Some cats steal your heart with cuddles. They curl up in a lap, knead their way onto a shoulder or chest, rub noses with favorite humans and give those sandpaper licks.
And then there was Rocket.
Rocket, the sweet and curmudgeon-y orange tabby cat who melted our hearts and left bite marks on our hands and ankles, unexpectedly died Jan. 7, 2023. He was 17.
Rocket did all of those cat things. He cuddled. He laid in laps. He kneaded shoulders or chests to find the perfect spot to sleep. He rubbed noses. And he licked hands or cheeks with his sandpaper-feeling tongue.
Usually, though, his cuddles began or ended with a bite. His hand licking ended with a bite. And if you rubbed noses too long, he would most certainly try to bite your face.
And you always needed to be on guard in the kitchen for fear of your ankles or thighs being bitten.
Perhaps it was his way of showing love.
At one time, Rocket was one of six cats living under one roof.
And that never stopped him from making sure he was king of the cats, always finding ways to torment — maybe even bully — other animals.
His personality was special. He was lovingly nicknamed “the bastard cat” or “the jagoff cat.” He didn’t care about knickknacks or dogs or Christmas villages — if something was in his way, he moved it, sat on it or attacked it.
One of his longtime favorite hobbies was to perch himself in a chair at the dining room table and swat at dogs as they walked by.
It seemed as if much of his life was spent in the front window — sleeping, watching birds or knocking over Christmas decorations. He loved the sunlight and would sometimes stay in the window much of the day.
Perhaps more than that, Rocket enjoyed cuddling up to me. Whether he was sprawled across my shoulders as I sat in the armchair, along my body in bed, on my chest or legs, he found comfort in being as close to me as he could be.
While Fancy Feast was a lifetime favorite of his, in the last few months of his life, he easily adapted to a special diet — both wet and dry food. He sometimes would sneak Boo’s food.
Never one to shy away from attention, Rocket joined us for family gatherings, such as opening gifts on Christmas Eve, where he would play in opened gift wrap; putting up the tree, where he loved jumping in the bag and rolling around; and sitting at the table trying to steal food.
A love for fellow felines he did not have. Max and Belle were often victims of his bullying. Though, he left some of his fellow cat family alone. And, at times, he shared his beds and toys with those furry four-legged family.
He is survived by his human companions and four-legged creatures he didn’t really care for — Anne, Macy, Oakley and Boo. He was preceded in death by Charlotte, Kaci, Belle, Noel, Max, Sidney, Mindy, Midnight and Snowflake.
In lieu of cat nip and tasty treats, hug your furry little animals and tell them how much they mean to you.