Zeus, 2008 – 2022

A kitten came to us in January 2008, on what was one of the coldest nights of the year, in a manner that we would later learn was indicative of his personality: He snuck into our garage, walked up to the door to our kitchen, and meowed loudly to be let in. Athena was the first to hear him meow; she told Krissy, who did an inventory of our resident cats, all of whom were accounted for. The two of them opened the door, and there was the kitten, hungry and cold and indignant about both of those facts.

I found out about all of this when I was called downstairs and saw the two of them staring at the kitten, which they had placed on our kitchen table, along with a bowl of kibble, into which he was avidly snorkeling, purring as he did so. It was made clear to me we had a new pet. I didn’t fight the decision. What I did do was put him into my office for the night, along with a cat box, to see if he knew how to use one. I stayed with him, sleeping on the office floor (much to the disapproval of my back), waking up every now and then to check on his progress. Turned out he could use a cat box just fine. A few days later, after inquires to neighbors to see if anyone was missing a cat, and a trip to the vet, the kitten, who we had been calling Temp Cat™, became permanent, and given an official name: Zeus.

Zeus was, in a word, rambunctious. He’d jump up on the fridge and patrol the top of the upper kitchen shelves; he’d tear around the house; he’d try to drink my hot chocolate and then get deeply offended when I’d tell him that hot chocolate was not for cats. He enjoyed burrowing under the covers to bite the toes he’d find there; on one memorable occasion he got more ambitious than that and bit my ass. He quickly learned that there were some body parts one should not bite, for all sorts of reasons. In time he stopped burrowing under the sheets, but he never stopped pawing me awake at 3 am to be let out of the house on inscrutable cat business: paw, paw, and then, if the pawing didn’t work, a single scrape of a claw between the shoulder blades. He was kind a jerk, Zeus was.

With the arrival of Zeus, we had what we thought of as the original trio of Scalzi Bradford Cats: Lopsided Cat, who arrived first by coming out of woods and hopping on the back of a toddler Athena, Ghlaghghee, who arrived when our neighbor came by, said “here’s your cat,” and gave me a tiny kitten, and then Zeus (Rex, who came with us when we arrived in Bradford, stood aloof from the other cats and passed before Zeus came on the scene). The three of them made a good team: Lopsided Cat was the no-nonsense father figure of the cats, Ghlaghghgee the dainty princess cat, and Zeus the furry chaos engine. The three of their personalities are so memorable, in fact, that I immortalized them in my novel Fuzzy Nation, where Lopsided Cat became Papa Fuzzy, Ghlaghghee was Baby Fuzzy, and Zeus was Pinto. If you read that book, you’ve met this trio of cats.

Time passes, as it does, and both Ghlaghghee and Lopsided Cat went away, and in their place currently are Sugar and Spice and Smudge, a new trio in our minds. Zeus, no longer the chaos cat (Smudge fills that role, amply), found himself in the role of the Senior Cat, keeping the younger trio in line. I think at first he was annoyed that the job fell to him — it was not, shall we say, his natural métier — but in time he warmed to it, particularly in regard to Smudge, who like him was a tuxedo cat, and who he enjoyed smacking around. It was fun to watch the two of them go after each other; we called them the “Tusslin’ Tuxedo Brothers” and would occasionally capture their battles on video.

Athena also noted to me that Zeus was the only cat who knew all three of our dogs: Kodi, Daisy and now Charlie. Zeus liked Kodi the best, I think, and would cuddle up to her from time to time. He treated Daisy as a respected colleague in the firm of Scalzi Pets, LLC. He tolerated Charlie, and was not above reminding her of her place in the pet hierarchy (i.e., the new hire) with an occasional bat of the nose.

All of which is to say that of all the Scalzi pets, Zeus spanned eras in the bottle universe of the Scalzis, not just of pets but of people as well. In the fourteen years that Zeus stayed with us, so much changed for us, and he walked through it all, doing his thing, being his particular brand of cat. Which was: Kind of a pain in the ass (sometimes literally, as noted above), but always in the middle of everything, the constant black and white thread in the Scalzi family tapestry.

Over the last few months age had been catching up to Zeus, and he’d become slower and quieter, and — this was a surprise — more affectionate. Most of his life, Zeus would tolerate being petted only in certain ways (scritching behind the ears) and only by certain people (Krissy and occasionally me). Everything and everyone else would be met with loud and indignant protest that his personhood was being violated so. But in the last few months he would come up to all three of the Scalzi humans and plop right down and accept being petted, and not just in one or two specific places, or for very short durations. We enjoyed this. We also knew it was one of several indications that Zeus’ time with us was shortening and would soon end.

