Uglier, the cat that was stolen by three SUNY Brockport college students earlier this month, is dead. She died peacefully this morning shortly after 6:00 AM.
Java, as she was also known, was an old cat, and death comes to us all eventually, so her death was not unexpected.
Uglier wasn’t been quite the same after she was rescued and returned home, so we’ll never know how much being kidnapped shortened her life.
But at least the people who helped to find her can take heart in knowing that they made it possible for her to die peacefully at home.
It is a raw 42 degrees in Brockport this morning. But thanks to the hundreds of SUNY college students and Brockport residents who turned out to find Uglier after she was stolen and then abandoned on campus almost a mile from her home, she died in her own house instead of shivering as she huddled under a bush in a place she didn’t know.
Uglier never was the brightest cat in the world, but she might have been the friendliest. She will be missed by her family and by all the children, college students, and village residents who would stop to pet her whenever they walked down Utica Street.
They will all miss her beautiful green eyes, and the way she used to “Mew” instead of “Meow”. They’ll miss the way she would walk up to anyone. They’ll miss the way she used to walk up to them and flop down at their feet to be petted; and they’ll miss the way she would purr like crazy when she was being petted.
Her family will miss her dumb stunts, like sleeping in a decorative basket or sleeping in the bathtub. But they’ll always smile about how she was smart enough to realize that she could get a drink of fresh water from the water dripping from the faucet after someone took a shower.
She turned that one into a regular routine of climbing into the bathtub and crying for someone to turn the water on just enough so she could get a drink from the drip. Her twin sister, known as Ugly by some and Reese’s by others, has never figured that out, despite her reputation for being a smart cat.
The kidnapping did affect Uglier, and it showed in strange ways. Since she returned home she had taken to sleeping in the middle of the hall floor upstairs. She’d never done that before.
It’s a narrow, L-shaped hallway, in an old house. One leg of the L runs east-west from the bedroom at the top of the stairs to the master bedroom. The other leg runs north-south from the master bedroom to the two bedrooms and the bathroom at the end of the hall.
The north-south leg seems even narrower because Uglier’s book-loving family put a bookcase on the south wall near the bedrooms and the bathroom.
Ever since she came home, Uglier been sleeping, sprawled out across the narrowest part of the hall floor, by the bookcase. It was the perfect spot to get tripped over in the middle of the night when someone got up to go to the bathroom. In typical Uglier fashion, she wouldn't even move after someone tripped over her. She'd just lie back down in the same spot as if nothing had happened.
And instead of peeing on the kitchen floor, she’d started peeing on the hall floor near the bedrooms and the bathroom, and then she wouldn’t walk past the puddle of pee to go into the bathroom until someone wiped up the puddle of pee.
That’s where she died, peacefully in her sleep, sprawled out across the narrowest part of the hall floor.
She was so old and so completely deaf that quite often she wouldn’t hear you coming, and wouldn’t raise her head as you approached. When members of the family saw her sprawled out like that, they would always reach out to touch her to see if she was alive.
This morning, she was dead.
In accordance to family tradition, Uglier is buried in a flower bed in the yard.
No one passing by will ever see her lying in the bedroom window again. No one walking down the street will ever stop to pet her again. But everyone in Brockport will always have the memories of what a great cat she was.
Uglier was the friendliest cat on the face of the earth. RIP.