My Roscoe

For Christmas, all I wanted was a kitten. What I got were years of friendship, entertainment, laughter, snuggles, and unconditional love.

Opus and Roscoe always had very different personalities; personalities that changed little over the twelve and a half years that we had each other. That Christmas afternoon in 1995 I was told to close my eyes. When I opened them I came face to face with two of the cutest kittens I had ever seen. Roscoe had a red bow on the top of his head while Opus wore a green one. No one knew if the kittens were boys or girls or one of each. With the vet being closed over the holidays, I had to wait a few days to find out.

Roscoe hiding in the tub while Opus watches.
Can you see his ears?

Once freed from Christmas bows, Opus immediately sneaked behind the couch, snuggled up on top of the heat vent and went to sleep. Roscoe, on the other hand, went right to playing. As we tried to video tape him he kept batting at the lens cap, which made it swing. The more it would swing, the harder he would hit it, causing it to swing more. I couldn't stop laughing.

In the days that followed, I tired to guess the sex of my kittens. Opus was more serious, aloof, and acted like a grown up cat. He found it more interesting to just sit back and watch. Maybe he was trying to figure me out. Roscoe never sat still. There were just too many interesting things to explore in his new home. He was also very loving and wanted to held. This made me think that he was a girl while I guessed that Opus must be a boy. Imagine my surprise a few days later when the vet confirmed that Opus and Roscoe were both males! And from that day on, Opus and Roscoe were loving refereed to as "the boys".

Roscoe sitting like a man

Roscoe was also a clumsy kitten. He would constantly fall off of the couch, getting stuck between the furniture and the wall. When he would try to jump up on the counters he always missed judged the distance. I lost count of the times he would try to jump up only to hit the side of the counter and fall down. Never mind the fact that he wasn't even suppose to be ON the kitchen counters.

Several days passed and the kittens remained nameless. I tried to come with cute, matching names (Salt and Pepper or Abbott and Costello) but the none of the matching names fit the personalities of the kittens. Then one day, as I watched my clumsy cat the name came to me. Roscoe P. Coletrain. He was the sheriff from the old TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard". It wasn't that I was a huge Hazzard fan. You see, the sheriff was a bit goofy and extremely clumsy. But underneath it all, he was good man with a kind heart. Just like my Roscoe; goofy, clumsy but a great cat with a good heart. And so that is how Roscoe got his name. And his clumsiness? It turned out that he had ear mites which were affecting his balance! Once those cleared up, he was much less clumsy.

Roscoe LOVED the radiator on cold winter days...

The kittens were given to me on Christmas day 1995. Five months later, I moved out of my parents house and into my first apartment. It was on the 8Th floor of a high rise in down town Fort Wayne, IN. My window over looked a river lined with giant beautiful trees. The boys would sit in the window watching the world below. They spent the first year and half of their lives thinking that everything in the world was miniature.

... He also loved to sleep flat on his back...

In 1997, in desperate need for a change the boys and I packed up my car and moved to Indianapolis. You can imagine how surprised they were to see how much bigger the world was from a second story window! I cherish the years we spent together in Indianapolis. They were my friends and my family all rolled into one. When I first moved there, I didn't know very many people and spent many nights at home with the boys. Over the years they nursed me through heart breaks, snuggled on me when I sick, and gave me the kind of unconditional love that only a pet can give.

... ALL the time!

In 2001 I fell in love an incredible, Italian man with a sexy accent. Opus was a little leery of him during that first visit, but old Roscoe welcomed Danilo into our lives with open paws. I could go on with a long list of things that I find attractive about my husband, but one of the things I have loved about him the most has always been his affection towards Opus and Roscoe.

A few years later, Danilo and I were discussing the possibility of me moving to Italy. Before I would even consider the question I had to know one thing. Could Opus and Roscoe come? Of course Danilo was delighted to have the boys, but we didn't know if it was possible to import cats to Italy. It wasn't until I was absolutely sure that the boys could come did I even consider the move.

Leaving America at O'hare Airport in Chicago (Roscoe is on top)

Flying to Italy with Opus and Roscoe was the longest flight of my life. Because of regulations, my boys had to go into cargo in separate cages. My family and I drove three hours to Chicago just so I could take a direct flight to Italy; I was too worried that the boys might miss a connection and then be stuck at an airport in America while I was in Italy. Danilo met us in Milan and then drove us two and half hours home, even though there was a closer airport in Bologna. That way there was only one flight and no connections. I was so happy to be reunited with boys once we landed. And though they were frightened, they were both fine.

Arriving in Milan

I can't begin to tell you what it has meant having Opus and Roscoe with me in Italy. Leaving your home country for a new one is not an easy thing. There are always moments of homesickness. After almost four years, I still miss my culture, my language, my friends, my family and my country. But having Opus and Roscoe with me is like having a slice of my old American life right here in Italy. I feel like did not come here alone, they made the trip with me. We are in this together.

Our new life in Italy

To say that it has been a rough few weeks is a bit of an understatement. Every day that passes, I miss Roscoe more. But today, I will not be sad. Today I will think of my little friend and smile. I will remember all of the funny things he did on a daily basis, like sleeping on my head or talking constantly, that made me smile.

Keeping me warm in the winter months. Roscoe ALWAYS loved to sleep
ON my head when it was really cold.