Which it did, in the small hours of this morning. Last night Athena heard Zeus meowing lowly in the other room. Like we did fourteen years ago, we all came to him to be with him and to watch him. Like I did fourteen years ago, I stayed the night with him, lying with him on the floor so he wouldn’t be alone. This morning, we took him to his final resting place, underneath the same backyard tree where Lopsided Cat and Ghlaghghee lay, their trio finally and forever reunited.

Another era has passed in the Scalzi family timeline. Athena noted that Zeus was the last of her childhood pets, and that it made her sad. I agreed, it was sad, here in the moment. I also told her that Zeus’ life was a success story, and that success was because of her. He lived a whole life, loved and safe and cared for, and all of that was because, on one cold night in January, she had heard him call, and opened our door.

Another era has passed, with a circularity that I can’t feel is coincidence. Zeus called to us in the beginning, to let him in. He called to us at the end, to let him move on. We answered him both times. What was in between was everything.

— JS

191 Comments on “Zeus, 2008 – 2022”

  1. Please note:

    Condolences will be gratefully accepted with thanks. However, I request that no one drop that “Rainbow Bridge” poem or corresponding sentiments into the comments. I dislike that poem rather a lot. Thank you for understanding.

  2. You have my heartfelt and somewhat damp condolences. A beautiful biography of a cat and a family.

  3. “Zeus called to us in the beginning, to let him in. He called to us at the end, to let him move on. We answered him both times. What was in between was everything.”

    I made it w/out tears until then.

    I’m so sorry Zeus is gone but so happy you gave him his everything in between the coming and going. Much love to all of you.

  4. I’m not what one would call at “cat person”, and my wife and I have no pets, but your writing here was deeply moving to me all the same. Condolences to you and your family.

  5. So sorry to hear your news. What a wonderful remembrance. Condolences to all of the Scalzis, bipeds and four-legged.

  6. Condolences to you and your family for your loss. I always enjoy immensely when you share the lives of the Scamperbeasts. A beautiful eulogy for a beautiful boy.

  7. When I started reading your blog in mid-2008, I saw photos of Zeus and wondered how the heck my Rhombus had gotten to Ohio. Rhombus was about the same age and was an adolescent then and could’ve been Zeus’s twin barring the black spot on his nose. Over time Rhombus grew huge, so I did fewer double-takes when visiting here, but I’ve always had a fondness for Zeus. Rhombus left us in December 2020 and I was with him when he did. I’m glad you had that additional year with Zeus and that he got the fun of meeting so many other pets. He had a good life.

  8. I am shedding literal tears. You have my heartfelt condolences. I will stop there, because I’ll start textually rambling about my former pets if I keep writing.

  9. My deepest sympathies. Zeus was a beloved family member. And he won the cat lottery. He had a home and people who loved him. As a fellow feline servant I am saddened at his passing.

  10. So sorry for you and your family. We lost both of our senior dogs last year (abby at nearly 15 and tucker at 13, not too bad for lab mixes). It’s terrible to have to let them go, but we know they loved their lives with us as I am sure Zeus and all of the others did with your family.

  11. We lost our Bailey 2 years ago. He was a big cat and ran the house. Cancer took him in the end but he lived a full life and is sorely missed

  12. John, I’m very sorry for your loss. Losing a furry family member, like any family member, is seldom easy. I enjoyed your remembrance of him; I hope his memory is a blessing to you and your family.

  13. Losing a pet is always sad, especially a character like Zeus. Condolences to the family.

  14. Dang, that part you about spending his last night with him so choked me up and brought back so many personal memories. So sorry for y’alls loss and thank you for sharing

  15. I’m gonna miss Zeus even though I never met him. Your descriptions of him most certainly let us know him just a tiny bit. I’ll raise a glass in his honor.

  16. What a beautiful tribute. I’m sitting next to my dog as I read this and I’m thinking of my wife’s cat calling out to us in the night 15 years ago to let her move on, and I can’t stop crying.

    My condolences to the Scalzis. My the memory of Zeus always make you smile.

  17. That was beautiful. We adopted two rescue cats (sisters) a few months after Zeus came to you: one passed a few months ago, and the other is, rather indignantly, hanging on. In between, as you said, is everything. Thank you.

  18. A fitting eulogy.
    Condolences to a family that cares about their furry charges.
    We can appreciate the familiar bits that go missing from our lives when a pet passes.

