* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our feline Super Trooper

Romea 01We have always been a cat family.  We've always had at least one or sometimes more most of our married life.  While we waited three years after losing our 19-year-old family cat, we finally replaced her as soon as we moved down south.  We checked out a radio announcement and came home with two sisters.  Not only did we become friends with the original "parents," we ended up with a once-in-a-lifetime feline experience.

Unfortunately, we were only given 12 wonderful years, but they were totally awesome.  If you like cats, I hope you'll enjoy this little pictorial biography.  If you were privileged enough to have shared in this experience, enjoy the memories.  And now, I present Romea, who was the Queen of Cats in the feline world.

If you'd like to see my glorious self in a larger format than these dinky pictures, just click on me, and I'll get bigger!

Romea 02
Present-ing myself ... at 3 months
Romea 03
Hotter than a fire

When we were choosing our new pet, the owners told us how this one seemed to stand out in a crowd.  As she was so cute, it was easy to take the gamble with her.  To keep her company, we also took one of her sisters.  She totally started out with character, as her private bits have camouflage markings, and we thought she was a he.  Thus, she started out as Romeo, which led to Romea as facts became more obvious. 

Romea 04
You meant to put something here?
Romea 05
And now, for my next number . . .

As all cats do, she loved getting inside things whether she belonged there or not.  Leave any size open space for three minutes, and you'd most likely find her inside.

Romea 06
Are you my new daddy?
Romea 07
All in the family

She was the cuddliest cat we've ever had.  Whether you wanted her or not, when she wanted to snuggle, she snuggled. 

Even though there were no little people in her world, she took to our grandson when he came for his first visit like she'd grown up with him.

Romea 08
Announcing that I am the Shoulder Cat
Romea 09
Oh, I've gotten too big for this?

One of her most endearing habits was riding on our shoulders, giving her the nickname of Shoulder Cat.  We've never had one of those before; we didn't even know there was such a thing.

Romea 10
I've never gotten too old for this trick
Romea 11
My final act
Not only did she do it as a very young kitten, she continued it her whole life.  While it normally seemed so cute, it could be frustrating if we were actually trying to accomplish something.

It's only natural that one of her last photos was on my shoulder, although this time I had to put her there.

Romea 12
I like to snuggle
For some reason, one of her favorite snuggle times was when we were on our computers. It was cute when she was tiny, it got a bit difficult to type with this lummox on our hands.

Romea 13
What hands?
Romea 14
Comfy bed

Romea 15
My turn to play on the computer
Romea 16
Books are okay, too

Sometimes she figured it was her turn on the keyboard. 

She didn't always limit her lap time to computers, either.

Romea 17
My favorite position at 3 months old
Romea 18
Still my favorite at a year old

When we first brought her home, we thought it was funny the cute position she often slept in. 

We had no idea that it would be such a lifetime position. 

Romea 19
You expected me to outgrow it?
Romea 20
Driveways are just fine
We'd never had a long-haired cat before, and all her tummy fluff was amazing.  I guess that's why she enjoyed sleeping in this position, so that she could show it off!

Romea 21
Once upon a time, I was little!
Romea 22
But I didn't stay that way
While most cats can be adorable when they are sleeping, Romea was no exception.  It didn't bother her to be moved when she was tiny, and her bed didn't have to be very comfortable when she got older!

Romea 23
Legs make a good cradle
Romea 24
Any cat can sit on a flat surface, but not me!

She would relax in the oddest places, again very cat typical, but she was so cute doing it. 

She also had no problem straddling an empty space if it suited her.  Which was fairly often.

Romea 25
Fall off a tilted step?  Naw.
Romea 26
You wanted these blocks?  Tough!

She particularly seemed to enjoy inserting herself into wherever we happened to be doing various home construction projects. 

Then again, she inserted herself anywhere she felt like.  Which was everywhere.

Romea 27
What's a little height?

She was also our No Fear cat.  Cats can accomplish the most incredible moves, but she went over and above, certainly more than the other two we have.

She had no problem resting on the edge of the balcony, as she had a habit of climbing up from the terrace onto a canopy frame and walking along it until she could jump onto the balcony. 

She got back down the same way.  It was as natural a path as simply going through a door.

Romea 28
I can handle a free ride

She spent her life resting on the outside table leg support.  It was one of her favorite places. 

When the table needed to be moved from one level to another, and she happened to be inhabiting the area, she saw no reason to leave her perch.

She certainly never let any kind of circumstance interfere with what she wanted to be doing.

Romea 29
Hey down there.  You look like an ant.
Romea 30
You're scared?  Piece of cake.
One of her more amazing feats was accessing the attic.  We have to use a round rung ladder, which is hard enough on our feet.  We didn't know it was a game for her to climb up, and one time she got locked in the attic.  Perching on the door sill apparently presented no kind of challenge.

Romea 31
Help, get me out of here!