We pet owners think that we are pet owners. But that just isn't true. The truth is that our pets own us. I feel lucky to have had Roscoe in my life. And I will always be proud that he and Opus are my owners.

Mio carissimo Roscoe, ci vediamo ancora....
(My sweet Roscoe, we will see each other again...)


Amerifolks said...

This is such a beautiful story of The Boys. They have been such a big part of our family. I still cannot believe that we didn't have a little more time with Roscoe, but I know we would never have been ready to say good bye to him. His personality always left me with a smile on my face, I could not go buy him, or his brother, without giving a hug or a kiss to either.
We are so glad that we got to spend most of the summer with you all in Italy and I treasure all of the quiet times and busy times we had with The Boys.
We miss him dearly, even though he lived far away I could hear his voice talking to me on the phone. What a fantastic grandkitty Roscoe, was and still is.
He will no longer be ill or have to have a vet doing things to him that he would not have wanted done or understood. He loved you enough to know when it was time to go and made it possible for you not to make the hard decisions.
You all will be together again, all young and healthy.
Love you Roscoe, how we miss you but will never forget you.

Sassy Kat said...

I still cannot believe that you are not here but over the bridge. My mind tells me that you were so ill and now you are young and playing with new and old friends. My heart hurts too much and keeps reminding me how much I miss you. Though we never met I did learn all about you by the blogging world. How much fun we had. Be on the lookout for me because someday I too will go over the bridge and we will gladly be together again.

The Cat Realm said...

My maid is in full crying mode now... I couldn't agree with you human anymore: WE OWN YOU. I thought everybody knows that.... Thank you for this wonderful story, I did have to laugh when you finally found out about the ear mites!
And here is some advice human: you can SEE what sex a kitten is by looking in between it's rear legs, right under the tail, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

Mom is crying for sadness at Roscoe going. But I reminded her you have very many happy memories and you will see Roscoe again. Hugs from me and Mom.
The music is beautiful.

Alasandra said...

Mommy loved the Dukes of Hazzard and had a soft spot for Sheriff Roscoe, how neat to know our Roscoe was named for him.

What sweet Christmas presents Opus and Roscoe made and what special cats they both are.

Hugs & Purrs, ~Socks, Scylla & Charybdis

Jan's Funny Farm said...

These memories will always be a treasure stored in your heart.

Sunny's Mommy said...

I've stopped by occasionally but am not a regular follower of Opus and Roscoe's blog.

I really enjoyed reading your story. I am sorry that today you do not have Roscoe with you to celebrate his and Opus' birthday. I know you, your husband and Opus must miss him terribly. Hugs to all of you.

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh my...Mumsie promised me she wouldn't leak...but she lied! Hold Mumsie...take a kleenex!

First of all, we wanna tell ya Asta is in South Carolina...we're hoping she'll be back tonight and stop by. We heard sooooooooooo much bout ur excitin' adventures and how you were the C-A-T alyst...(oh my...good one Lac...) to Asta becomin' friends "with those 'venturous kitties.." You started many friendships with us canines and we're forever grateful!

We heard all bout you meetin' Ami, George and Asta in Italy and how much that meant to them!!!

So this celebration that is today...ur Birthday, Roscoe and the anniversary of ur a BIG ONE! All the love that shoots regularly around the world many times a day is personified...(catsonified??) here...and that, My Friend, is something special. To be remembered for giving and receiving LOVE....who could want for more???

We're Purrin'...ok...barking for ur mom and dad and sweet Opus....we're here for may not see us...but ya can't see the wind either, can ya? And Opus...though you can't see Roscoe any more...he's there, honey...he's with you....

We love you all!!!

Scruffy, Lacie, Babystan and Mumsie...who has just run outta kleenex.....

Derby said...

Mum Cyn what a wonderful way to remember Roscoe.He was part of your little slice of America that went to Italy with you.

P.S. The picture, third from the bottom of this post. Where are you? They had a picture in the paper today of this place. But it was an advertisement, so they didn't identify the building.


Derby and Mum Janet

MoMo said...

This is such a moving , lovely real life story. Yes, you are so right - we don't OWN pets, just as we don't own friends or anyone we love.

Asta said...

I just got home and came wight away..I wanted to celebwate youw life Roscoe along wif youw Bwuvvew and family..I love you , and know I will meet you in heaven!

We'we cwying now, but awe joyous that you had so much love to give and wwewe love so much in wetuwn.
All my love
youw Asta Woffie fwiend fowevew

Alexi said...

Blue Cat Man's eyes are all leaky after reading this story. We wish we had known Roscoe better. We loved Opus and his fashion sense in episodes of CCSI.

{{{{{hugs}}}}}} to Roscoe's family

Alexi and the rest of the Krasota Castle Cats

Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful tribute.He was a very special kitty and very muched loved ...Hugs Ariel

Karen Jo said...

Roscoe will always be with us in our hearts. He was such a fun and fun-loving kitty that it would be impossible to forget him.

Charlemagne and Tamar said...

What a beautiful remembrance of Roscoe! He had such a wonderful life, getting to be with his brother and being loved by you and your husband and so many friends.

Run and jump and play at the bridge, Roscoe! You are in our hearts.

Charlemagne and Tamar

Margaret Cloud said...

What a beautiful post, my Melody went to the Bridge a year ago so I know how you feel about Roscoe, how is Opus doing? These cats are so pretty. and he is waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge. Please come by sometime.