He was a gift from a dear friend. He came to me at a time when I had surgery, was getting my life together after a long term relationship ended and I needed a friend. I named him Rudy, short for “rude boy,” a popular term in Jamaican culture. I treated him like my first child. I fed him, hugged him when he would let me, changed his litter and sometimes he even slept in my bed. Then came the kids and my focus shifted. He grudgingly lurked in the shadows of my life as my primary focus became baby no 1, then 2, then 3. He acted out many times, often showing his displeasure by leaving nice “presents” for me in my shoes, my purse, my sofa and even my bed. Still we are together, Rudy and I. I have been asked on occasion, “why don’t you get rid of that pissy cat.” Well, he is like a member of the family to me; at 12, he would be considered an elderly relative that I treasure. The way I was brought up, when your relatives get old, you don’t send them away, they move in with you, until death do you part. Pets teach us love and responsibility. They take us through the cycle of life by preparing us to be good parents and eventually how to take care of an elderly parent, if the need arises.
There are so many thing that I love about Rudy. I love that he is temperamental and aloof; he gives love to those who love him and has disdain for those who are not "cat" people. He focuses on getting his basic needs met. He is not needy, he loves the great outdoors, even though he is an indoor cat. Just when I think that he doesn’t care, he shows up and rub on my legs or sit comfortably next to my feet just to let me know that he still loves me. He holds a grudge. When his litter bin isn’t clean enough, he pees in my shoes and my purse; it takes great skill to do that. He loves wet cat food and he can hear the can opening a mile away.
Recently, I rushed Rudy to the hospital because he was bitten by an animal. I wasn't sure if it was a wild cat or snake but it was a nasty bite. We become reflective and sentimental when we almost lose someone that we love, which is why some who is famous for not being sentimental is trying to wax poetic about a cat. A friend once complained that people spent too much time loving animals when they should be loving humans - there is room in our hearts to do both. Rudy and I have made it through over 10 years of the rollercoaster of life, including 3 moves, 3 babies, 4 job changes, boyfriends that he liked, boyfriends that he hated instantly, a husband who is allergic to him, and boys who pull his tail. He pick something that I love to piss on everytime that he is upset with me, including my resume right before an important job interview. I have been told that I can put him on Prozac to stop the bad behavior but that is the way that we communicate and I really hope that he will be my pissy cat for another 10 years.
Grow into Greatness. "Every child matters. Every child is unique. Every child is born with greatness." Janet Autherine. Turning obstacles into stepping stones, one story at a time.