Rosie the Cat

Rosie, circa 2004. She says, "Phoenix?
Really, guys?"
I'm surprised by how much I cry.

First, when I ran back into the house - the kids all loaded in carseats already - to get lawn chairs from the basement. I saw her from the stairs, lying there on the floor, in a position unusual for her. I cried because I wasn't expecting it, not at that moment anyway, and because I don't want to have to deal with it. And then, later, when M wrapped her in a sheet and tucked her in a box. We went to the concert anyway, Laurel crying the whole way because it took too long and she has "nothing to do" and Mark O fussing because he hates riding in the car when he can't see my face. Tears streamed down my face quietly, until I started laughing after Laurel shouted, "Oh no! We are all crying! What will we do?"

I never even wanted a cat. M convinced me, the year we got our first apartment together. She came to us through one of his work friends. She was a neurotic creature, who didn't like to live with other pets. She had trouble grooming her long hair, and a passive-aggressive way of shitting on the floor when she disapproved of something. When he brought her home, she crawled under the claw-foot tub and stayed there all day. That night, she came scratching at our bedroom door and mewed until we let her in. She curled up at the foot of our bed and slept like that for the next 8 or 9 years.

She was fairly tolerant of our cross country moves and long term house guests and roommates. Late nights and wild parties. We used to have her shaved into the "cub cut" during the summer. She would eventually be grateful to be free of her long hair in the hot weather, but on the first day, she always looked naked and self-conscious. She had an extremely sarcastic and judgmental glance. But she also rubbed up against my ankles while I did the dishes, and kept me company whenever M was away. Her purr sounded almost like a chirp when she was especially satisfied.

When we moved to our current house and had kids, she was already very gray, and not as limber. She used to leap effortlessly up to the window sills or the back of the couch. She could still manage it to the end - even this past week, I saw her get up on the dining room window sill to look at a squirrel running back and forth across our garage roof. But she looked arthritic and unbalanced doing it.

Rosie says, "What is that thing and why
 is it so loud?"
Five years ago she started having kidney problems. The vet tried to give her this fancy, scientifically-prepared food, but she would only eat dry Purina kibble. Hairball Formula. Who knows what's in that crap, but I'm surprised she survived a decade and a half on it. Anytime we would bring home another brand it would sit uneaten in her dish for days.

Since Laurel started walking, Rosie pretty much moved into the basement. She would only come up when Laurel was at daycare, or late at night. However, recently, Laurel started visiting her in the basement, gently stroking her ears and bringing her scoops of cat food. Laurel learned to mimic Rosie's purring noises, but even after they started getting along, she would tell everyone she met, "We have an old cat. She is grumpy."

I'm surprised at how universal death is, for all living creatures. The way the spirit of a person or an animal leaves the body, and how profound that feeling is when you look at the body, at what is left. She was so decidedly gone. I wonder where that energy goes - all the subtle gestures that make up one's personality.

I'm not a cat person, not even a pet person, really. But Rosie was a trusty companion for 12 years and we'll miss her a lot.


Anonymous said...

Goodbye Rosie.

Beautiful post, Katy.


Anonymous said...

This made me think of Sam. Still a poignant memory.

Animals that we learn to love do more for us than we do for them.

Aunt Mary

Anonymous said...

Rest In Peace Rosie
aunt Laine