And that goes double for the legion of volunteers whose hearts belong to Scooter.
It started with B., the college student who made Scooter his own personal mentee. If this were an interspecies Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Scooter would be B’s quirky little bro. Over the course of a very slow and often-painful eighteen months, B got to the point where he could pet Scooter, and – this is the miracle – Scooter would actually enjoy it. But it was exclusively with B that he had this relationship, and when his big bro went off to grad school for meteorology, Scooter was stuck with all the Scary Bad Terrible People Who Aren’t B. Cue the return of hissing, spitting and assorted loveliness.
Just then, the Scooter Appreciation Society began to grow. It gives glee to my heart to know that there are a lovely load of folks out there with a soft spot the size of Texas for the growly, grumpy, misunderstood cats of the world. Now, in addition to B (who faithfully returns to his little bro on every break from school), Scooter has P, a huge-hearted, patient-as-a-saint retiree who loves the spunky cats best…and a pair of high-schoolers who tenderly bring Scooter handfuls of dry food in his special cubby…and so Team Scooter grows.
And the love grows.
While Scooter isn’t exactly letting unfamiliar characters like me pick him up and hold him like a baby yet, his growing enjoyment of life and comfort around human beans can’t be denied. Once exclusively a denizen of the deep, Scooter used to spend 99.9% of his waking hours hidden in the back of a dark suite cubby. But, now, thanks to that trust-building quality time with his various big brothers and big sisters, Scooter feels comfortable enough with humankind to hang out, strut and even nap in the open. Today it’s no great shakes to see Scooter lounging atop the cubby, or on the floor, or in a cozy cat basket. When you’ve lived under a self-imposed house arrest in a 2′ x 3′ space for three years, expanding your world to an entire cat suite is a Very Big Deal.
And so the Scooter saga goes on. Is Scooter ever going to be our most “adoptable” cat, as most folks define “adoptable”? I wouldn’t hold my breath for that. But, with each passing week in the glow of his fan club’s love, our wild-haired, wide-eyed boy is finding life increasingly…sweet.