  19. My deepest condolences. I’m so glad you got to share your life with him for so many years. A good cat is always a companion to be cherished.

  20. I am so sorry. Zeus was a wonderful character but wow didn’t he have the best family and so much love.

    My condolences to Athena, Krissy and you.

  21. I remember when Temp Cat arrived, and now I’ll remember his departure. I’m glad he was well loved in between. My condolences for your family’s loss.

  22. Zeus was very lucky to have been eulogised so wonderfully, but much more to have been loved so much by such obviously good people.

  23. What a beautiful tribute to a much loved member of your family. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  24. Seems to be the season: I’ve lost two guinea pigs & a human neighbor over the last few weeks.

  25. Damn, John. So very sorry for you and your family’s loss of your beloved Zeus. It’s never an easy thing.

  26. What a beautiful tribute. I’m crying. I know all of our pets are not forever, but when memories as beautiful as what you have described it’s fitting that tears are shared.

  27. My sympathy to you and your family. I have enjoyed your posts about Zeus’ adventures with you. We also have an ElderCat. Our Amber (who looks a lot like Sugar!) is 17 and slowing down, as well. She also has started curling up in my lap, something she hadn’t been known to do before. We will enjoy the time we have left with her. I know Zeus is happy to be back as part of the trio.

  28. I am really sorry for your loss.

    Losing a cat is always hard, and I have more experience in that regard than I ever wanted to. But being with them in the end, and knowing they had a good life, are the things that I have found to give some solace.

  29. As another person owned by numerous cats, your piece broke my heart for those of you humans, cats and dog left behind. I’m sorry. Your post makes me want to reread Fuzzy Nation.

  30. Damnit, what’s with the dust in this stinkin’ house? It’s making my eyes water!

    John, Chrissy, and Athena – my heart goes out to you. Those four-legged creatures that we welcome into our hearts and homes just stick around long enough.

  31. John, I’m so sorry for your loss, and I thank you for so beautifully writing about Zeus.

  32. We who choose to surround ourselves with lives more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality.
    The Once Again Prince – Irving Townsend

  33. I’m sorry for your loss, John. Our little furry friends leave behind such large holes in our hearts.

  34. To the Scalzi family; humans and the rest of the Scalzi gang, So sorry for your loss. As an animal lover and one who has rescued, loved and lost fur friend, my heart is with you. Zeus was blessed to have been taken in by your family and given a life of joy, health and safety And you were blessed to have him give you memories to smile over. Sending healing energy and a thanks for sharing Zeus with your following.

  35. My condolences on the loss of your, and through this blog, our, Zeus. We have an asshole cat of our own and I’m sure will miss him when he goes in the same rueful way. Thank you for taking care of him.

  36. I’m very sorry to read this, John, and condolences to you and everyone. I’ve enjoyed your pictures and updates about him (and your other pets) along the way.

  37. A very good life, very well lived. May Zeus’ next life be never less good than his life with the Scalzis!

    I remember when he showed up, and you mused about finding whoever he had been living with before. You posted a photo of Temporary Cat/Zeus stretched out, at ease, legs fully extended with his toes spread just a tiny bit. It was clear that he had found the home of his choice, and I was relieved when you decided to keep him. (So was he, I am sure!)

    Condolences on his passing. It is extra poignant when a long-time pet dies; there is a sense that they’re taking with them the era they presided over. The reminder that Zeus was part of the Original Three is… a particularly sharp reminder .

  38. Condolences to the Scalzi clan, human and otherwise. As you say, a sad day to mark the end of a successful happy life of a loved family member.

    Crying in my office here. <3 <3 <3

    Thank you John. You and yours take care.

  39. What a lovely tribute, and memory. Nt sympathy to you all–I’ve been sort of worried about Zeus for a while, as he moved in the “senior cat status”; it’s so fitting and touching that he moved on as he came in, when he was ready, on his own terms, and with all of you in attendance.

  40. Any time we let someone (of any species) into our lives and our hearts, there’s the knowledge, whether or not recognized in the moment, that ultimately we’ll be parted–by their passing, or by ours.

    It makes the time we have together that much sweeter and more important.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  41. I am saddened by your loss, and offer what little comfort I can on a shared path we call life. We are fortunate when joy finds us through no effort of our own, and we are blessed by good company that shares our journey. We miss their presence, sometimes terribly, sometimes with an earworm “And I think I’m going to miss you for a long, long, time.” But like a great story, they live on in our heart and memories. Thanks for sharing them.

