Two years ago, on Good Friday 2013, I lost my sweet Roscoe kitty. Roscoe, a tuxedo tomcat, was fifteen when he died: fourteen years after I brought him home from the shelter, thirteen months beyond the vets’ predictions for his lifespan, and one month and five days after I met my now-fiancé Steve.
The timing, I’ve long felt, was no accident.
Roscoe had been my buddy since January 1998, when he adopted me at Cat Welfare, a no-kill cat shelter in Columbus, Ohio. I’d lost my cat Tiko to mouth cancer in December, and though I was buoyed through the holidays by travel and the presence of family, when I returned to the Midwest winter and an empty apartment, the loneliness was all-encompassing. I’d thought I might wait a while longer to find a new feline, but I was bereft.
Tiko had been solid black, and I knew it would be too hard to have another black cat; he’d been older when I took him in, too, and losing him after only six years broke my heart. So the plan was to find a kitten, black-and-white. When I arrived at Cat Welfare, they didn’t have any kittens. Some cats there roamed freely, having earned their floor privileges, while the newer additions resided in cages. I visited with most every black-and-white cat I saw, but I really wanted a kitten. As I readied to leave, thinking I’d try the Humane Society, the woman at the front desk asked if I’d seen the tuxedo cat in the second room. I hadn’t—he was sound asleep, curled up in the back of his cage. Oh, he’s a sweetheart, she said, and only about a year or year-and-half old. He’d been caught in one of their traps—sometimes, when the shelter was full, people dropped animals off outside anyway, hoping the shelter would find and take them in. This tuxedo kitty had been so lucky.
She pulled the sleepy cat from his cage and put him in my arms. Almost immediately, he rolled back into the crook of my left elbow so that I held him like a baby. He wore a slightly askew black mask and had a soft white belly, his clear green eyes framed by white whiskers. The pads of his paws were multi-toned, some gray, some pink. He began purring and gave me a long, slow blink, then reached his chin up and rubbed my chin with his.
Oh, boy. Continue reading