Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rosemary and Catnip for our Rumbley

Last Friday was a very emotional day for my husband and I. Our oldest male cat Rumbley passed away. Rumbley was a very special member of our family for many reasons. He is the cat that enticed my husband into becoming a totally Pussy (cat) whipped kind of guy! :)


I have always had an affinity for cats. When I was a child growing up on a farm outside Lewistown, IL, we frequently had cats dumped on our road, and my folks were always cool about letting me adopt them. I remember finding a solid black kitty once that after my dad and I bathed it, (getting thoroughly shredded in the process), ended up being a white cat. We had one mama cat who came inside alot, but most of our cats lived in our barn and gardens and were just part of how I grew up. So loving cats is just part of my makeup and throughout my entire life I have co habitated with many wonderful cats.

My husband on the other hand… not so fond of them and never had lived with one. Now this created problems for my future husband and I’s romance as far as ever getting married and living together and this is where Rumbley is actually a catalyst on getting us married. I had been divorced for about ten years, and Gerald had been divorced about 18 years when we met. And whereas we enjoyed each others company and dated exclusively, I just never really wanted to get married again, and a big part of that is because I would never give up my cats, ( I had several older cats living with me at the time), and Gerald, well he really just never wanted to live with one! Well, we dated around three years, maintaining seperate residences and that was cool with me and then entered Rumbley into our lives.

Gerald has some neighbors that moved back in 2002, and when they moved, they abandoned their two full grown male cats. So here comes these two cats roaming around Gerald’s yard and I convinced him to let me put one of the dog boxes he uses to transport his hunting dogs, onto the front porch to at least give these two kitties shelter while I tried to find them homes. I was able to place the one but was having trouble placing Rumbley. Seems there must be alot of ginger tommy cats roaming this world as the black fluffy one was easily placed, but poor Rumbley, being rather a common place color, full grown and unneutered, just wasn’t as attractive to prospective adoptive folks.

Life is funny though and the longer Rumbley stuck around the yard and followed Gerald around, well, I could see them starting to bond. Gerald had a ladder propped up against the house outside the kitchen window and Rumbley took to climbing up it daily and watching what Gerald was doing, and in my journeys in and out of the house, I could just see that the tides were changing in Gerald’s attitude.

Time passed and one day I stopped over for lunch, and as we were leaving the house, me for back to work, and Gerald to go in on second shift, here comes Rumbley. But this time, he is hurt! Something had happened to his back end and we didn’t know if he had been side swiped by a car, kicked or what, but he was seriously injured. I wrapped him up to bring him to my apartment to tend while Gerald went to work. When I got him to my home I could tell, from seeing it happen to kitties before who had run ins with vehicles, that he had a broken pelvis. Not much that can be done for that generally, just time, so I made him comfortable in the spare bedroom and figured I had another cat! Not to be though. That night when Gerald got off work here came a phone call,”How is MY cat? When are you going to bring him HOME?” LOL Yup, Rumbley had won Gerald’s heart and soul and that night moved in with him and they were thoroughly bonded for the next 8 years.

Rumbley was not a particularly loving cat to anyone but Gerald when he was younger and my first grandchild Evan, got many of side swipe scratches those first years if he got too near or tried to get to friendly. Hell, when Gerald and I got married about 6 months later, when I was alone in the house with Rumbley he would attack my ankles periodically and I had stragically placed water bottles throughout the house!


I got back at him though, the week after I got married I took him and had him neutered and he started mellowing out a bit after that!lol

So for quite a few years our Rumbley has been our alpha male kitty, ruling the roost from a basket right on our kitchen table. He always was a benign surrogate to the assorted kittens that have found their way here to Comfrey Cottages and he and I became comfortable with each other and he and my husbands bond grew.

This last year I could see time catching up with him. He seemed to lay in his basket more and get a bit thinner, but we all slow down over time. He still was always the first to investigate when I brought in a new harvest, and we never suspected he was sick


In December we noticed some changes that we felt needed checked by the vet. Well, the long in the short of it was our Rumbley had cancer. He will be sorely missed and my heart is just too raw to go into details, but I felt a need to share with all of you, my dear Comfrey Cottages visitors and friends, why I have been a bit absent lately. And to write a bit of a tribute to one hell of a cat who I will miss. I have no idea when he was born but I will always remember the time I did share this lifes journey with him.


We buried him between our white pine and my native wildflower garden and before we closed his little grave, I sprinkled rosemary for remembrance and catnip on his little coffin. I will never forget you Rumbley!



*Ulrike* said...

Leslie, that is such a beautiful story, and Rumbley knew how much he was loved. Even though he didn't show it too often! Cats have a way of doing that. We have always had a dog here and there, but cats have always been around too, strange how they have a way of doing that! I know Rumbley will be missed, but you have your story to look back on and all your photos too.
Take Care!

Comfrey Cottages said...

thanks ulrike:) i know, "sigh", that rumbley in his own way loved me. and i loved him:) ever thankful he was able to change gerald's whole outlook on kittys:) big hugs to you hon

tansy said...

awww, leslie, i'm sorry to hear it! it's always a tearful time when ours pets depart from our lives. sounds like rumbley had a great life though!

Vegan Epicurean said...

