Wednesday, March 24, 2010


(((NOTE:   I wrote this the day after Zorro took off on "vacation"...before my husband wrote his post (which he wrote before he read this).  Obviously, he did come home, and again my husband eloquently put fingers to the keys and poured out my elation into words.  I debated whether to post this or not because it seems superfluous........and, yet, I needed to "get my words out", so here it is....)))

Here's the "back story" about the cat:

From 1999-2009 I worked as an insurance adjuster.  I was the person who would review the policy and tell someone who had been involved in an auto accident, or who had something happen to their house, what was covered and what was not...and I was the person who would decide how much to pay...and I was the person who got griped out on a continual basis for doing my job!  (People do not like to hear, "I'm sorry, but a 20 year old roof that's leaking, but has no storm damage, is not going to be replaced by your insurance policy.") 2006, less than a month after my (second) ex-husband left (you can read about that here), the county I was working experienced the worst hail storm to hit a single county in the history of the state.  I watched the news in horror that night knowing my work life was about to look a lot like my personal life...and I didn't know how I was going to get through the next several months.

It seemed every day there was new insult added to injury.

My company asked me (told me) to cancel a Florida vacation my kids and I were set to go on the following week.  (People were called in from all over the state to work in order to get policy holders paid for their damage...they couldn't let some of us go on vacation at the same time...understandable.)

My kids went away to their dad's for spring break, leaving me alone to work ungodly hours...leaving me alone in a house built for five.  I was reeling from the pain, and the work stress was unbelievable to say the least.
Working late on a Saturday, I pulled up to a hail-damaged house and got out of my truck preparing to set up my ladder.  A gorgeous black cat came bounding up to me and started rubbing on my leg.  I bent down and patted his head, for which he immediately rewarded me with purrs so loud I thought a car was coming up behind me!  After taking a moment to enjoy the unbridled love of my new best friend, I told him I had to get on the roof and do my job.

After I scoped the damage to the house, and as I was discussing with the home owners what I was going to be able to pay, the cat reappeared.  He jumped into the arms of Mr. Homeowner, and started rubbing the man's beard with his face.  When the man put him back down on the ground, the cat became quite "dog-like" and went from Mr. Homeowner, to Mrs. Homeowner, then to me looking for love and attention.  I made a comment like, "That's the kind of cat I want."  They told me how he had belonged to their daughter; due to health reasons she was no longer able to care for him.  They had been looking for a new home for him because he had to be outside although he'd always been an inside cat (he didn't get along with their bird!).

I should tell you, my ex was a cat hater, even though I had a cat when we first got married.  (We moved to a rental house that didn't allow pets of any kind, so we had to find a new home for him.)  A couple of years before he left, he (my ex) bought a dog (completely against my wishes)--a completely CRAZY short legged Jack Russell Terrier.   (It's not that I didn't want a dog, I just thought we needed to get one that would fit in with our family, a family pet; from everything I had read, this dog was not the most likely pet for us.)

Since, I still had very high hopes my ex and I were going to work out our differences, and that he was going to come home (with the dog), when the offer to take this beautiful cat was made, my first thought was "HE" would never "allow" me to have a cat. 

As usual with me, there was much thought involved with the decision to take, or not take, the cat home.  Worried that my husband would think bringing home a cat would mean I didn't want him to come back, I sent a (long and involved) email asking him about it.   His response should have been a clue of what was to come..., "I don't care if you get a cat."  I agonized over the decision and what it would mean...the message it might send, what life would be like if we put the cat and dog together under one roof, how horrible it would be to take the cat home and then have to later find another home for him when my family was reunited (everything I had read suggested JRTs can NOT live with cats).  It took me five days to decide....

Right from the start, he was a great cat.  He was always ready for love, unlike most felines.  When I would cry my eyes out over my marriage, he would nuzzle my face with his, reminding me I was indeed loved and needed.   He came when you would call for him.  He had a particular fondness for that when someone (anyone) would take off their shoes, he would walk up and put his face down inside one of them!!  Then he would lay down with his paws around it as if the shoe was his long lost beloved soul mate!

After the divorce, and our house was sold, I moved to a rental house (making sure they would allow me to keep Zorro).  The landlords had one stipulation, that he be completely declawed.  Since I had willingly given up custody of the (crazy) dog, and since Zorro had not seen the outside of the house for over six months and was a perfect inside-only cat...I obliged.  All ten of his cat defenses were taken from him.  Left in their place were soft sweet paws that would caress my face as I held my sweet kitty in my lap.  (He had this habit of touching my cheeks with his paws as if he were a person.)

