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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. December 2008 437 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. Sept. 2009 013 As he got older, his energy level waned, and he could do little more than just gaze at photographs of birds in the newspaper, dreaming about his youthful, more adventurous past. May 2010 408 He never managed to capture a squirrel though, even though they were sometimes only a short distance from his grasp. January 2009 12-31-2008 10-50-52 AM 3264x2448  Like most cats, Rocky was curious, getting into places he didn’t belong, like here: June 2010 502 and here: December 2008 422 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: Rocky doorBut sometimes he shirked his duties and just fell asleep there, bathed by the late-afternoon sun. Copy of March 2008 008  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. June 2010 194 Like most cats, Rocky spent a good deal of time sleeping. He seemed to have perfected the act of sleeping in any position or place, no matter how embarrassing or immodest the pose. at ease Rocky Dec 2004  Truly, he could make himself comfortable anywhere – whether in a basket: Cozy Rocky a box: Rocky in boxOr under a down quilt where it seemed like he couldn’t breathe. Feb. 2010 014 Although sometimes, he would stick his head out for a breather: The Rock in bed He sometimes claimed a spot on top of the bed cradled into his master’s arms. April 2010 692 Snoozing in front of a blazing fire, partly stretched out over his scratch pad was a favorite way to spend a holiday afternoon: December 2008 521 Or hanging out on the sofa with the people he loved: December 2008  He especially loved it if you let him crawl onto your chest: May 2010 373 Often he would sleep with his nose to the floor and we couldn’t figure out how he could breathe in this position: July 2009 165 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: March 2010 206He would sit on your clothes and even claim your shoes if you left them lying around: Rocky and shoes  And he had a funny extra little pad under his paw that looked like it didn’t belong there: April 2010 194   Rocky provided our own in-house inspiration for the annual Halloween jack o’lantern: come on Rocky And for wintertime fun in the snow:  Jan-Feb 2010 Italy 853-1 He lost weight as he grew ill, but seated on the piano bench, he could still look as elegant as Van Cliburn: August 2009 419He needed little more than food, shelter and affection – but he gave us so much more in return.  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.”
-Dr. Seuss Rocky P. August 23, 1992 – Sept. 13, 2010  I'd sing happy birthday but I can't carry a tune

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This Post Has 59 Comments
  1. How blessed, to have had such a long, loving relationship with one of God's most wondrous creations. I lost Rosie after 21 years as her human, and I still cry when I think of her, though it's been 4 years now. The ache will always be there, but in time, you'll be smiling and laughing at remembrances of Rocky. He knew how loved he was, I have no doubt.

  2. So sorry about your Rocky, Linda. 18 years is a long time. No doubt you and your family gave Rocky the best life he could ever want. I know you'll miss him dearly but the memories you'll have are for a lifetime. I love that quote from Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
    Hugs to you.

  3. This post really tugged at my heart, Linda. I had my sweet kitty, Clyde, (named after Clyde Drexler, the basketball great) for 17 years and was so sad when he left us. He thought he was lord and master of our family.

  4. So sorry for your loss . but as you say , what joy and memories you have of him.. he was loved, and a similar story .. my husband went to look .. no children .. well not little .. he came back with TWO!!

    We lost our cat months a go .. very sad indeed.. we had lost the sister a few years before that..

    How cat was called Domino .. Black and White and huge .. and yes also lord of the manor ..

  5. What a loving tribute to your dear Rocky. It made me think of TS Eliot's black and white cats …

    Jellicle Cats are black and white,
    Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
    If it happens to be a stormy night
    They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
    If it happens the sun is shining bright
    You would say they had nothing to do at all:
    They are resting and saving themselves to be right
    For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.
    (T.S Eliot, The Song of the Jellicles).

    You might want to read Justine Picardie's recent blog about her dear Jellicle cat …

  6. Linda, I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss! Rocky looks like he led a wonderful life full of love.
    We lost our Labradoodle Schatzi in July after having had her for only 4 short years, so I definitely feel for you. You and your family will be in my thoughts, losing an animal is like losing part of yourself.

