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The Story of Rocky the Cat

There we were, enjoying a Sunday evening at our old house when we thought we heard meowing at the front door. Our cats were all in for the night so we thought one might have gotten out unbeknownst to us. My love went to the front door and there before him was a very young gray and white tabby. He was absolutely adorable and obviously someone’s new kitten. Dennis shoed him off and closed the door so he would wander back to wherever he came from. In the suburbs of Los Angeles county, there are hundreds of homes in a couple miles radius, he could have belonged anywhere.

The tabby was persistent and stayed on the front porch, meowing without stop. Dennis tried squirting him with the bad-kitty squirt bottle (filled with water) to shoe him off to no avail. He meowed all through the night and when we awoke the next morning, he was still there and still meowing! We certainly did not want to steal someone’s new kitten. We decided to make the rounds in the neighborhood, at least a couple blocks in each direction, and ask if anyone was missing a new kitten. We had no luck. Only one neighbor was missing their new kitten but it was orange and then they found it shortly after we asked.

He had been at our front door for two days and we wanted to let him in so badly, but we were nervous to do so with our other three adult cats without some supervision. Both of us would be gone all day the next day, away from the house. We kept our cats in so that they couldn’t hurt the kitten while we were away and I vowed that if the tabby was still there when I returned, I’d finally let him inside – if he’d even come to me!

I got home that evening and the tabby was no longer at the front door. I was a little sad to see him gone but relieved imagining that he went back to his intended home. I walked in, set my things down, changed into comfy clothes, and when I walked towards the kitchen, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There he was, on the back patio, having made himself at home. He was laid out, all comfy like he owned the place. It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. As soon as he saw me, he jumped up, ran over to the sliding glass door and meowed with all of his gumption. That was it, I was letting him in!

Dennis would still be gone for a few more days as he was at a race with the race team he worked for. So it was all me, whatever happened. I looked around for our other cats, not wanting to let them escape in the evening – we kept them inside at night to keep them safe from predators. They were in the room but not near the door, so I slid it open and before I could even say “here kitty kitty”, the adorable tabby walked right inside, went to the center of the room, laid out his long body, and sighed a sigh of relief like he was home. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever experienced. Typically animals that are new to a space dart about smelling every square inch and take time to settle in and relax. This cat acted like he was on a mission to be with us and he finally got his way and that’s all he needed. Completely content and happy.

The next morning, I took him to the vet to make sure he wasn’t chipped. I didn’t want to get anymore attached than I had already become if he belonged to someone else. I had gotten him into the cat carrier for the ride over but he had to come out to be scanned for a chip. The woman that was going to scan him had another pet emergency as I was holding the tabby, and had to leave us there for several minutes. He was so good. He just rested in my arms, comfortably. Happy to be held by his new mama, and purring so loud everyone in the waiting room could hear him. The vet tech came back, scanned him, and didn’t find a chip. She helped me get him back in the carrier and I took him home.

He spent the new few days, laying on my feet in the evenings as I watched a movie or read a book. He followed me everywhere and would let me hold him for hours. I was so in love with this adorable cat! By the time Dennis returned from his race, we were like two peas in a pod. I hadn’t thought of a name yet and Dennis said we should call him Rocky because of his long raccoon like tail with grey and black stripes. I loved it, like the song Rocky Raccoon!

Eventually he because Rocky Top (like the song Rocky Top Tennessee) and Rocky Road like the ice cream. We had him for two weeks when Dennis came home one afternoon with a really sad look on his face. He had been out working and on his way home, he noticed a flyer on the mailbox at the head of the street (we had those large, metal, communal boxes). The sign said Missing Kitty, gray and white tabby and there was a photo of a cat that looked just like Rocky. I was sick to my stomach. It had been weeks! Where were the owners back when he was first lost? Who waits weeks to decide their cat is lost? I walked over to see the sign for myself but sure enough the photo was Rocky.

My heart sank, I was so sad. I didn’t want to call the owners but it was the right thing to do. I let Dennis do the actual calling as I didn’t think I could do it without sobbing. They sounded so happy on the phone that he was found and she said that her grandson would be so thrilled. It broke my heart to hand him back to her when she came. I had been crying for hours while we waited for them to show up. They lived a couple of streets down from us, in a different part of the neighborhood. She told us that her husband was allergic to cats so they have to keep him in the garage. They had gotten him for their daughter and grandson but it turned out the daughter was allergic too. So they kept him at their house affording their grandson the opportunity to visit him. She could see that I’d been crying but showed no care or concern. She was quite snobby really as she took the cat back from me. I asked why they waited two weeks to put up a poster and she said they figured he’d just come back but the grandson was coming to visit and they wanted to find him before that. I was not happy. They didn’t seem like the loving home I had hoped and knowing he was going off to a life in the garage made me overwhelmed with sadness.

The next morning I woke up devastated. I couldn’t stop crying off and on and Dennis was working on his equipment for work in the front yard. I kept asking him if he’d seen any sign of him, half-hoping he’d come back to us. But he was so little and I couldn’t believe how far he’d traveled the first time to get to us. I tried to get to work in my office but the sadness was too much. I ended up crocheting to calm my thoughts. Suddenly, Dennis comes inside and said “You’re never going to believe what just happened.” I perked up, hoping the story had a good outcome!

He went on to explain that the woman from the night before that picked up the cat had just come by our house again this morning (it was about 10am). He said she seemed like she was out for a casual walk with a cup of coffee in her hands. She asked him if we’d seen the cat! I was livid! How could she lose him again in less than 24 hours. Then I was sad all over again because if we hadn’t seen him that meant that he might be truly lost this time. I asked Dennis if it seemed like she was out looking for him and he said no, it seemed like she came to our house and that was the extent of the looking. I got my shoes on and decided to go look for him myself. I went all over the streets between our house and hers with no luck. Just as I was about to return home to see if he might have gone there, I noticed our cat George in the empty lot that was used as a water catch basin in case of heavy rains so that the neighborhood would not flood. Of course it was as dry as a bone living in the desert. He was up there at the top, just laying there but with purpose. He was looking all around and seemed to be waiting for someone. I called to him to come to me and he wouldn’t budge. I didn’t really like him being over there as it was right next to a busy street. I couldn’t get in there to get him because the lot was blocked with a large block wall and wrought iron fence.

I went home and told Dennis that George was over there. He’d be able to climb the fence and get George back home. Just as I was explaining what had happened, Dennis stopped me and said “look behind you”. I was confused at first so he repeated, “he’s behind you”. Thinking he meant George (figuring he followed me home), I turned around but to my surprise, there was George AND Rocky! George was over in that lot waiting for Rocky to bring him home to us. He knew I was so sad and that I wouldn’t feel better until he was back. It was the sweetest, most amazing act of love from a fur baby ever! George was like a regular Lassie, saving Rocky from that awful family that lost him twice in his very young life. Dennis said this time we’re keeping him and I agreed. The poor cat didn’t deserve to live in the garage for the rest of his life to only be petted or loved on the rare occasion that her grandson came by.

The woman didn’t come by again for weeks and weeks. One day she did finally show up to see if we found him – of course, her grandson was there visiting. While I don’t like to lie and rarely do it well enough for a person to not read right through it, I lied. I told her we never saw him and sent her on her way. Rocky was meant to be with us, he chose us as his family and he didn’t want to go back to the dark garage. Once he was big enough, we even let him outdoors with the other cats. He never went back to the woman’s house and never left us again.

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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