Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Who Was She?

In the last few years, I have done a lot of genealogy work on my family tree. Especially for family members that I knew and loved, I think it is really important to tell future generations just who they were, rather than only show a picture. So, in that same vein, let me tell you about my Rosie-cat…

• She was born August 5, 2003 and died August 9, 2006. She had just lived to see her 3rd birthday.
• She was born in Kansas City, MO.
• I first met her when she was 6 days old. I was working for Rose Brooks Center, a shelter for battered women. One of the women had showed up at our shelter with her 2 cats, one of whom had just had 3 babies. We were so excited to have the mama cat and her babies, and loved to check out the kittens. I immediately fell in love with this cute little grey tabby baby (Rosie). Eventually, the woman decided that she had too much going on in her life to handle having pets, and so those of us that worked at the shelter adopted some of the cats. I took Rosie. She was maybe 3 or so months old!
• Rosie was named after the shelter (Rose Brooks Center)
• I always called her “My little wild and crazy lady.” My parents called her “Rosie the Riveter.” I always joked that Rosie would stalk the neighborhood taking out small neighborhood children in the night. She was such a tough cat, and wasn’t scared of anything!
• She was quite the hunter. She loved to catch mice, birds, lizards, large bugs, basically anything of a certain size that could put up a good fight. As soon as they stopped fighting back (usually meaning once they had died) they were mo fun any more and she would move on to find her next victim.
• She was an expert at finding the most unusual but still comfortable places to nap. This could range from anything as simple as sleeping on our bed, to sleeping in the laundry basket, or in the middle of Chris’s bike bag, or in the middle of a stack of tires, or cramming herslelf into a basket or container that already has lots of stuff in it (i.e. my sewing basket), etc. She took the most wonderful naps, and Chris always joked that that was when she would turn into a nice kitty…when she was comatose!
• She always had an agenda going, and didn’t like you messing with it. When she was outside, it was exploring to find something interesting, or hunting. Inside, it was to get fed, and find the perfect napping spot.
• Her schedule usually worked this way: She would stay out all night. She usually went out just before we did our last walk of the night with Maggie so she could come too. Then in the morning, she would come inside, and I feed her some wet food. Then she sleeps all day until about the time we get home from work. Then she moves back and forth between inside and outside until it is time for her night to begin.
• She and Maggie were the best of friends. They have been this way since day 1. They loved to play a game with each other. In the evenings when we took Maggs for her last walk of the night, Rosie would come too, but she would try keep herself hidden. When we would get around to the alley the leads to the back of our house, she would come running out at full speed from behind a bush or out from under a car. She would slap Maggs in the face if Maggie didn’t see her, and then take off running. We would let Maggie off her leash, and then it would be a race between the two of them to see who can get to the yard first. Rosie knew where all the hiding spots were so she could duck under something just before Maggie got to her. They did this almost every night.
• The two of them loved to play indoors as well. This usually happened whenever the weather was bad outside, so Rosie would stay in and therefore be bored. She will wait until Maggie is peacefully resting on the floor. Rosie would casually walk up to her. Then her ears go back, and she bounces sideways towards Maggie, and then will box Maggie in the face or neck until Maggie starts to fight back. I think it boosted her little ego that she could kick a dog’s butt.
• She would taunt the dogs in the neighborhood. We have dogs that live on either side of us. We were watching her one day, when she casually jumped up on the fence between our house and our next-door-neighbor’s house. She then without any sense of fear, she would jump lightly into the neighbors yard, and get just to where their dogs could see her. She would let them get just so close to her before she would bounce back up onto the fence and just give them this look that said “Ha! You ALMOST got me!!” She would keep that up for a while to make them crazy.
• She was a love when she wanted to be. She would come in and jump in my lap and just purr. She would knead on you and nap with you. She loved it when one of us was watching TV in the living room and laying on the couch. She would jump up and sleep in your lap. I used to give her hugs every morning, where I would just hold her like a baby and she would purr and purr.
• I think one of the happiest times in her life was when we went to Florida for a couple of months while we were between jobs. My parents have a house there that we stayed at. While we were there, Rosie learned 2 valuable skills: hunting and climbing trees. I felt like I hardly ever saw her because she was in hog heaven out there taking over the neighborhood! That area has TONS of lizards, and they were all around the outside of the house (I will say that when we left Florida, that was no longer the case), and the trees were ones that were easy to climb, and that opened up a whole new world for her. I remember one day I was doing laundry. The house sits on stilts in case of flooding. The laundry area is under the house at street level. Anyways, I was either just starting or finishing a load, when I saw Rosie walking up to me in her confident way. I said hello to her, and looked over. Rosie had a lizard in her mouth…she was holding him by his head, and he was still very much alive and his body was wiggling all over the place, trying to get loose! What was worse, was she was bringing him to me! I screamed, backed into the laundry room, and shut the door. It took a few minutes for her to give up and go away.
• She lived life very much to the fullest and completely on her own terms. I loved her independence, and how in her world it was all about her. She was a funny cat! The way she thought about things, and made decisions…I wouldn’t have had her any other way. She was very tough as a kitten getting used to her, but once she grew into an adult, she was the perfect cat. I had the perfect balance of pets between her and Maggie. Maggie is the mama’s girl who needs a lot of reassurance, and Rosie was the tough one who liked to think she didn’t need anyone (but in quiet moments, let me know she really did). It was fun to have that kind of dynamic. We loved her very much, and will never, never forget her.


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