I’m Glad She’s On My Side

Our cat Scout yawns at the top of the stairs on February 25, 2006. Original: IMG_8354.CR2

There are times in nature you realize you’re not the top predator, sometimes too even in your own home …

This is Scout yawning at the top of the stairs in 2006, I re-edited it last night and was going to replace the old online version only to discover it wasn’t online. It had been on my old site but apparently never made it to the blog, even though I started the blog a couple of months before the shot was taken.


Our cat Scout sits beside the catnip on our back porch in Portland, Oregon on May 6, 2005. Original: IMG_8116.cr2

Twenty years ago a feral cat gave birth under the house of one of my wife’s friends, the mother soon disappeared so the family raised the kittens until they were old enough to adopt out. We were offered one of the last of the litter and named our tiny tuxedo Scout. I’m close to all our pets but even so Scout and I had a deep bond, sadly cancer took her from us after 12 years but I’m thankful for every day we spent together. I’ve been having off-and-on trouble sleeping lately but it was never as hard as when I came back from a long hiking trip, she’d wake me up throughout the night either to reassure her that I was well and truly home or to tell me I was never to leave her side again, I’m not sure which.

She was four in this picture, sitting beside her favorite catnip plant on the back porch.


Our cat Scout sleeps on the desk in front of her cat bed on a hot summer afternoon in our house in Portland, Oregon in August 2011

While Portland had mild summers there were always days when it got plenty hot and since the house didn’t have air conditioning, my office on the main floor got plenty hot too. So hot that Scout would even get out of her beloved cat bed and sleep beside it on the cooler desk surface. She was so devoted to me that she would rather swelter-in-place than retreat to the cooler basement without me so I’d sometimes go below as much for her benefit as mine. We did eventually get AC but sadly only at the end of our time there, not nearly soon enough for Scout’s benefit as she died from cancer seven years ago. Today would have been her nineteenth birthday.

My Guardians

Our cats Templeton and Scout play in the backyard during their supervised outdoor time, Templeton in the foreground and Scout back by the window under my office, taken at our house in Portland, Oregon in August 2003

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to meet an oral surgeon to get my last wisdom tooth removed, I wish they had removed them all when I was young but it is what it is. The other lower one was removed years ago while we were in Portland and the dentist struggled to get it out, I was laid up for a couple of days on heavy pain killers. What I remember from those days was waking up every four hours or so to change the gauze in my mouth or to take new meds, and every time I woke up a different cat was sleeping on my chest. It may have been coincidence but at the time it felt as though Templeton and Scout were working in shifts, making sure I was alright, and indeed I was thankful for their devotion. Here the two play in the backyard in 2003 during their supervised outdoor time, Templeton in the foreground and Scout back by the window under my office.

Looking Up at Scout

A portrait of Scout as I look up at her as she sits on the dresser in our bedroom in our house in Portland, Oregon in May 2007

Lots of exciting camera news around this time as Nikon and Canon finally get serious about mirrorless cameras. I’m thankful for the capabilities of modern cameras, they make it so much easier to take even simple portraits like this one of my beloved Scout at six years old. But even my basic setup of 2007, the Canon 20D and 24-85mm lens, was so much more advanced than the film setup I started with in the 1990’s. Whatever camera you have, shoot the things you love with it, the memories will mean far more than whatever technical flaws exist in the image.