Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Cat Tales
I was only eighteen when we found each other. I heard him before seeing him – a tiny meow from somewhere within the tangle of grass and thistle of a countryside field. Eventually, I was able to trace the source of the sound, coming upon a litter of feral barn cats, wild and unapproachable, except for him. I sat down in the tall grass and he wandered away from his littermates, straight towards me, eventually curing up in my lap.

Just like that, we belonged to each other.

I’m not sure Rasta ever knew he was a cat. He possessed none of the arrogance, superiority and aloofness that give cats a bad name. He ate pizza. He liked baths. He appreciated a good belly-rub and he loved car rides.

Back then; long before Expeditions and Hummers, I drove a Ford F250 truck. It was the biggest, meanest looking vehicle on the road, towering above other cars and rarely the type of truck one would see a woman driving. Driving that beast elicited double takes everywhere I went. But I was never sure if people were looking at me, or at the huge tabby-cat with the big, green eyes sitting front and center on the dashboard.

We went everywhere together: Camping on the Oregon sand dunes, hiking in the Cascade Mountains. He’d sit by the campfire, come when I’d call and happily curl up in the tent with me at night. He was my partner for every road trip to every outdoor concert, probably the only cat ever to see Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash perform live.

For sixteen years, we were a team. He forgave me for bringing home a husband, then a kitten, followed by a puppy and two human kids, too. He was my faithful lap companion through the long nights of studying during night school and my sidekick as I hiked the forests of our mountainside property. When we purchased a small boat, I couldn’t fathom leaving him behind while we vacationed, so he went with – through the San Juan Islands of Washington State and into the beautiful spaces of British Columbia.

We grew up together, Rasta and me. Knowing we couldn’t, and wouldn’t, grow old together was a thought I tried not to often visit, as it nearly crushed me to even consider it.

Rasta outlasted my other pets, many of my friendships and even my marriage. He was there during the best of times and the worst, steadfast, unwavering. One morning, during one of the worst of times, while my divorce proceedings were in full swing, he took his regular spot on the kitchen counter as I readied my day’s first cup of coffee – a morning ritual we’d shared for almost two decades. And then, I saw it . . .

Rasta, seemingly overnight, suddenly looked like the old man he was. And he looked back at me, letting out a half-purr/half-sigh, as if to affirm what I was thinking: our time together was coming to a close.

I don’t miss that cat any less today than I did the day I lost him, six years ago. Though my life is filled with the love of animal companions, I have ached since then for the company of a cat – a little buddy to curl into my lap while I work at my computer or read a book. In the last six years, I’ve visited maybe hundreds of cats and kittens – at the pound, the adoption fairs and pet stores – but, every time, I’ve left empty handed.

Then last week, like Rasta before him, a seven-week-old kitten picked me. And, just like that, we belonged to each other.

Meet our new addition. He is wonderful and I am totally and completely in love. I know Rasta would approve . . .

Rhonda Ruminated at 7:40 PM | Permalink |

24 Ruminations:

  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger kim

    That was a beautiful story and being a cat lover myself I understand.
    I havent had a cat in about 6 years either ... the kids have had kittens and litters but none of them were "mine" ...I lost my "Prissy" and Im still waiting for a kitten to adopt me too :)

  • At 3:44 AM, Blogger pendlerpiken

    that's lovely. i'm very happy for you and your new kitty!

  • At 9:37 AM, Blogger Mia

    You and I should be aware of the fact that Rasta and Sam are probably hangin' together and keeping watch over the two of us. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they are somehow responsible for our meeting one another.;o)

    Your new baby is adorable.

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Charlie

    Human bonding with a dog or a cat is a wondrous experience no non-pet owner can ever understand. They lift our spirits at the most difficult times, and they accept us unconditionally. We cannot lift them to our level of intelligence, but they are experts at lowering us to theirs—and that is where human communes with animal.

    Rasta can never be replaced, but you have a brand-new furry life to bond and commune with.

    And I love his eyebrow mark.

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Charlie

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger St Jude

    So what's his name?

  • At 2:44 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Kim: Sorry about Prissy. I really thought I'd never get another cat because, even when I tried, it just didn't happen. Some day, the timing will be perfect for you and the next little soul who chooses you too...

    Pendlerpiken: Thank you, and welcome to my musings:)

    Mia: Hmm. That must be the explanation. I'd love to hear more about Sam sometime.


    They lift our spirits at the most difficult times, and they accept us unconditionally.

    Ah, you understand . . . and that is why they are much more loveable than most humans.

