Big Rudy, the horrible feral cat that lived in an old liquor box on my parents' back porch, for the past 10 years has up and died. He was the meanest cat I've ever knew but we always tried to tame him anyway. Big Rudy was so mean he would scratch the hell out of your feet if you got too close to him so we would try to comb out the horrible mats in his fur with a brush taped to a yardstick. If you wanted to pet him, you would have to put pot holders on your hands for protection. Big Rudy was still smart enough to try to scratch above the potholder and draw blood.

We did our best to domesticate him, we would leave the porch door open for him but he never wanted to come inside. We would pet and feed him, but after about 3 strokes he would try to slice your hand open. This pattern went on for years. He would just show up at meal times and vanish into the night afterwards. Even when it would rain he wouldn't want to come inside. He just liked to sleep in the Canadian Mist box that we put a towel in for him.

Big Rudy was fed by at least 3 different houses in my parents' neighborhood that we knew of and at least a couple houses in the next neighborhood over. Mom and dad would feed him 3-4 cans of cat food a day alone. (The average healthy adult cat will eat 2 cans a day). That cat really got around. And every house he went to had a different name for him, some of the few other names we knew he was called were Tom, Dusty, and.....Sunshine - which you have to admit is an absolutely re-donk-u-lous name for a mean cat with dark fur.

Last Christmas my sister finally worked up the courage to pick him up, so as a precaution before my sis tried to grab him, I went ahead and picked up the phone and dialed "9-1", and was prepared to dial the second 1 after he starting slicing arteries.

Big Rudy didn't look like any other cat that you'd ever seen before. Sometimes I would think that he wasn't a cat at all. Instead he must have been some sort of experimental anti-infantry terror weapon that had escaped from the King's Bay Naval Base. And he was like Big Foot, every time you would try to take a picture of him, it would come out blurry. The government still denies the existence of Big Rudy and will tell you what you really saw was not some terrible 25 pound furry monstrosity, but just a weather balloon or swamp gas.

Big Rudy had some weird marks on his face the past few days. So today my dad, at great personal risk to his own safety, threw a pillow case over him and took him to the vet. Turns out the poor cat had mouth cancer and was in a lot of pain. There is a fantastic veterinarian on the little island my parents live on who looked him over and said there was nothing she could do for him and that Big Rudy was tired and suffering. The vet said by looking at his teeth he was probably about 13 years old. You probably know what happened next.

Big Rudy was really ugly and mean but I'm really going to miss him. He really started coming around the last few weeks, he suddenly loved to be petted and he would come in my parents house and sleep on the couch almost every day. I think our 10 year long effort at trying to tame him was finally starting to sink in. God must have needed a really horrible mean cat up in Heaven for some reason or another. Big Rudy I'm just sorry that my sis and I never did put out a whole rotisserie chicken out on the porch for you and just watch you go to town on it and record it we always wanted to do. That would have become a nation-wide youtube sensation.

Big Rudy is scratching angels now. See ya at the crossroads mah brod'dhah.