70: Zorro and Rocky

70: Zorro and Rocky

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Zorro and Rocky

No one ever really dies as long as they took the time to leave us with fond memories.

~Chris Sorensen

Our Ragdoll cat, Zorro, was just the sweetest, most laid-back kind of guy you would ever want to have snuggle with you or lick your hand. Sadly, he’s gone now. He passed quietly one night from a common feline heart condition called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, often referred to as “the silent killer.”

My husband and I were devastated. Zorro was only eight years old, and he showed no signs that he was ill. It took a while before I could even talk about him. But now our memories of Zorro are comforting.

One story that always makes me smile happened when we moved to our condo situated on a hill above a Nevada desert golf course. During the early days in our new home, we were pleasantly surprised at the different types of wildlife that passed by our patio, clearly visible from our French doors. To our delight, a roadrunner, which we named Rocky, had already staked out our patio as part of his territory.

I met Rocky for the first time one morning as he pecked a greeting on one of our French doors. There’s nothing like a friendly knock to say, “Welcome to the neighborhood.” I was fascinated by this primitive, scary-looking bird who appeared to have no fear of me. When I went over to the glass to get a closer look at him, he cocked his head and mimicked the same once-over that I was giving him.

I called Zorro, curious to see how he would react. He arrived with urgency, claws clattering on the tile floor. Unfortunately, he misjudged his ability to stop on the slippery surface and slid, with an embarrassing thud, into the glass door. His smoky gray tail waved furiously after he righted himself and began to pace in front of the doors.

The adversaries were face to face now and both appeared uncertain. Rocky’s body language and black, beady eyes seemed to shout, “Who are you and what are you doing in my territory?” I witnessed a stare down of epic proportions and tried not to laugh.

Being a smart guy, and not quite confident about the situation, Zorro did what any cat would do. He cocked his head at me with a look that asked, “What IS that thing?”

Much to my surprise, Zorro suddenly threw himself against the glass and began to pound on it with his paws. Rocky reciprocated by jumping back at Zorro on the other side. Their curiosity had turned into a boxing match!

Eventually, Rocky tired of the game that offered him no satisfaction and got back to the business of looking for his favorite breakfast — lizards. From his command post on top of our patio table, he scanned the landscape and every once in a while looked back at the glass door where Zorro held his ground. When Rocky eventually zoomed away in typical roadrunner style, Zorro began to rub against my legs as if to say, “You’re safe now, Mom.” He had, after all, protected our turf.

As the weeks wore on, Rocky would make an appearance several times a week. He would usually peck on the door to announce his arrival and Zorro would charge to greet him. After a while they figured out that shadow boxing against the glass wasn’t much fun. So they would just sit there and stare at each other before Rocky moved on to the serious business of lizard hunting.

Our female Ragdoll Zoe grieved as we did when Zorro died. She’s much better now and ready for a new feline buddy. As luck would have it, we walked into our vet’s office and were greeted by a sleek, black shorthaired fellow looking for love and a home. Although he already had a name, we weren’t crazy about it. My husband suggested the perfect alternative — “Rocky,” of course.

~Diane Quinn

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