Tuesday, August 25, 2009

R.I.P Sweet Baby Girl

The sweetest kitty in the whole wide world died today. Her name was Rocket. This is her story, and a little bit mine.

In 1995 The Thirty-Something Bride was a Twenty-Nothing living in Los Angeles. I was renting a set-up not unlike that of Melrose Place fame. Five apartments, a pool, a single gal (moi), a single guy, the gay couple with their alcoholic brother, the unmarried couple with an infant and the married couple with two pre-teen girls and Muslim father-in-law. You know, the norm. I was dating unimportant people at the time and one of these unimportant people called me at work one day.

Him: You know that cat that won't shut up?
Me: The one outside that cries constantly?
Him: Yeah, that one. What do you think about it?
Me: What do you mean what do I think about it? I think it's loud. I think it ran away from home during the earthquake (*this was a few months after the Northridge quake that I happened to live 6 miles from its epicenter - FUN! Many pets freaked and got loose and never found their way homes - very sad).
Him: Well, do you like it?
Me: I don't know, I've been avoiding it. You know how I am with cats. One stroke, one pet and I'm done for.
Him: It's in your apartment.
Me: WHAT?!?!
Him: I couldn't stand it anymore. I brought it in. I named it Rocket.
Me: You named it what?
Him: Rocket. The Houston Rocket's just won the National Championships. It came to the door. I named it.

Oh, for Christ's sake.

From then on, I had a cat named Rocket. She had a bad injury at the base of her tail where another animal had bitten her. I took her to the vet. She had been fixed and de-clawed, so she was definitely a Quake Cat. I scoured the papers for a lost calico, but found nothing. She was mine.

And she was loud. She meowed ALL the damn time. It was exhausting. She constantly wanted me to pick her up and pet her and love her. In 1997, my cousin (and MOH) called me from San Luis Obispo and said, "There's a little kitty. She went into heat and all the Tom cats are trying to fuck her. It's upsetting. I'm getting her fixed. Come get her, Bryn (her cat) doesn't like other cats and Rocket needs a friend." Fair enough. I drove up to SLO and was introduced to Less. As in Less Than Zero. Eh? The neighbor's cat, Zero, was this big fat black cat. Less was a little tiny black cat. She was "less" than Zero, and it stuck. I brought Less home and they were fast friends. The best friends ever. See:

I tried to get a picture of them snoozing, but woke them up. They both yawned at the same time. I think it looks like they are singing. Laaaaaa!

I love this picture. Rocket used to sit right in Less's face and flick her tail for Less to play with. She's doing it here. It looks like Less has her paw up Rocket's butt, which I think is hysterical.

Rocket drinking out of my cup. Note the Ikea laden apartment and lava lamp. Sweet.

We had many happy years together. We moved across the country to Chicago. I left the electric mattress pad turned on all day so the kitties would stay warm in the winter. They're from L.A. - they needed the heat! :) They moved with me again 7 years later to Nashville. It was about that time that I had to take the cats in for doctor's appointments so I could get them across state lines without any hassle. I got the news that little Miss Rocket had kidney disease. Sad times. I was moving to a new job that would take me out of the country for longer than I ever had been gone before. Rocket needed daily attention now. I called the mother of all things kitty, my mom. Already with two cats, she somehow managed to get my dad to take in a third so that they could take care of Rocket properly.

For five years my mom gave Rocket homeopathic meds every day. She was healthy and happy and comfy. Less was the alpha cat between them, but Rocket took over that role at my mom's house. Bad-ass old cat is what she was. Rocket promptly took over the heated cat bed. I took this picture of her at Christmas, right after The Candyman and I got engaged! By this time, she was nearly deaf. This I found hysterical because she'd meow really loud if she wanted something. Her eyes were getting hazy and she was really thin and light. My mom and I started talking about the realities of old kitties.

Some time after January, my mom had to start giving Rocket liquids by IV in order to keep her weight up. It worked for a while. Then she wasn't peeing in the cat box, but right outside because she couldn't get her old bones into the box! She stopped meeting my mom at her bedroom door every morning. She slept and didn't eat -not even tuna juice, her favorite thing in the whole wide world.

It was clear that putting her down was what needed to happen. She was slowly dying and that's no way for anyone to go. Thankfully, my mom warned me yesterday. Rocket had a scheduled doctor's appointment today and my mom told me she was planning on having "the talk" with the vet. My mom came home with an empty cat cage today. The voicemail just about killed me. Not because I didn't know it was coming, but because my mom was trying to keep it together and failing miserably. It reminded me of when I gave Rocket to my folks to drive home. Rocket was HOWLING in the cat cage, I was bawling, my mom was bawling because I was bawling and my dad was tripping because ALL the females were upset - human and feline!

I've been prepared for this. I knew it was coming. She'd been sick for a while now. But she was the best kitty in the whole wide world. Ask anyone. She never hissed at anyone or anything, except for a mean kitty outside one time (ok, and maybe at my mom's bitchy cat Millie, a time or two). You could hold her like a baby and she'd purr her head off. She jump up next to you and touch you with her paw, as if to say, "Excuse me. Please pet me." She had these funny, short legs. She wasn't an elegant cat, or a jumper. The lower she was to the ground, the happier she was. In her old age, she'd yell at you to pick her up and put her somewhere. "MeYOW!" She liked french fries and Jack in the Box tacos. I'd wake up in the middle of the night to her howling because she couldn't find me. I'd yell out, "I'm in here, dumb-ass!" and she'd come running into the bedroom and snuggle up and go to sleep. I never said she was smart. She was sweet. The sweetest kitty that ever lived. Period.

My dear, sweet, soft friend. Enjoy an eternity of sunshine laden sleeping spots and cans of tuna juice - all for you. I'll miss you, my little Rocket-Sprocket Pumpkin-Head.

Rocket, in her heyday.


  1. Oh no. Rocket was a love muffin. Even though I only met her a few times over the years she was always such a dignified kitty - even as she approached you and said, "love me NOW". She looked so much like our Sunny (AKA Sunny Dumb Bunny) that I always felt a special connection to her. RIP, little one.

  2. aww Im so sorry about your cat...she sounds like and looks like a beautiful little kitty. We tried to have two kitties...Marie and Cleo...but it was too much for my allergies. I love little kitties and puppies I just cant be near them!

  3. I lost my kitty late last year too. It was completely unexpected. My sister's dog has distemper and went after my cat. My mom called teh next day and told me what happened. She could barely keep it together, which only made it worse. I miss him everyday. :( Makes my teary-eyed even now.
    p.s. Thanks for the words of encouragement too!

  4. Sorry to hear that, better than her suffering though - and Rocket was a cool name! My old cat was Sparky and sadly he just disappeared.

  5. The house is strangly quiet this morning -- no Rocket me-YOWing for attention!

  6. I know you heart is broken. I am thinking of you and your parents today. Praying for peace for you all and Rocket.

  7. Ok, I don't even like cats and you've got me misty-eyed!!! I have fond memories of Rocket loving on me; I think she went crazy that I played hard to get with her. ;-) I always ended up caving and petting her, and frantically washed my hands after to prevent itchy-eye. LOL! It was worth it. Rest in peace, sweet kitty.