She came into our lives almost nine years ago. A good friend of ours had his girlfriend move in with him, and she had a Siamese named, of all things, Rover. It turned out the apartment complex did not allow pets, and in desperation they asked us to keep her until they could find a new place to live. I had my own bunch of cats and was hesitant, but finally agreed to take her in for a while as I didn't want them to have to get rid of her.
She was brought over in a pillow case , howling and angry, upset at the indignities of being hauled around like a sack of potatoes and deciding it best to keep her separated from the others a while, we put her in our bedroom. There is a bathroom off of it, and she hid behind the toilet for two days, refusing to budge, glaring at anyone that dared to try and touch her until finally our friend came over and coaxed her out. After that, she ruled the house.
Rover didn't like me. She didn't like women in general, as the one that had owned her tended to treat her more like a dog than a cat. But she liked men, and she immediately took a strong shine to my husband, in no time becoming his devoted and demanding companion. He could barely sit down on the couch or his computer and she'd be on his lap, insisting he pet her, and if he was moving around the house she'd follow and throw her front paws on him, demanding 'huggies'...to be picked up and held. Me, on the other hand? I was ignored, the wench who fed, watered and cleaned the litter box, unworthy of her affections. And the other cats were peons to be kept at arms distance, not friended. We came to calling her 'your Royalness' because of her attitude towards everyone, and jokingly referred to ourselves as her 'useless monkeys'. It was finally decided she should remain with us, being she loved my husband so much and detested her old owner (which we knew, because every time the woman came over, Rover would run and hide).
Almost two years passed like this, and she gradually...and I do mean gradually...began to warm to me a bit. I could sneak in an ear scratching occasionally without too much fuss, but her loyalties were still with my husband who she would wait for daily at the front door when it was time for him to come home, or sit at the window howling for him when he went outside to do yard work. She utterly loved him and wanted to be with him.
Then three years ago, we took in a five week old kitten (who was also supposed to be a temporary visitor, but that never seem to happen). Tabitha, despite her tiny size, was utterly fearless before her majesty and despite Rover's best efforts, eventually she came to love Tabitha, playing with her and giving her baths. With this change she began to show me more affection too, to the point she followed me around all day, sat on my lap or would lay on me when in bed, becoming less needy with my husband. Apparently she decided this 'monkey' had more uses than food and little box duties. And though as Tabitha grew up and Rover's affections with her grew less, she continued to like me until she seemed to be more my cat than my husband's. It only took six years.
Six weeks ago she was diagnosed with an aggressive mammary cancer, one which there was nothing to be done. She changed after that, growing more withdrawn, sleeping a lot, eating less...but she still sometimes would come to me to snuggle, and as long as she was pain free and managing, we chose to let her be. I've had a lot of cats over the years and generally know when it's time to let them go. It was a struggle, seeing her withdrawing from us, but I didn't want to take from her any good days she still might have, and she did have some.
Two days ago I noticed blood when she used her litter box, and an ultrasound showed the cancer had formed masses on nearly all her organs. Her kidney levels were also soaring, despite giving her fluids. We knew it was time, finally, to say our goodbye to our little queen.
She went peacefully, and now shares a place in the back yard with all the others that have passed through our lives where we will plant another cedar in her memory. Each was unique, each special in their own way, but Rover...she definitely was one of a kind. Some say animals have no souls, but I know without a doubt that they do. Rover was full of personality, intelligence and love in a way even some humans are not. The house seems so much quieter and empty now without her presence, and my heart does ache.
She'll be missed.