How does a furry little four-legged creature enter your home, proceed to declare himself lord of the manor, and conquer your heart? It all started with the small notice tacked onto the bank’s bulletin board from a family whose cat had recently given birth.
“We’re just going to look,” I told the kids. “We’re not going to bring home a kitten, especially since your dad is away on a business trip.”
All the resolve in the world couldn’t trump the imploring gaze of the tiny little kitten who was the last of his brothers and sisters to find a home. He may have been the runt of the litter, but those three little spots marking his nose endeared us to him immediately. In a short while, he was in the car on his way to a new home. Our home. And we had some explaining when the real lord of the manor came home from his business trip.
In his youth, Rocky was smothered by the affection of two children in the household and soon grew used to the constant hugs and caresses that were showered upon him. He was a docile cat who never scratched a human and rarely dug his claws into furniture. But that didn’t mean he didn’t go after small birds and bunnies (and occasionally other cats and dogs too) in the neighborhood, much to the consternation of me and my husband.
He never managed to capture a squirrel though, even though they were sometimes only a short distance from his grasp.
Like most cats, Rocky was curious, getting into places he didn’t belong, like here:
As he grew older, he loved to take walks with us down the street, tagging behind us just like a faithful dog. He also loved to sit sentry at the front door, watching the activity on the street:
Many days he could be found outside the front door, watching the neighborhood from his little mat. But even here, he sometimes let down his guard and fell asleep on the job.
Truly, he could make himself comfortable anywhere – whether in a basket:
Although sometimes, he would stick his head out for a breather:
He sometimes claimed a spot on top of the bed cradled into his master’s arms.
Snoozing in front of a blazing fire, partly stretched out over his scratch pad was a favorite way to spend a holiday afternoon:
Or hanging out on the sofa with the people he loved:
He especially loved it if you let him crawl onto your chest:
Often he would sleep with his nose to the floor and we couldn’t figure out how he could breathe in this position:
He had a few other unusual habits, including sitting with his paws crossed as if he were following some Emily Post etiquette guide for cats:
And he had a funny extra little pad under his paw that looked like it didn’t belong there:
Rocky provided our own in-house inspiration for the annual Halloween jack o’lantern:
And for wintertime fun in the snow:
He lost weight as he grew ill, but seated on the piano bench, he could still look as elegant as Van Cliburn:
Thank you for coming into our lives 18 years ago Rocky. We miss you.
“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”
August 23, 1992 – Sept. 13, 2010