A little over 15 years ago, my sister called me over to her office. We worked at the same company, but in different office buildings that were next door to one another. When I arrived, she grabbed my arm and dragged me down to the employee lounge, where tapped onto the fridge was a picture of a cute, little, furry kitten and a ‘Free to good home’ sign. One of our co-workers had found the kitten and decided she couldn’t keep it. “Take him,” said my sister, as she peeled off the picture and shoved it into my hands. “Tell her you will pick him up tonight.”
In a moment of weakness, I mean, who can resist kittens, I did it. Well after I called my then fiancé, turned husband, turned ex-husband and asked him first. No matter, though, later that night we went to pick the little guy up.
He was feisty, playful, and didn’t like to cuddle much, but he was mine. He was my first cat I actually picked on my own. I paid for him, I paid for his food, vet care, and I took him with me after I got married and left my parents house. He was mine. Period. I named him Hoss, which was one of the agreements I made to my ex. My ex loved the show Bonanza. I never really could figure that out. I mean, I guess it was a great show, but it was still odd. Anyways, of course, it wasn’t until later did I find out that the Bonanza character’s name was actually spelled Haus, but oh well, it was done. His name was Hoss.
Hoss hardly ever made a peep. He rarely meowed or purred. He got wild hairs, would attack me and pounce on me for no reason out of the blue, and as he grew decided that cuddling was better than he once thought as a kitten. He played a lot and was always there when I needed him. He went through my divorce with me and moved with me into my cabin. He went through a few relationships, and never really warmed up to any of the guys, always, living as he had as my cat and only my cat.
About a year after moving to Oklahoma, I took a trip back to Reno to visit my family, and after a few days there, I got the call. My husband told me that he thought something was wrong with Hoss. He wasn’t eating, drinking, wasn’t moving hardly at all. He needed to see a vet, but I was 1600 miles away, and my husband had just started a new job and couldn’t take time off work. Desperate, I called a dear friend, who helped me. She picked him up from our house and took him to her vet to get looked at. Yes, she really is an amazing friend. The next day I called the vet and the news was not good. His kidneys were on the verge of failing and there wasn’t anything they could do. They had to put him to sleep.
Hoss’s death has haunted me every day since then. I wasn’t there for him. I didn’t take him to the vet. I didn’t say good-bye. Six days later, I returned home, picked up ‘the box’, and drove him home. He’s buried on our property under a tree.
For the last five years, I have searched and searched for a kitten that looked like him. He wasn’t a Siamese, he wasn’t a Ragdoll with white, and I don’t even think he was a Snowshoe (even though his is the spitting image of that breed). I never knew what he was other than a mutt kitty. I guess he could have been one of them, but those breeds usually aren’t just roaming around making mutt kittens. And, that’s what Hoss was. He was a stray that wandered onto the porch of a woman who I worked with. No matter how hard I searched, though, I couldn’t ever find one. Sure, I found ones that looked like Ragdolls or Siamese, but they never had white, and they just weren’t the same.
I opened up Craigslist, searched for kittens and in the first ad I clicked on there he was. A 12 week old little boy, looking for a home, and exactly what I had been looking for. I texted the number in the ad and after 10 minutes without a response, I called. Voice mail. Crap. A few minutes later, the lady texted back that a man was coming to look at him, but he hadn’t showed up and was late. She told me she would give him another 30 minutes and let me know. I crossed my fingers and 30 minutes later she texted me that if I wanted him, I could come get him.
In honor of Hoss, we’ve named him Ross. He’s feisty, playful, and loves to cuddle.