Your story about Rumbley really touched me. I have a very similar story of a great cat that we lost in 1999 after 21 years together. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Isn't it amazing how some cats seem to be magical? Our Nicholas turned my hubby into a cat person too.


Rita M said...

That's a beautiful story Leslie.
I'm so sory my friend.
Big hugs to you & Gerald

Anke said...

Leslie I'm so sorry about your loss. A pet is always an important part of the family and I'm sure your loss was felt deeply by all. May the happy memories of Rumbley console all of you.
Big hugs,

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Am I too late to acchoo for Rumbley? Beautiful cat and a beautiful life with you and your hubby! Hugs to you and your hubby!

Comfrey Cottages said...

thank you everyone for caring:) i love you all. i couldn't ask for nicer friends:) glad you had your nicholas convert your hubby too alicia:)

Anonymous said...

Ah, Leslie, I'm sorry about Rumbley. How wonderful, though, that you were able to give him a long happy life and he was able to turn Gerald on about the wonders of kitties (got one stretched across my lap right now)


Brigitte said...

Thank you for sharing your special live story.
How incredible special Rumbley was by melting Gerald's heart and blessing the relationship of you two.
We all have to face the time to let go and let come new loved ones into our live.
I wish you a fast healing by heart.

Love and hugs

janet said...

Leslie, my heart goes out to you and your hubby. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet, they are so much a part of the family. He was a beautiful cat and you were blessed to have him be a part of your lives for all those years.
I like that you sprinkled rosemary for remembrance when you buried him.

Comfrey Cottages said...

thank you wendy, brigitte and janet for your kind words. they mean alot to me big hugs

Comfrey Cottages said...

thank you wendy, brigitte and janet for your kind words. they mean alot to me big hugs

Sarah Head said...

My condolences on your loss, Leslie. I have a soft spot for ginger toms as the only pet I ever had was a ginger kitten who wandered onto the farm and stayed for several years. He would only let my sister and me touch him - he used to ride sitting around my neck when I fed the cattle! He left us to take up residence with a hareem of female cats in a neighbouring farm when I was away on my gap year and I never saw him again and have never had a pet since.

Lisa said...

Leslie, I am glad you don't live near me right now or else you'd see the tears streaming down my face! :( I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful story and what a great life you, and Gerald, gave Rumbley.

Oh I too am a cat fan! And since I got my orange boy, Jack four years ago or so, I am a HUGE ginger cat fan! I've always had long as I can recall. It's so amazing how they can warm their way into someone's heart. My former kitty, Mickey, did the very same thing to my DH that Rumbley did to Gerald!

Hugs and prayers to you all-


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss but I feel very lucky to have shared in that beautiful story.

Comfrey Cottages said...

awww sarah that is so cute your tom rode you neck while tending the cows:) sounds like he was a very independant sort the rest of the time! i live in town so there is a road danger plus here in the united states, there are so many kitty diseases that mine are house only kitties. which, of course, strengths the emotional bonding even stronger than with my outdoor kitties i loved when i grew up on a farm.
oh lisa "hug" i am out of tears sweetheart. just trying to remember the love. the tears happened more watching our big, alpha kitty waste away and suffer. so very cool that your mickey did the same as my rumbley in melting your mans heart:)i will have to look your blog over for a picture of jack! i still have two gingers with me. they seem to have an affinity for me as they were strays also:)
thank you for your kind, warm word stephany:)
great big herbal and honey hugs to all of you. you are all quite dear to me!

teddy bears Marin to Venice said...

Ciao, bellissima storia e....magnifico GATTO !

Ciao da Venezia


Marcie said...

I am so sorry to hear about Rumbley. I know you will miss him very much.

Comfrey Cottages said...

thank you aisling:) and rosarita:) and thank you for visiting comfrey cottages also!

Fran said...

Hi Leslie. I just found your blog today. Many hugs to you and your DH on Rumbley's passing. While I'm a dog person (13-y.o. Brittany named Orion), I have a soft spot for cats, especially ginger ones. They seem to be such characters.
I worked with a voice teacher who had a ginger Maine Coon named Rudy. He greeted students at the door, and if she used an effect on the keyboard that he didn't like, such as harpsichord instead of regular piano, he'd sit on the keys until she changed it.
Blessings to you, Fran

sunflowerherbfarm said...

The post about your cat touched me. My husband, who grew up on a farm, did not pay any attention to our barn cats when we first married, but as my love for one of them grew he became attached also. Our wonderful fat tom, "Fuzz" captured his heart became our very favorite. Fuzz was quite an ornery male cat who loved to curl up in my husband's lap when he came home from work. They always met at the doorway to my shop. He and Fuzz would unwind together while I worked away in the garden rows or on my wooden table; harvesting seeds, tying up bundles of herbs, cleaning roots, or planting seedlings. My husband and Fuzz contendedly watched my hands moving in the afternoon light, two sets of eyes following my every move. ( I suspect Fuzz was just waiting to pounce) We loved Fuzz's quiet attention and purring language. Fuzz lived with us 2 years , playing from barn to pasture to garden. He went missing one day after a terrible fight with a coyote. We never could find him even tho we searched the pastures for weeks. My husband didn't say much about it, but I knew he missed Fuzz's company. He used to say he wasn't alone in the estrogen jungle (with me and our daughters) as long as he had Fuzz.
He was a good old cat.