  7. Thank you for sharing a little bit of Rocky with us. I did not make it through your post without tears. Kitties have the most amazing way of selecting us as "owners." It was just meant to be.

  8. What a sweet sweet tribute to Rocky. We lost our Tabby at 5 yrs old, last year with cancer. She loved people and was always in the room when family was here. We called her our social kitty. I miss her every day.

  9. he bellissime foto e che bellissima storia Linda! Anche la mia gatta Penelope quando mi ha lasciato ha provocato un grande dolore! Grazie per avermi fatto rivivere attraverso rocky splendidi momenti

  10. Linda: I am so sorry to hear about Rocky. What a wonderful pet for you and your family. May your memories bring you comfort. It is obvious — he was adored.
    Love, Gail

  11. And I smiled through my tears. Down to one of my favorite Dr.Seuss quote. It's a wonder and a beauty – this unconditional love. "I'm going to sit on the sofa with you now and purr… right now – so don't move!" It was kismet – Rocky and your family were fated to fall in love. Want to give you the biggest bear hug and smile and cry and give thanks. And always build snowcats!

  12. Linda,
    I am so sad in Paris looking at the photos of that beautiful lovely cat ROCKY! He reminded me so much of Shasta. I feel so sad.

    Those are the BEST photos!!!! I loved that little furry friend.
    Henry too. It's 1 a.m. here and we are looking at his furry face.

  13. I am so sorry. I worry the day will come when we have to say goodbye to Beethoven. Our almost 16 year old Siamese.

    It is never easy. Rest in Peace Rocky.

  14. pets are just short of a person and word, but they bring such comfort and happiness. I'm sorry about your loss, but Seuss is right having had the pleasure of experiencing his company is better than not having experienced it at all.
    Love, Marianna

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. My Campbell is a little over 15 yrs old and I dread the day that he goes to join my other pets who have passed.

  16. As I am reading your story I have Kramer on my lap and I feel so sad for you. Cats just slip into your home and then your heart.
    Perhaps you can plant a perrenial plant in his honor. That way when it blooms every year you will remember him. Again my heart goes out to you and your family.

  17. Mi spiace per la perdita del tuo Rocky. A casa di mia mamma abbiamo avuto con noi " La Gina " per 14 anni e quando è venuta a mancare, tutti in famiglia abbiamo sentito la sua mancanza. un abbraccio Daniela.

  18. Oh Linda, I am so sad for you. Rocky was such a beautiful and obviously very loved and loving kitty kat to you and all the family.

    My Rufus Puppy (12 years & 7 mos at the time) went missing May 20, 2010 and I have yet to hear a word about him. I am still sick over not finding him. I cry every day over worry about him. And not knowing is the worst.

    I am glad he was with you when he crossed over and he knew he was so loved.

    By Francis Witham

    Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
    Has brought you homeless to my gate? The gate where once another stood
    To beg for shelter, warmth, and food

    For from that day I ceased to be
    The master of my destiny.

    While he, with purr and velvet paw
    Became within my house the law.
    He scratched the furniture and shed
    And claimed the middle of my bed.

    He ruled in arrogance and pride
    And broke my heart the day he died.
    So if you really think, oh Cat,
    I'd willingly relive all that
    Because you come forlorn and thin
    Well…don't just stand there…Come on in!

  20. It is sadness indeed to lose such a special part of the family. We lost our Maggie several years ago, and still we talk about her. I loved your pictures of Rocky….clearly this kitty was quite the character. Hugs to your family.
    ♥, Susan

  21. So sorry Linda…
    I am sitting here with tears in my eyes…
    He was well loved that is clear…
    The love obviously went both ways…

  22. Linda, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear Rocky. What a special little guy. He was blessed to have such a loving family that will miss him so much. This is a lovely tribute – it brought tears to my eyes.

