I have long been a pet lover. As a girl, my family got a dog, a small, wiry, terrier mix that I named Lucy. She was a 10-pounder but her power over our family was enormous. One of the few times my dad ever sent my mom flowers at work was when Lucy passed away at 12 years old.
Some people don’t have pets for various reasons, and some people don’t like them. I respect that; everyone’s different. However, I love pets. There is something wonderful about the unconditional love and affection that pets can give you. As a young woman in college, I went with a roommate down to a pet store and got a kitten. He was gray and white, the cutest little puff ball I had ever seen. We named him Robin. Really, his name was Robin Hood because the Kevin Costner movie was popular at the time, but that’s so much more corny than Robin we just didn’t have the heart to call him that. (And can you imagine the vet visits? “Uh, for Robin Hood Jones?”) Even though my friend and I split the cost of getting this pet for us, my heart was forever taken by him and when she moved out he stayed with me. My little boy, Robin.
Robin has had a few buddies over the years – Caspian, an orange and white tabby I adopted from an old boyfriend; Wylene, my black cat from my friend Samantha; Lerxt, John’s enormous and unusually named cat; Browser, our neurotic and terrible watch dog; and Nano, the most laid back Chihuahua I ever met. Some other buddies were roommate’s pets: Fred, Barney, Simone and Figaro. Everyone seemed to find their place in the petting order.
We’ve been through a lot, he and I. We moved from apartments to houses, back to apartments, and back to houses. Twice he and I moved from one house to the house next door and he acclimated better than I did. I have bought him at least 100 collars over his life, and about 98 of them lost under the bushes in Orange. Although he was intended to be a house cat and was declawed, he loved being outside. At one house we lived in, there was ivy all across the front yard, and at times I would come up the walk and all I would see was his head sticking up out of the ivy. He could watch and not be noticed.
He was “cock of the walk” when we lived in Orange. He kicked ass and took down names, more times than I can remember. There were scratches across his nose almost as frequently as there were dead creatures left on my doorstep. Robin tried to continue this when we moved to Cypress and sustained a terrible leg injury from a dog attack. My mother in law and I nursed him back to health and the ability to walk again. But, the stress from the attack brought on a heart condition, and although he was fairly healthy, he never really was the same.
Between January and August of this year he had become very thin. On the day of Melody’s birthday party, a large patch of hair had come off one of his sides and it never really grew back. He was stiff and slow, didn’t hear well and didn’t see well. His motor and his smeller worked, and he could always find the food or my lap. I think because he couldn’t hear well, he tended to meow louder than any cat I’ve ever known. In May he celebrated his 18th birthday, which in cat years is something like 97 for a human.
Last week, Robin went out front, something he rarely did since we moved to the new house. He always stayed close though so I wasn’t too worried. But by Saturday night he hadn’t come back. By Sunday I was very worried and put out fliers in the neighborhood. Monday, I checked the pound website and registered for email alerts on new inpounds. On Wednesday I accepted that I may never see my boy again. It is just not like him to be gone this long when he knows he could be getting pets and loves and air conditioning at home.
Pushka Babushka, Mr Kitty, Fur Face, Little Boy, Robin Bee-Bobbin, Mr Man Cat, I don’t know where you are, but in my heart I am hoping you are with Caspian and Lerxt, chasing bugs in the backyard, sleeping under a bush in the shade of the day, purring while you eat, and watching the dogs cower in fear of you.
One of his “lazier” days
Inside the cube of our cabinet on moving day 2005