But don't be sad. This is still a very happy story.
This morning Roswell had a very swift downturn and she was purring and with us when she died, thirteen and a half years after she showed up on the back porch, filthy and with her eyes swollen shut. Over the years she was a thing that absorbed, amplified, and radiated unconditional love, and I'll miss her. I'm only sad for selfish reasons and I'm only sad a little bit. Mostly I'm grateful -- not so much for the time we had together -- but rather the time we had together knowing that the clock was running out. I'm so grateful that we had the time to live those days as though each one was the last. And I'm glad for how much she was able to impact other people's lives for the better in the time she had.
All in all there were 379 Roswell Days, each one the best day of her life filled with love and attention and, occasionally, food. I don't feel the need to memorialize her because I did that a year ago when I thought she was going to die.
In the past year, she's had people come from Scotland, from California, from Florida, from Canada, from Oregon, from Kentucky, and from just down the street to say hello and goodbye and make her feel special. She survived life on the streets, meningitis, diabetes, asthma, and cancer. She was a very lucky cat who stretched all of those nine lives as far as possible.
One of the first photos of Roswell after she came in, July of 2006.
You may clickenzee to EmCuten
How to be a better Cat Dat
I spent a lot of time in her last year wondering how I could do better by her and these are what I'm left with.
1) (most important) Never be mad at anything just because it loves you. When claws go into your leg, when someone wakes you up by sitting on your head, when someone wants to be picked up, when someone follows you around mewping or claws your nose at 5 am, don't get impatient, don't shout, don't push. Remember that's all they have to say they want to be with you.
2) Never leave a meow or a tap unanswered. If you can't reach out and touch them right away because you're carrying dishes, answer with your words and follow up with a touch when you can.
3) All requests for petting must be answered with petting. This is meows, leg rubbing, lap sitting.
4) The minimum amount of time for petting is 10 seconds. Count to ten. Don't scritch & go. There will be some day you'd give a lot for ten more seconds. Enjoy it now.
5) Always make space and recognize when she wants to be with you. When you're on the sofa, or in the comfy chair, or at the computer; make space. I put a chair next to my computer chair for Roswell to sit in, it's pushed right up next to mine so we touch. If she climbs up on the keyboard, I put her on the chair. She's happy enough.
6) Always be thinking "Can I make her happier? Can I make her life better?" She's a cat. She can't do stuff on her own, like open cans or turn on the Youtube Birds Eating Seeds channel. Sometimes you need to intervene.
7) Never use your size or fear to get what you want. Don't chase her away from something -- a table, a dish, a door, -- rather give her a reason to come to you. You should always be the thing of love, never the thing of fear.
8) When it's time to go, it's time to go. Don't linger on the last decision because you can't imagine life without them. Imagine instead their life without pain.
On the anniversary of her cancer diagnosis we threw her a party which we called Day of Gluttony, Night of 1000 Cans where we invited some of her friends to come over, bring their favorite foods, and celebrate by eating. Roswell got to eat as many cans as she wanted and we livestreamed the whole thing. Six hundred people tuned in to watch.
I think this is a great way to remember her. You can watch it here. It's the best party I've ever been to.
If you want to do something to memorialize her and you can, adopt or foster a cat. If you can't do that, you can click here to donate to City Kitties the group that helped her when she was a kitten. If you can't do that -- make every day a Happy Roswell Day for a person or animal in your life. You can also get some Roswell art from M.C. Matz and think of her every morning while you drink coffee.
Have a Roswell Life everyone.
Thanks for being a part of our lives. If you have a favorite Roswell story or an idea about how people can do good in the world, let us know in the comments.
Hayley Rosenblum videotaped Roswell eating some nori earlier this year.
Typical day in the life of Roswell. You may clickenzee to EmCuten
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