However, with all these daring escapades that were just a part of her daily routine, she didn't do nearly so well with motherhood.  We let her have one litter, and that was not one of her better accomplishments. 

First, her sister gave birth several weeks earlier, and Romea ended up stealing the babies and hiding them!  Then she'd plop her big heavy body in the maternity basket on top of new mother and newborn babies.

When it was finally her turn, she seemed quite perplexed as to what she was supposed to do with all these little squirmy creatures now in her care.

In the end, nature won out, and her four babies prospered.  One of them carries on her legacy in our home.

Romea 32
My first catch!
When she was still a kitten, we had a mouse invasion in the house.  That provided her first hunting experience.  She was quite proud of herself, and over the years she continued to bring home many treasures.  She could have left them outside rather than bringing them in the house, alive, and then losing interest!

Romea 33
My bowl is empty, please notice.
She also had the cutest trick of just resting her paws on the edge of her bowl when it was empty.  While she was a real talker normally, she'd never say a word, so it was often startling to see her patiently waiting.

Romea 34
This is MY spoonful!

She normally thought she was more human than cat, and thus should be eating human food. 

She also thought she belonged hanging out with any human who happened to be around.  While almost every other cat we've ever had will find some kind of hiding place if we have company, Romea would make herself part of the guest list.  She also would find the most anti-cat guest and latch on for dear life. 

As we started having guests with small children, she had no problem being manhandled, even though that wasn't something she was used to.

When there's a party, there's a dessert.  And she never figured she needed to be left out.

Romea 35
I want on this chair, stupid feet!

And then catastrophe struck.  She disappeared for five days, not one of her tricks.  We don't know where she was during that time, but somehow she managed to make it back home, with paralyzed back legs. 

The vet thought she'd had a kitty stroke, something fairly common, even though we'd never heard of it before.  Then one of her dead feet got gangrene, and we had two toes removed. 

Romea 36
I wanted up here.  I got up here.
But that didn't stop her, and she developed a funky walk that got her around.  She'd forget she couldn't jump up on anything, and it was sad to see her so frustrated.

Her back hips had no muscle tone around them any more, and I think the ground was hard to lie on.  I was shocked when I discovered she'd managed to climb up a little cane wall to lie in some dirt in the sun.  That became her new favorite place, and she could get up and back down all by herself.

She ended up doing so fantastically that the vet changed her diagnosis and decided that she must have gotten an injury after all and ruptured a disc.

Alas, that was not the case, and she finally suffered another stroke.  It seems like she had an incurable heart disease, which causes blood clots to break off.  The first one took out her back legs, a second one probably settled in her stomach, and a final one probably went to her brain. 

Romea 37
The blond bombshell to the very end
The vet, who has a lot of ER experiences and has seen many of these cases, explained that they usually don't survive longer than two days.  Our little baby showed the same spunk at the end of her life the same way she started it and then lived it for 12 years, always defying all odds, and she managed to give us over three more weeks to enjoy her.

It was a privilege to have had her all these years, and it's a privilege to now share the highlights of her life with you.  I hope you've enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed living it. 

Even in her final days, with a paralyzed back end, her last portrait shows her sitting up tall and asking to be admired.  Which we certainly did!  We will miss her deeply.

The one and only great Romea
September 20, 2003 - November 3, 2015


  1. I'm so sorry, Barbara. I know you loved her. You gave her a wonderful tribute. Her last days were a tribute to the spirit that she showed throughout her life. We humans could learn a few things from her resiliency and ability to deal with difficulty. Please feel my arms around you in a kitty-loving hug.

  2. our pets grace our lives, show us unconditional love, demnd everything and anything they want. We are their wiklling slaves. When they are hurt, we suffer with them. when they leave us, a part of us goes too. Your Romea was a grand dame. Your tribute touching.

  3. This just makes me cry. I'm so very sorry. Like Leah, I'm sending you a kitty loving hug. What a wonderful life you all had together for so many years.

  4. So sorry for your loss. May Romea's child comfort you.

  5. Losing a pet is losing part of your family. So sorry to hear of her death, and what a beautiful tribute you have given her. (written with a cat in my lap, trying to type)

    1. Such a great cat. She was a real special character. I remember her laying around just about in every spot in the yard. Your photos are so good and humorous, they will preserve a lot of your fond memories of her. So sorry she is gone. Love you and Craig

  6. I am do glad she turned up again and even though it wasn't for long that you got to spend time before the end. She looks a great cat with lots of personalty. Hugs for missing her now,

  7. The WORST part of pet ownership...the end. I know your heart is breaking and I'm so sorry! She was truly beautiful and what a great personality. I loved the photos and the stories. Thanks for sharing her in this tribute! Wonderfully done!!❤️

  8. A beautiful Triute Barb! I'm thankful I had the opportunity to watch her while you were gone. She was my favorite, so fun to play with. Makes me think of my kitty Spooky that we had for 14 years. They do become part of the family. So sorry for your loss.


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