  42. Losing a family member is always difficult. Clearly, both Zeus’ and your lives were enriched by sharing time together.

  43. Thanks for my cry today…and I don’t even particularly care for cats.

    Well written eulogy!

  44. For years, he was the New Cat/Pet for this site for me, then he was the Familiar One. Now he’s gone and that’s sad, even though I never met him in person. It’s been eight years since I lost an old cat and all of my current ones are fairly young. But we’ve had serious vet scares for half of them already. Cuddle your cat friends close,unless they don’t like that, and on a day like today, maybe even despite them not being huggers. My best wishes to your family.

  45. Sorry that he passed. It always hurts. But I’m so glad Zeus and your family had each other for his entire, happy, entertaining life. Thank you for the stories. The smiles will carry on.

  46. So sorry, but he could not have had a better life. (Well, OK, maybe if he’d scratched on the door of Buck House, but there’s that little problem of the land and ocean in between. Plus he probably would have been booted out for disagreeing with the corgis).

    He does leave a vacancy for a fourth cat — it’s one of the immutable laws of the universe: cat numbers are not reducible. So some luck cat out there is going to hit the jackpot with Zeus’s reluctant blessing.

  47. We lost our cat Hector in November at age 14, and we couldn’t let him go alone either. When we saw he was fading (bad heart), we took him to the vet, and stayed with him as he fell asleep. He kept trying to purr for us right up to the end.

    What was in between was everything, you are absolutely right.

  48. I believe that the first writing of yours that I ever read (other than tweets) was your post about Kodi’s passing, so I know what an important part of your family your pets are.
    My condolences to all Scalzis, both human and fuzzy.

  49. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss and thankful to have been allowed some glimpses into the life he had with you. 14 years already? I can hardly believe it. Strong and beautiful eulogy for a wonderful cat.

  50. It’s very strange to me that I am so affected by Zeus’s passing, having never met him (or any of the Scalzis, human or otherwise). But I remember reading about him when he was Temp Cat – that was soon after I started engaging with Whatever on a regular basis – and I’ve basically watched (a curated version of) his whole life. And I have to admit that I feel sad that he’s gone, and sad for the Scalzis that he’s gone, but also sad for me – because he’s gone, yes, but because this is the end of an era and a sure marker that time is passing inexorably, whether we like it or not.

    It doesn’t seem possible that 14 years have passed since that night, that the indignant kitten became the wizened old cat, that he’s gone now, that we’re all 14 years older.

    I’m glad he wasn’t alone, at the last.

    I’m holding space in my thoughts and my heart for everyone in the Scalzi Compound today.

  51. My sincere condolences on Zeus’ departure. It’s very hard to lose a beloved cat. Your writing was a beautiful tribute.

    I’m not at all surprised to learn that he had a very good life in the Scalzi household where he was loved and well-cared for, even when a bit bitey. That is always something that soothes me when I think of my cats who have left. I cared for and loved them and in return, they greatly enriched my life. I hope that is of some solace to you and your family as well.

    It was one of the last details that touched me the most, that of you staying with Zeus all night at the end, as you did in the beginning. It is such a telling act and one that I deeply appreciate.

    Thank you for sharing this and may the joy of Zeus’ time with you be forever in your hearts.

  52. We lost our senior cat last weekend to congestive heart failure complications. He’d been with us since 2007, when we adopted him from a shelter as a one-year-old. Like Zeus, he was a bit of jerk, but he was our jerk, and we miss him. My sympathies to everyone….

  53. You do write the most excellent pet remembrances.
    They never fail to tell a story of love and family.
    It is sad when their time is over, but the memories are the ones we can keep forever. Would that I had such eloquence for my own.

  54. Please accept my deepest condolences on your family’s loss. The pain we feel at their passing is indeed the toll we pay for the joyful journey of their lives with us. ❤️

  55. I like the neighbor handing you a kitten saying, “Here’s your cat.” I suspect (hope) he then turned around and walked away quietly praying you didn’t call out, “WTF?” Reminds me of a theory a friend has that only a percentage of dogs are rescue dogs but to cats, we’re all rescue humans!

    I’ve never cried so hard in my life as when favorite pets (is there another kind?) died or had to be put down. I’ll go easy on the gender and species designations here, but sadly missed from our lives are Zonker, Sadie, D’Artagnan, Daisy, Deaner, Jules, Woody, Buduski (Buddy), Loddie Doddie (that boy loved to party!) and lastly our beloved Maximus Decimus Meridius (just Max to his friends, and “Oh, please spare me my life your lordship” to Gauls or Celts). Cats; what you gonna do?