Not too long after Zorro became a permanent member of our household, I bought an automatic feeder so he could be left at home while we were away on a trip.  He was a perfect litter box patron, and he already had a special water bowl.  The only thing he would miss was his daily dose of edible love.  He did fine with the feeder, except that he learned how to make it dispense the food at his will--and this cat loved to eat!  Over time he gained about 10 pounds and was lovingly nicknamed "Fat Cat".

When I met the man who I later realized was the man of my prayers...I made sure he understood I was a package deal that included not only all my past baggage (that I was working on ridding myself of), and two teenagers...there was also an adored cat included, no extra charge.  (Well, actually, there was an extra charge of food, litter, toys, vet bills, and all that's involved with including a cat in your life.)  He reluctantly agreed to accept my cat as an extension of me.
When I put my house up for sale, my cat moved in with my man.  This man, who had professed to merely tolerate the cat, went out the first day and bought toys, cat nip, and a fluffy cat bed (although the cat became his new bed partner so the cat bed was hardly ever used).  This man, who would be perfectly happy living in a (windowless) cave, started leaving the blinds in the sun room slightly open for Zorro's enjoyment (to watch birds and bunnies in the back yard).

After we got married and as life settled down we put Fat Cat on a diet.  The vet told me the second leading cause of feline mortality is diabetes...and that's caused by over feeding combined with a lack of exercise.  He went from self feeding at an all-he-could-eat feeder, to 1/2 cup of food a day, and then down to 1/4 cup of food a day.

About six months ago we decided to add another member to our family when my daughter rescued a dog (a terrier mix) from the pound.  That's a whole other post...but this dog was PERFECT for our family in almost every way, not the least of which was how he was accepted by the cat.  They became best buddies.  They would play and chase and pretend to attack each other.   I think the dog really is scared of the cat, even though the truth is the dog could kill the cat with one shake of his head, but who am I to judge?

Last night, I think the cat either decided he wasn't being fed enough, or he grew tired of his playmate, or he just wanted to feel the cold night air in his fur once the door opened, he scurried out into the darkness.  He's done that a couple of times, but usually he stays right by the door and we're able to get him back inside easily.  Last night however, when my daughter was trying to get him to come in, I guess he decided to have an adventure, and he ran away.  A black cat is impossible to find on a moonless night.

At this writing, he hasn't come home.

I took my feline friend for granted.  His constant meowing for food and affection was often met with frustration.  I didn't realize until he was gone exactly what he meant to me.  He wasn't just a cat....just a pet.  Yes, I'm sure I'm over analyzing (as usual), but after reading the story, can you really blame me?  That cat was my indulgence.  I got him for me at a time in my life I most needed a showing of unconditional love.  This house full of life, and full of love, is missing something with him gone.  Not just an incessant feels like a piece of me left into the night.


  1. What a wonderful story (I had to go back and read your hubby's part) Dana! I'm so glad Zorro has come home and you can relish his presence in your life once again. Cats are AWESOME!


  2. Our cat is "Butch the Cat" -- we hoped a name like Butch would give him more self-esteem. To date, it has not! However, we love our Butch and when he feels like it...he loves us too! I am glad your cat is back. Pets are a part of any family and missed when they are gone!

  3. I'm glad too that Zorro came home where he belongs and that he has a wonderful home with you!! ((hugs))

  4. I'm so glad zorro came home! I've never been attached to a cat, but i imagine that would be really hard.

  5. I'm glad you posted. It's not superfluous at all, not to us pet lovers. My wife would not say yes until I said yes we could have a dog. Twenty nine years and six dogs later.....

    It's a wonderful story. Happy, sad, mysterious, romantic...

    Thank you,

  6. I'm glad you posted. It's not superfluous at all, not to us pet lovers. My wife would not say yes until I said yes we could have a dog. Twenty nine years and six dogs later.....

    It's a wonderful story. Happy, sad, mysterious, romantic...

    Thank you,

  7. See, I'm doubly glad you posted.

  8. I hate that we sometimes only appreciate how much we love someone until they are absent from our lives! I am guilty of this as much as the next guy, but I'm so very, very glad Zorro returned to you and you all were given a second chance!

    I LOVE this story of how you got him! I have to go now, I'm going to go hug my puppy's neck! Thanks for the awesome post, Dana!