  23. I am so sorry to read that Rocky has passed over the Rainbow Bridge, Linda! Rocky was such a handsome and special cat. Sometimes I think we don't chose them, they chose us!
    As a fellow cat owner/admirer I know how sad you all are to have lost his love and company. I'm sure he knew he was loved in return for all his 18 years. RIP Rocky! Big {{hugs}} of consolation to you, Linda

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France

  24. People who earn the love of a cat are special people indeed. When I met my husband he was crying over the loss of a 20 year old cat and I knew he was the one 🙂

  25. Wow, what a great tribute! I think your Rocky and my Samuel may have been twin brothers! My cat looks identical to Rocky and has some of the same habits, lying flat on his back with paws up in the air and legs spread, and in front of the fireplace or under the Christmas tree. Our Samuel's best friend is our little lhasa poo dog, Bailey. They chase each other and "box" together.

    I know how hard it is to lose our four legged friends who have shared their lives with us. Sorry for your loss

  26. Tears come as I look at my cat, Sunshine, who has been with us for 15 tears, I feel your pain and giggle as I see poses of "Rocky" that are so similar to Sunshine, especially the crossed paws, so sophisticated and proper, cats are the loves in our lives, and your Rocky will live in your hearts forever!

  27. RIP Rocky. We had many cats over the years but Micia who the most longeve, 18 years just like Rocky and when she left us (killed by a car no less after so many years) we were devastated so we understand your feelings right now.
    You gave him a great tribute and I'm sure he'll always be in your hearts.
    (I always read your posts but hardly ever comment but this got to my soft spot)

  28. Mi dispiace tantissimo, Linda. It seems like Rocky enjoyed a life full of love in your house; I imagine he was also quite well fed. Thanks for sharing your tribute.

  29. Now I'm sitting at my desk weeping because I miss my cat Spot, also long-lived, so much! Like Rocky, a long and happy life. My condolences to you all. Thank heavens for soothing chocolate!

  30. Oh, what a loving tribute to a beautiful cat, Linda. Rocky was a handsome boy and I can just tell how he filled your lives with joy. He was lucky to have had your family to live with. He looks a bit like my Giacomo, especially in that upside-down pose! These creatures truly tug at our heartstrings and make us more human in the process. I am sorry for your loss, but your photos and memories will keep his spirit alive.

  31. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I read you a couple times a month, but do not think I have ever commented before. We are dealing with a sick doggie right now with an uncertain outcome. I understand you loss and the big hole they leave in your family and in your heart. Take care


  32. ♥♥♥ – What a beautiful life Rocky had. It is touching to see how much you all loved him! I am sorry that you have to feel all of the sadness right now. Lots of love to you Linda – Megan

  33. So sorry for your loss Linda. By looking at the pictures it looks like Rocky had 18 years of constant love and affection, he was truly blessed.
    Hope your family is making it through this time. Hugs.

  34. What a beautiful tribute and memorial to your wonderful companion, Rocky. Our pets are so special are just precious gifts. Thanks for sharing something so personal and so special. Roz

  35. What a sweet story and what sweet photos! I have two cats that take turns ruling our home. One of them loves to hide under the comforter too. So sorry for your loss.

  36. What a beautiful cat he was and this was a lovely tribute to him. It is funny how our animals become like another child to us and that we can love them with such fierceness. I'm sorry for your loss.

  37. I am just catching up here but so sorry for your loss. Pets become such a big part of the family. I had a few cats myself and still miss them even though the last one passed over 4 years ago.

  38. gosh, it made me cry yet feel the love you had for him….RIP. Sorry for your lose, I love most animals and cats have a special place in my heart.

  39. So sorry for your loss… He looked like an exceptional character. You must miss him terribly. But I'm sure he knew how loved he was.
    Robyn xx

  40. Oh! I can't help shed a tear! Rocky brought a wonderful dimension to your lives. He must be so missed but I know he will live in your hearts forever. Our family pets are like that, aren't they?

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