    If you love pets, you’d better be able to handle grief as well because all those sweet little critters are going to eventually break your heart. But boy, they sure add to your life while they’re with you!

  56. Our deepest sympathies. It’s always hard to loose a beloved pet. Zeus reminds me of Harry, called the Cat of the Baskervilles. We found him one Dec during an ice storm, as Martha and I left her apt. He was a newly abandoned kitten (probably by college students heading home for Christmas), and was up in a tree. Martha climbed up to get him, hurting herself in the process. He would not have survived that night. It was an ice storm that ultimately led to us moving in together and later marriage. Many years later, after living in a rented duplex, we were married and were living in our current home. It was finally Harry’s time to go, and as he came in ice, he left in fire. A very hot July, causing me to suffer in the heat as I dug his grave. I just know he enjoyed every minute of seeing me do that :) I’m sure Zeus was as spoiled and well taken care of, and loved, as Harry was.

  57. What a beautiful tribute. No, that’s just some dust in my eyes. I’m not a cat person. What.

    Thank you for writing so lovingly about him.

  58. Our family (Jeff, me, and 3 cats Puttle, Nuffles, and Pumbaa) send our deepest condolences. I’m glad he had you all for his time here.

  59. My deepest condolences on the loss of Zeus, who I remember reading about frequently when I first came here. It always hurts when you lose one of your four-legged children, even though we all intellectually know the odds are we will outlive them….

    Romp and annoy the Spirits of The Summerlands, Zeus.

  60. What a lovely post in honor of a what sounds like a wonderful, lively cat. I’m so sorry for the passing of Zeus. It sounds like Olympus will never be the same.

  61. Your writing about Zeus makes me feel like I knew him. Thank you for that. I am sorry for your loss. Pets hold a special place in our hearts.

  62. This is a beautiful, vivid elegy of a real personality. I know that your being there for his last hours meant everything to him.

  63. A wonderful tribute to a feline friend. You were lucky to have found each other. My heartfelt condolences.

  64. John and family, my condolences. It sounds like Zeus had a good life, and he was amongst his loving family of choice when he passed on.

  65. Dear Scalzi family,
    Thank you for sharing Zeus with us. I’m sad to hear if his passing, and with you happy, fond memories.

  66. I think that we are all spending a bit more time with our pets this evening.

    Fair winds and following seas, Zeus.

  67. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so happy that you opened your hearts and home to such a marvelous cat. He was lucky, you were lucky, and we were lucky that you shared so much of him with us. My deepest sympathy.

  68. I’m so sorry to hear of Zeus’ passing, this post was a lovely tribute to what was clearly a cat life well lived. I’m glad to know you were with him at the end, in addition to the early welcome you gave him.

  69. My deepest condolences. Even though 14 years is a long time, I’m sure it seems like it was still not enough time. Such a wonderful tribute, and I really felt that I got to know Zeus after reading it, and yes I had tears in my eyes by the end.

  70. My sympathies to the entire Scalzi family. I am not a cat person, but somehow all your cats seemed to be people. I don’t remember Zeus’s arrival. Haven’t been here that long. Still, I will miss him, or more accurately, your stories about him.

  71. I was a farm kid, and apparently am coarse in my treatment of a pet’s time to go. Congratulations on 14 years with a bad ass cat, and understanding his personality. My tuxedo, Jeff, won’t let me wear socks after work. He also hasn’t forgiven me for getting him fixed a year ago when the vet accidentally tried to kill him. Which is understandable.

    All of which is to say, thanks for being a good pet person and sharing it. I won’t offer condolences because you got a winner for 14 years, and that should be celebrated instead of mourned.

  72. My condolences to the entire Scalzi family. Thank you for sharing Zeus’ story. He was a smart kitty, who found the right family to love him.

  73. The past two years brought a real ‘culling of the clowder’ of cats shared between my ex and me, and when I saw the title of today’s blog, I thought, ‘oh, damn….’ Like you, I also hate that vapid Rainbow Bridge poem and I hope whoever penned it is met by vast swarms of biting insects when they shuffle off their mortal coil..But, one thing I have come to believe is that any unused lives/behaviors of the cat who has passed is then shared amongst the survivors. I have no other way to explain how they suddenly start to exhibit behaviors previously only exhibited by the recently deceased- and yeah, some of the ‘new’ behaviors aren’t my favorites..but it keeps the deceased close. I am sorry for your loss, but you provided Zeus with a wide and well-loved life. Now to see which of the Scamperbeasts will show some of his behaviors….

