Saturday, February 07, 2009

Romeo 1994-2009

From the moment he met me, I was sure he hated me. He was seven, and for all seven years of his life, it was him and Rhona. He was her Romeo. So you can imagine how that went.

Indeed, after we got married, he would hide around a corner, waiting for me to walk into the room. Then he would pounce. He was 14 lbs, but I know he thought he could take me.

He eventually did warm up to me. We played to together a lot, and eventually he would even come when I called (now, he would come whenever I call).

I used to tell him that cats all over the world would be embarrassed for him because he acted like a dog. What cat do you know that would come when you called? Play fetch? He would even pant like a dog after playing.

He liked to get his own way. The first night that we took possession of our new house, we brought him, of course. We didn't have a speck of furniture in it, but we wanted to sleep in it. Romeo ran around the house, then sat at the bottom of our sleeping bag and howled. Rhona suggested we go home, I suggested we stick him in the basement.

We went back to the old apartment and slept. He didn't sleep here till we got the bed here.

He thrived in the new house. We would run around our living room, chasing each other. He would sit on the window sills and watch the people. He would hang out in our courtyard. Him and I got really close. Each night, he would come and lay on my chest and stare at me. His head would be about two inches from my face -- a distance he picked. God forbid I try to get closer, he would run away.

Romeo gave you the space he wanted to give, not the space you wanted.

Those nights that he laid on my chest, he would size me up. He would look at me like he wished he was bigger and could just eat me.

The day we got Lucy was probably Romeo's second worst day (the first being the day we got me). Lucy was Romeo's size, but that would obviously change fast. Like me, Romeo put Lucy through some welcoming initiations. He would hide around a corner and pounce on Lucy when she walked by. Lucy got the point where she would run out of the room is Romeo ambled in. And you could hear Romeo from a mile away. He didn't get the sneak gene that cats get. If he got up in the middle of the night, you could hear the little rat, tat, tat of his paws on the wood floors.

To his credit, he never put either kid through an initiation. Not because he couldn't, because he knew there was a difference. Autumn was able to grab his tail, grab his fur, and he let her. To put that into perspective, in my early years with Romes, if I grabbed his tail he would turn on me in an instant.

Romeo was, and will always be the first pet I was responsible for. He was Rhona's cat, but he was my first pet that wasn't my parent's. He immediately became my cat, and eventually my friend. I remember one time that I took him to the vet.

He didn't like the vet.

They needed three handlers with gloves to examine him. He screamed and fought while they did their thing, and when they finished, one of the handlers asked me if I had something to carry him in. I told them no, and pick him up. Even all worked up, he relaxed in my arms.

We were buds. And we had a lot of fun together over these last 7 years, and I am grateful that he came as part of the package.

Romeo. Scromes. Little buddy. This is getting harder to write, but I just want to say that I'll never forget you. You were my little cat that acted like a little dog.

Thanks for all the fun. I'm thankful that the kids aren't really old enough to understand what is going on. I told Autumn that Romeo was really sick, and she kissed him. Earlier today, while I was sitting in the bed with Romeo, Lucy jumped up and gave him a kiss. A goodbye kiss.

As I write this, Rhona has taken Romeo to the vet, where they will ensure that he goes to sleep peacefully. He's 7 lbs, and the last month has been tough. His a little fighter, but the cancer in his is winning. His last meal was uncooked shrimp. His favorite, but you could tell is was hard to force down.

Romeo, you lived a good life. Had a good time. Now rest in peace little buddy. And we'll miss you like crazy.

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