    Jude: I knew someone would ask. Choosing a name for my human kids was easier than choosing one for this little critter. Nothing I try is "sticking." I love "Forrester" (after my favorite movie about an writer and his muse) but it just isn't rolling off the tongue when I call him. It might stick, but I keep experimenting with other names - and I'm open for suggestions!

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Miss Keeks

    I still get weepy over Smokey, the cat I grew up with. And I really love my little guys now. I know you'll have a wonderful time with your new fur kid!! They're so funny and add so much to our lives.

  • At 9:46 PM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite

    Our "Sugar" (named by the kids - she's white) is less than a year old. As I wrote this and said her name out loud, she meowed. She's that kind of cat - a talker.

    Enjoy that sweet little fluffball and let her name pick her, just as she picked you.

  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger 34quinn

    I am so happy for you and I loved loved loved the whole story.
    Rasta is smiling down from heaven, Rasta knows what you will both give to eachother in the years to come.!!!!

  • At 8:12 AM, Blogger Pendullum

    That was a truly great tribute to Rasta...
    He sounds like he was a great old soul...
    Looking forward to your name for the new Kittie that chose you...

  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger 34quinn

    okay...Forrester is cool if it sounds too much for the little fellow you could just say Forrest.( cept that always makes me think of the movie forest gump..good movie ...)

    ...I was thinking you could call him STAR ....in memory and honour of RASTA....( I know you had an extra A in there I suppose you could spell it STAAR).( I was just rearranging the letters.)

    looking forward to the name announcement.

  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Miss Keeks:

    Thank you :) Yeah, they are pretty entertaining. I'd forgotten about all the ankle biting and hand attacking that comes with kittens. And, he cracks me up when he goes psycho-kitty and races around hunting anything that moves. He makes me remember to play - I'll lay on the floor tossing toys with him for hours.


    This little guy is a talker, too. Rasta was a purrer, but the kitten gets so excited when I walk in the room, he meows like crazy.

    Pendullum and Quinn:

    My thanks to both of you. I think we're sticking with Forrester (and Forest is okay too, because it's on my top five favortie movies list). I love the meaning. A couple nights ago though, The Philosopher was holding him and mushed his ears down and called him "Admiral Pooper." I had to laugh. He'd look pretty funny in a limey helmet :)

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Nikki

    How wonderful Rhonda.

    I didn't know you were on the look out for a kitty - I have 3 - I box one up and mail it to ya ;D


    I love it, I snorted and sucked soda up in my nose - thanks for that lovely tingly sensation in my brain. LOL

  • At 10:32 AM, Blogger Attila The Mom

    Awww, gorgeous kitty!

  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Atilla, thanks! coming from the cat lover you are, I'd say he should be very flattered.

    Nikki: You're welcome :) No more kitties for me, even if they come postage paid. I've sworn I'm taking a break from any more adoptions for a while.

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Marie Jarrell

    Your animal posts always bring tears to my eyes. Call me crazy but I think humans are more intelligent but animals are more evolved. Pets like Rasta are little messengers from the great beyond.

  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Marie: I think so too. I really do.

  • At 3:11 AM, Blogger Mel

    Well, that made me cry.
    I am so glad Forrester found you. :)
    My Osie-cat is one of my boon companions... although he loses his shit when taken in the car, so I don't get to enjoy that with him. Maybe if I'd had him from a kitten and could have gotten him started that way...
    But gosh, that kitten is a beautiful boy!

  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Rhonda


    I'm glad he found me too :) Osie cat . . . what a cute name!

  • At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Cute overload!

    I nhave a very happy kitten story coming to my blog soon - you'll love it Rhonda, a few happy endings :o)

  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Beki

    That anon above is me!

  • At 7:55 PM, Blogger AMYADOPTEE

    I have a furry buddy too. He actually thinks that he is my son. He is a beautiful, long haired solid black cat. He is huge not fat but just big. He is 10 inches tall to the back. When he stretches out he is over three feet long. He loves his belly rubbed. He has the most gorgeous green eyes. He also loves to make my husband jealous. On my worst days, he hugs and kisses me as long as I needed. He also hates my mother in law. So he is my everything that I can't have in my man. I know that I have to think of his death but I don't want to. I don't think that I could ever have another cat like him.

  • At 2:24 PM, Blogger Jim

    Now that Rasta is a BA (bad ass) looking cat. His countenance says "I will allow you to live in my world. Do not under any circumstances give me reason to regret my largesse and do not ever do anything to hurt Rhonda or I will open an institutional size can of "whup-ass" on you. Furthermore, I won't even bother to check the spelling on your name when I write up the caualty report.