  74. Oooohhhhh, no. I am so very sorry for your loss, family Scalzi.

    Zeus was a fine old gentleman cat, and I had fun imagining him playing the role of irascible elderly uncle to the rambunctious trio of youngsters. That photo of an indignant Zeus leaping after an impudent Spice (used to be in rotation on the site’s banner) made me grin every time I saw it, because it so perfectly captured what I imagined the relationship was like.

    I had noticed in recent photos of Zeus that his fur was starting to get that unkempt, ungroomed look that elderly cats begin to show as they get more feeble and less flexible, and I’ve worried about him. Our 16-year-old tuxedo gentleman’s fur looks very much the same, and we are soaking up every moment we have with him, knowing that the remaining moments are both finite and dwindling. I am so glad that Zeus gave you enough warning to soak up his love and personality these past few months, and that he did you the honor of inviting you to bear him company as he left.

    Thank you for loving your critters as you do, family Scalzi. It hurts like the devil to lose them, I know – but I hope it is offset by the joy of knowing you made their lives as happy and healthy and warm and safe as you could. I know his memory will be a blessing for you all.

  75. My heartfelt condolences. I lost one of my feline boys, Carlin, a couple of months ago at the age of 13. Fucking cancer.

    He was one of the first two cats that started out being with me at my own house, instead of transplants from my parents’. I didn’t love those ones any less, of course, but there’s something a little different about your… well, first-born, if you will.

  76. I wish I could find words to say my condolences; your eulogy is far more than I could have managed.

    I’m glad he was able to spend his last hours with you, loved and accompanied, and that he passed naturally. My last three cats stayed with me for very long times, but all of them fell sick at the end, to the point where it was kinder to help them along and end the pain. And I bawled every time.

    Rita passed almost exactly a year ago. With COVID, I wasn’t even able to be with her in her last moments; I had to stay in my car, let the vet come out and give her the first injection, then hold her in my lap until she fell asleep and the vet came back out to bring her inside for her final shot. DAMN the COVIDiots.

  77. Er Condolences. But we’re talking about a cat not a human or god, right? Because a cat god named Zeus might be a good novel idea.

  78. I am sorry for your loss. Losing a loved pet is hard. The oldest of my current house clowder are 17yo siblings. They are in good health for their age. Nick still thinks he’s a kitten. Nora likes her warm spots. When they finally go, they will be the last of four generations of cats that have delighted, exasperated, and entertained for over 30 years. I will miss them as I know you and your family miss yours.

  79. I knew before I started reading this that I’d be crying by the end of this, and I was right. Condolences to the entire Scalzi family, bi- and quadruped.

  80. My condolences to the Scalzi family human and furry. In the great scheme of things they are only with us for a short time but the hole they leave in our hearts is huge. I was crying by the end of your tribute. RIP Zeus.

  81. Ahhh, goodbye to Zeus. My condolences to the family and heartfelt thanks for giving us a peek into his life. My kindest thoughts also go out to all those in the comments who have lost pets of their own.

  82. I am so very sorry for your loss. As I am tearfully reading this beautiful eulogy, my elderly cat is trying to console me. Thank you for all you do

  83. What a beautiful tribute, John! You always did know how to make me laugh and cry in the same piece.
    I highly recommend rewatching those videos in the coming weeks when the mood strikes; it’s a ritual that has gotten me through the loss of 6 amazing canine family members.
    Long live the new trio! The love of the first trio lingers on … forever.

  84. Crying here. Your pets are kind of our pets too, when you tell us about their personalities, adventures, relationships, and post their pictures.

    Surely Zeus has returned to Cat Valhalla, ready to wage battle upon the local rodent population. Onward!

  85. And now I’m remembering the night that I spent on the floor, curled around the base of an armchair where my 2-weeks-shy-of-20-years-old cat had bedded down, to make sure she didn’t try to dismount, and hurt herself relying on legs that no longer worked. She left us the next day.
    You gave him a wonderful life and fine companions. Fromn whatever beyond their spirits pass to, I’m sure he remembers you fondly.

  86. Condolences to all the Scalzi clan. I too remember when Zeus’ arrival was first announced on the blog and we had a truly zany naming suggestions chain going. But Zeus fit him perfectly and truthfully he was always my favorite. May he live on immortally on the Web and Whatever.

