Above: Our cat Rufus was in a number of cartoons that I drew. He died yesterday. Here is my wife, Stacy, with a remembrance:
Remembering Rufus by Stacy Lynch
Our beloved ginger cat, Rufus (Roo, Big Red), died yesterday after a bout with cancer. Though we knew it was coming, our hearts are utterly broken. He was 13-14 years old.
Rufus came to us as an adult rescue cat in 2003. Up until that point he had had a pretty hard life. He was found tied to the stair railing in a basement in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We believe he was just tossed down in the basement in order to be a mouser and never knew any human kindness – until he was rescued by Annalise Milman and delivered to the Hope Vet office in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, in 2003, where he lived for a short time until we adopted him. He was pretty nearly feral and smelled terrible. He was solid muscle and had “the biggest head I’ve ever seen.”
Adopted and neutered, he came home to our small Brooklyn apartment a few days later. Bertie and Max (RIP both) were NOT impressed! Though he had been neutered, that stinky male cat smell lingered for about a month and we would smell him before seeing him when he entered a room. He spent the first few days hiding in the closet, only venturing out at night to turn over the trash can. Then he moved to under the bed, just out of arm’s reach and squeeze his eyes at me as I lay on the floor and sang him songs from Wonderful Town, which was then playing on Broadway. His special favorites were “A Little Bit in Love” and “A Quiet Girl” – both with adapted lyrics to personalize the songs for him.
Rufus was immortalized in cartoon form several times. His huge expressive eyes and pudgy roundness made him an ideal subject for several of Mike’s cartoons. And he (with Sam) is the star of our Christmas collaboration “The Great Ham Caper." He became an internet sensation when the violinist Hilary Hahn tweeted his picture to her many thousands of followers.
Though he lived a good long life, we are terribly sad that he had to leave us. But we are happy we were able to break through his wall of defenses and turn him into the big, mushy, love-sponge he turned out to be and we are grateful for our 11+ years together.
RIP sweet dear boy. We will love you and miss you forever.