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August 9th, 2006

Col. Squeak Ludlow: The Life and Times of a Feline Warrior-poet

Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

For all who know our cat Squeak they will be sad to hear that she had a stroke*. For all who don’t know her they should be sadder still for never having met her. Think of the kindest person you’ve ever met and then cover them with soft, cuddly fur and give them the ability to purr.

Squeak has been “mine” longer than almost anything else in my life save my Diamond Back dirt bike which is neither kind nor cuddly (although it was pretty rad in its time). She’s been with me for 11 years! Before that ad for a free cat in the newspaper united us, people were still happy with uncolored bubbles and commercial flights were still leaving Somalia. Yes, a long time ago for me but even longer for squeak. She has been shedding all over my life for 60 of her years. I could have become a doctor in 60 cat-years.

She was a test pilot for marrying Rachel. Long before I moved in with Rachel, Squeak did so first. I was in China for that year and figured it would be a good chance to send someone in to do recon. The mission proved successful until the very end of the year. While in transit to a new apartment the bottom fell out of her life. No really, the bottom literally fell out of the box she was in and she ran off as cats do when in such situations. One can only guess on the events of Squeak’s life over the following month (6 cat-months). If she was able to write an autobiography, this would be the chapter where she met strange animals and experimented with new lifestyles.

After the world had given up on her, she showed up - a few pounds lighter - on the front step of the new apartment a month after falling out of the box. How she ate with no front claws, no hunting experience, an irrational fear of chicken noises and the physique of a walrus we’ll never know, but she has since had a certain dignity that demands you never think of her as a lazy cat no matter how many hours she sleeps in a given day. If nothing else she proved that, having had the chance to escape and choosing to return, Rachel must be a decent roommate. We all three spent the next eight years in fur covered harmony.

Col. LudlowShe has recovered to some degree from the stroke. She can get around on her own albeit looking like it’s always on the way home after bar-time. The litter box sequence - enter with nothing, do business, leave with nothing - still proves to be a challenge. No matter what her current condition we all remember her on the porch in the summer of 1997; still afraid of chickens but courageous. A fourty-something cat who proved herself worthy of lifetime respect no matter how humiliating a trip to the litter box has become.

Have you ever seen Legends of the Fall? Man, Anthony Hopkins sure knows how to work a stroke. That hair, that coat! He almost looks like Squeak. I can see her as Col. William Ludlow… Hobbling from dish to box with her battle-scarred ear perked at half-deaf attention and muttering some incoherent nonsense about the raccoon she mastered with her bare paws one night in the wilderness behind Charter Street.

*The doctor said it might be brain cancer, but after our expert observation, we concurr that is was a stroke.

Squeak photo gallery