  87. My condolences to you, Krissy, Athena, and all the junior felines and canine; may you all comfort each other as you grieve for Zeus. Thank you for giving him a good life, staying with him at the end, and bringing him alive for your readers. May he rest in peace and/or scamper cheerfully into his next life!

  88. Condolences to all of you! What a wonderful tribute to Zeus; he is well-remembered.

    We lost our love bug cat, Lila, last spring. Our termagant Crystal is still with us, but has suddenly moved much more into love bug status. I don’t know if she feels her time coming, but I will cherish her ornery demands for pats as long as I can.

  89. Tears indeed, and a remembrance which tugs at all who have had the fortune to be adopted by the pets in our lives.

    Thanks John

  90. My deepest condolences, John. Thank you for sharing Zeus’ story. I have always loved your posts about the adventures of The Scamperbeasts and I will miss Zeus’ appearances. Thinking of you and your family. I’m glad that you were there to be beside him at the end. That’s all any of us, human or animal, can hope for, because it means we are truly loved.

  91. That was tough to read. And beautiful. Zeus joined the Scalzi family about the time I started reading Whatever. Such a good senior pet. All the love and remembrance.

  92. Condolences. It’s never easy; so glad you could be with him for his final night. It has been a privilege to have glimpses into Zeus’s life with you from kittenhood onwards.

  93. I’m glad for the time Zeus had with your family (and vicariously with us); sad that it has ended, and my sympathies. Nobody does loveable asshole quite like a cat.

  94. I am sorry for your family’s loss. Zeus seemed like a cat that lived life to the fullest (as cats do).
    Geez, that last paragraph hit me right in the feels. Thank you for vocalizing how I feel about my pets that have gone on.

  95. My sympathy to your family. Been down this road multiple times with cats and dogs, and it’s a tough one.

  96. Well put. In Greek, eulogy is literally good words. I’ve made a practice myself of composing a eulogy for my animals as they pass on, it’s a healing exercise, to fix their individual traits, episodes and quirks in the mind. Thank you for sharing.

  97. I’ve read this post twice now, and cried both times.

    Giving all our cats extra scritches and pets today, especially our own rambunctious tuxie.

  98. Zeus was one lucky kitten.

    One way to look at it is that he got 14 years of bonus time. His default outcome, back then, was either not finding a garage to duck into, or picking one that came with people who wouldn’t help him. Instead he had a stroke of luck and not only lived through the night, he got another 4000-some nights into the bargain.

  99. O Bubastis, Goddess of the Nile, pray keep watch for the arrival of a little black-and-white cat named Zeus, who never scratched or bit without just cause, who was much loved by his people, John, Kristine, and Athena, and who returned that love in full measure. Guide him forthwith to the Eternal Catnip Fields, wherein he may enjoy a well-deserved rest.

    (He joins two cats that meant a lot to me. Star had seven good years with me, and my ex-wife till she left, and finally decided it was time for her to go when she saw I was no longer alone. Maui went with my ex to Finland, having the kind of adventurous life few cats get to have; she is opening up a cattery for breeding Sacred Birman cats, and it will be named in his honor. All too soon, I fear, Penny may join them as well…she’s slowed down in her old age, and has given us a scare at least once. But she persists still.)

  100. There are humans who don’t get obituaries as wonderful as that you have just written for your cat. As you note, he had a blessed life.

  101. Thank you for sharing him with us. Of course our experience was more about admiring from a distance, but know that his impact and memory spreads far and wide. And thank you for sharing the goodbye as well — sending peace to your family in this time of grief.

  102. Sorry to hear about Zeus. I’ve lost a fair number of beloved cats and I know it’s rough. I’ve been coming here since before Zeus so it’s like losing a friend. Condolences to you and your family.

  103. I’m so sorry for your loss – I’m glad you had each other for so many years. You did right by him.

  104. We let our pets into our heats, already knowing that when they leave us, they’ll tear out a piece and take it with them.
    And then, we’ll do the same for the next one.
    Because that’s the price we pay for their love.

  105. So happy that Zeus was so well loved, measured in part by the sadness of his absence. Condolences ❤ (and tears both happy and sad).

  106. The spirit of Zeus lives on: Last night, Giselle (who is not a biter) deliberately sought out my foot, and chomped down on it very hard. When my husband got into bed, she did the same to him.

  107. Condolences from a cat (and dog) loving family. Tears fell after reading Zeus was placed in his final resting place along side the other two original Bradford cats.

  108. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my Audrey last May after almost sixteen years together. She was very similar in coloring. I’m still in mourning. Her sister Phoebe is creaking along at almost-seventeen but has suddenly become very affectionate, which makes me worry about how soon I’m going to lose her, too.

