We have some sad news to share—Rancho Soleil has one less inhabitant these days. What once was a lively two cat household is now a much quieter one cat residence. Rookie, a much loved feline family member who was with us for the past nine years, has gone on to greener pastures. Or fields of catnip brimming with mice or whatever it is that cats dream of.
Funny how attached one becomes. Especially when considering how annoying Rookie was. Like when he’d yowl at the top of his lungs in the middle of the night. Or when he’d curl up in bed with us and just as we were falling asleep he’d commence an incredibly loud bathing ritual that lasted until one of us kicked him off. Or the thousands of times he jumped on the bed in the night, landing often in Lance’s mid-section.
Throw in the general disobedience and disregard for household rules and it’s a wonder we loved him as much as we did. I recall the time he was on the roof of the small cottage we were renting. Not sure how he got up there but we had to get him down. As I stretched out my hand to pull him to safety he chose to leap off the roof, falling through the air with a bewildered look on his face. I’m not sure what he expected but thankfully he survived unharmed.
Then there was the time we had to extract a cat fang from his shoulder (which explained why the wound wouldn’t heal). He had obviously been in a fight—his right ear had a slit in it. Not sure if he won but at least he didn’t lose a fang. We had to fashion a special bandage for him to wear. Boy, did he love that!
How about the time he hid from us on a travel day? We were living in our RV and were ready to move on to our next campsite in another state. Everything was in order but we couldn’t find Rookie. We searched high and low in the RV (small place, easily done). Then we roamed around our site in case he had snuck out. Nothing. Of course, we called his name to no avail. Finally, after checking the RV for the umpteenth time I noticed some fur protruding from one of the vents. Grabbing the flashlight I confirmed that it was Rookie. He was fine – curled up and sleeping soundly. Good thing he was out of my reach because at that moment I wanted to strangle him! Later we had to disassemble the duct work to get him out of there…
We managed to train both our cats to wear harnesses and leashes or as I say “super suits.” It was an easy concept, they couldn’t go outside unless they had on their super suits, and there wasn’t much Rookie liked more than being outside. He loved dirt, grass, insects, flowers, trees, and people (not so much dogs, natch). Rookie also enjoyed going for a walk on his leash—just so long as where we wanted to go was the same place he wanted to go.
I think Bailey had it the roughest. We actually called Rookie “Ruiner” because every time Bailey was playing with a toy, Ruiner would spring up from a deep slumber and instantly want to play with that exact same toy. Never mind that there were a dozen other ones to choose from. Rookie was an adopted younger brother to Bailey and he acted the part—always following Bailey around, trying to play, and even cuddle with him. Annoying! (Bailey’s word, not mine.)
Don’t get me wrong, we loved our big, tall 18-pound cat. He was a very social animal who was the center of attention especially when we had guests. He had an inordinate fondness for the clamshells that strawberries come in—which was oddly endearing. We even loved his strangely long tail that could knock full glasses over if we were remiss enough to place them on the coffee table. His playfulness, exuberance, and boundless energy were the qualities that attracted us the day we adopted him from the Humane Society.
And so it was with tearful smiles that we said goodbye to our most exasperatingly wonderful, furry friend.
Photos: View more photographs on Flickr: Rookie.