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  • Scruffy old Roscoe is a bad-ass-cat, "cat with a black leather jacket," as one friend put it. Known to catch, kill and eat young pigeons, humming birds and city rats. I've thought, countless times, with his medical conditions that he'd be not long for this world, yet at 19 he's still standing. He sleeps nearly 24/7 and like an old man who's given up grooming, his fur matted and separated, I call him 'Old natty-dred.' Why fight to brush him when he HATES it?

    Now deaf and sometimes demented, I treat him tenderly and give him a wide birth—mostly because he demands it! I remember well his entertaining youthful acrobatics, like a trained athlete, the neighborhood alpha-cat could scrap with two cats, devour 2 mice and a bird all in one day. With prevailing arthritis and mental decline, Roscoe has not hunted in years, though takes his customary daily stroll from front to back door just to sniff the air.

    For all 14 years I've had the honor to care for him, I would greet him with my cat-style voice, "Hello, Roscoe." Now when he comes in the cat door he announces himself loudly repeating "HELLO!" as he marches through the house yelling loudly until he sees that I'm home and settles down for another nap. (One day I'll include and audio with this story!)

    Recently, I had a midnight startle. A rustling noise by my ear woke me, and when I opened my eyes, in the dark I could make out a sketchy shape of Roscoe 4 inches away from my nose, and from the dim light of the clock I could see a mouse in his mouth!

    "Thanks, Roscoe, but get that thing out of my bed!" I insisted, and pushed him onto the floor. When I hear the mouse squeak I realize that his strategy was that to contain his catch in the bed covers where it would be easier than to turn it loose on the floor. He looks up at me begging eyes. "NO WAY," I say him emphatically!

    Then he starts his ferocious mouse-play by the side of my bed and when the squeaking finally stops, and I know it was safe to fall back to sleep. Just as I drift off, again a rambunctious scurry and thump. This cycle continues for what seemed an hour—while I'm dazed and yearning for sleep.

    When I woke the next morning the only sign of the midnight hunt was a smudge of brown on my throw-rug, and, of course, a very proud and satisfied old cat! "Hail Roscoe, mighty hunter!"
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