  109. I’m sad; he was my favorite Scalzi cat. He had a good cat life, with good people and other animals to keep things interesting, and a cat suit that held up really well until just before it was time to take it off and fly free. Can’t ask for better; still, he will be missed.

  110. Sorry to hear it. Yes, he had a good life with you and you enjoyed him but still, when a pet dies on you, a little piece of you will go with them.

  111. Condolences.

    I lost a beloved cat to kidney failure and old age in September, and one of my beautiful, wonderful greyhounds just a month ago to leukemia. It’s never easy to watch them go.

  112. Scalzi, you write one hell of a great eulogy/obit. Zeus was a great kitty, and I’m really sorry for your loss.

    We’ve had cats since back in the early 1970s, from 2 or 3 up to a max (so far) of 9, when a Maine Coon got pregnant years ahead of schedule. So I can’t even recall all of them now, so many great, affectionate kitties.

    Why do you suppose they suddenly become even more affectionate as they near their end? Wife was in the hospital recovering from septic shock when first one old guy, then the next old guy passed. The whole time she was hospitalized I had cats sneaking into bed, winding around my head and purring while I slept all unawares.

    Sorry you Scalzis lost a great cat… what a great eulogy you wrote. You do some of your best work on old cats, for which we are grateful. Wife just this evening came home from the hospital, and the dogs and cats were so very glad to see her. Some kind of a coincidence, huh?

    Good by, Zeus, we’ll be along presently….

  113. Oh, I’m sorry John, losing a pet is so hard.

    I remember when Zeus came. My gosh, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time.

  114. I’m so sorry about Zeus.

    Recently read this comment from redditor Kromulent that I think is quite beautiful:

    “Every day I care for my animals, keeping them happy, keeping them safe, shepherding them through their day with joy, and without harm. When they get old and approach death, nothing changes. As crazy as it sounds, the day I take them to the vet to be put down is the day that I have been working for all this time – I have successfully taken them the whole way. They did not get lost, they were not unhappy, they got to live their whole natural lives the way I wanted them to live it. We made it. We got there together.”

    Your family took Zeus the whole way.

  115. Sorry to hear about Zeus. He sounds like what I would describe as a perfectly well-behaved kitty…as in he behaved perfectly well like a kitty!!

    We lost a beloved 14-year-old kitty last May. Still hurts thinking about it.

  116. I’ve had to say goodbye to more than my fair share of Feline Overlords, mostly “luckily” due to old age and it never gets easier. All our family’s love to yours in this bittersweet time. Thank you for sharing the Scalzi Council of Feline Overlords with us. It’s been a genuine pleasure to glimpse Zeus these last several years.

  117. I love dogs. For a long time, I wouldn’t let myself have one. All through college, graduate school, first job, I went from apartment to apartment and there was no way to know whether or not I would have to move quickly and decide between my dog and a roof over my head. If it came to it, that would be a no brainer. Bridges aren’t that bad.

    I got my first dogs about a month after I got my first house — Sugar and Sam I Am. It turned out I knew them before and rescued them after an ex dumped them. Pure chance. They were the best friends I ever had.

    They are no longer with me but I held them as they passed. Another, Dallas Alice, had a heart attack at the doggie hospital when I wasn’t there. I’ve felt guilty about that ever since.

    The thing about dogs and cats is that they are like children who are forever two years old. I think the final and conclusive proof of the nonexistence of God is that no merciful god would create such wonderful creatures and then make them live so much shorter lives than us. That’s a cruel god of ambushes.

    But every time I lost a dog, the house started feeling empty and I rescued another. Or two. I joined two rescue societies and founded another. Some became mine, most brought joy to others.

    Someone once told me that when his dog died, he never got another. He said he couldn’t go through that again. And that’s the thing about pets. It would not feel so bad to lose them had it not felt so wonderful to have them, and losing that would be too high a price to pay to make my life even.

    My deepest sympathies to you and especially to Krissy and Athena. In the end, the way you put it is best. You took a lost, cold, starving animal and gave it a life.

    There’s nothing better than that.

  118. I am so sorry. I didn’t see the news until this morning and am devastated. I wish that I had words that would comfort you. Thank you for sharing Zeus with us.

  119. I’ve been involved in an estate thing and behind on online reading. My sister just pointed me here. I am so sorry to learn about Zeus. He was such a good kitty. Total strangers are getting weepy over him, here.
    My deepest condolences to all of you.