I always told myself I wouldn’t be one of those people that obsessively blogged about their pets. Who cares if they rolled off the bed or ate a cicada? Well, it turns out, I do.
When I was just about 13 years old, after years and years of nagging, my parents finally gave in and let me get a cat. I was determined to get one with black fur, because, y’know, I was totally goth. When my Mom took my brother and I to the Humane Society to pick one out, we had certain criteria to obey. We were to pick up one, and only one cat and it must, for the love of all that is good and holy, be male. No clue why on the male thing, but whatever, I was getting a freakin’ cat!
We wandered the halls and Nathan found her. Or rather, she found him. They locked eyes and we knew instantly that we would be breaking both rules that my Dad had laid down. And then I found him, a tiny two-pound black kitten with gigantic yellow eyes and a bit of a snaggletooth. He was exactly what I wanted. I tried and tried to think of a name. And then I had it! I was obsessed with Titanic, so of course it had to be Jack!
Naturally, of course, Jack would be terrified of the outside world and would claw the living crap out of my neck the second we started our trek to the car. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And then we broke Dad’s rules again when I flipped him over to give him belly rubs and discovered that Jack was actually a Rose.
Her weirdness (and gut) would continue to grow through the years. Despite the introduction of yet another (female!) cat, she continued to be her Momma’s girl and follow me around like a puppy. Any room that I was in, she had to be there too.
I lost track of how many times she rolled off the bed. Rose caught a squirrel once and had no idea what to do with it. After wrestling for a while, it finally espcaped and spent the next half an hour screaming at her from our roof. At some point, she lost one of her canines. I had no idea until she yawned from the back of the chair I was on and I happened to look back at her.
She was fiercely jealous of other pets and people getting my attention and was extra predetory when it came to the other pets even trying to come into my room.
As much as she would snuggle with me, she rarely showed affection towards other people.She did, however enjoy snuggling and immobilizing people’s arms if they annoyed her. My buddy David chased her around a room once to try to get her to excercise. The result was Rose smooshing herself into a corner, tearing up and sniffling and eventually crying like people into my elbow for a good hour or so. Months and a new apartment later, she finally got her revenge when he was DMing a Dungeons and Dragons game. She crawled into his lap, and spread out over his arms, preventing him from rolling his dice or flipping through his books.
I think one of the reasons we got along so well is that we both lived with depression. At one point she was almost put on a cat version of prozac because she kept tearing out her fur and biting herself. Thankfully, the threat of wearing an e-collar put a stop to that behavior.
Through the years, we lived in two different states, 3 different towns and 7 different houses together. Bonita eventually went to live with my brother and his wife. The other cat, Molly came along with us for the ride.
Rose passed away yesterday after 13 years of being a ball of tubby weirdness. The vet thinks it might have been a stroke, but whatever it was, it broke my heart and left a huge hole in my life. Rose spent half of my life with me, and I was with her for all but 2 months of her’s. She was with me through my teenage rebellion, when I finally graduated highschool a year after I walked and through my 3 attempts at college. She was there for me when we lived in Leavenworth and I had no friends. She loved me unconditionally when I was suicidal, before I was finally diagnosed with depression and got the help I needed. Though she never liked being held, she let me hold her and cry for hours when my Mom passed away.
Thank you, Rose, for the years of love and snuggles and laughter. And thank you to whoever was banging on my door at 2:30 am, from the bottom of my heart. Without that noise, I wouldn’t have woken up. She was there through all of my hardships, I would never have forgiven myself for not being there the one time she needed me most.
Rest in peace, Rosie. I hope someday we can meet again.