UPDATE: we recorded a podcast episode about this story. You can listen to it using the audio player below, or wherever you get your podcasts.
This is a story about one of our fellow Love & Above Cat Club members! The Rasmussens have rescued, adopted, and raised quite a few felines over the years. Let’s just say it’s well into the double digits now. The flower essence blends they use the most are REVIVE and CALM. They’ve also used and gifted HEART-HEAL to several fellow cat lovers who have lost beloved pets. Thank you so much to Paul and Chery Rasmussen for allowing me to share this (amazing) story.
On June 4th, 2022 Riley Rasmussen, a beautiful black long-haired Maine Coon mix made his transition.
The Good Life of Riley
He spent his full 7 years of life playing on the catio, trotting on his lime green cat wheel, rolling around with his new brother, Duncan, and pushing his way in front of his sister, Shelby Sue, for an extra lick of Ciao Churu during the nighttime snack routine.
An avid food lover, he was also known to steal a turkey leg or chunk of butter off the festively set table and run like the wind down the hallway in hopes that no one would even catch a glimpse.
He’d even unapologetically lick a freshly frosted birthday cake, knowing full well it was not for him!
However, outside of the shenanigans, like clockwork, every morning, Riley jumped on the bed and snuggled under the sheets in the crook of his Dad’s arm.
In The Beginning There Was Love
It was clear, no matter what Riley did, he did it all in the name of love.
So of course, he’d find the most loving couple on the planet to be his parents.
The Rasmussens originally found Riley as a short-haired black kitten wandering in their garden. (Riley found his fluff later in life when his incredible mane grew in.)
At one point, they thought they might’ve seen two black kittens.
They scooped up the one, held many meetings on the proper name choice and finally decided on “Riley.”
They kept an eye out for the other but never saw him again.
Stranger In A Strange Land
About 5 years later, a large black cat appeared on their front lawn.
He looked like Riley except for the evidence of living the street life. He had some scratches, a weepy eye that was possibly infected, nicks in his ears and a balding tail that should’ve been his glory.
Could this be Riley’s brother?
The Rasmussens knew they had to care for this cat, earn his trust, and give him a permanent home with them.
After a few more meetings, this cat was named “Rocky,” sometimes, “Rocky-Rocket!”
Over the next year through hissing, some spitting and never being able to pet him, they finally trained Rocky to find his outdoor home in the back garden.
They got him a heated cat house to protect him from the elements.
Despite Rocky coming home to eat the majority of the time, sometimes he’d be gone for days and one time he was gone a couple of weeks, only to return with a few more scratches.
Being a true feral, the Rasmussens knew Rocky’s best life would probably be an outdoor one, in his own studio apartment, in their garden.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Now at this point, no one knew for sure if Rocky was indeed Riley’s brother.
Until one cool Spring day, Rocky was enjoying the front lawn again where he was originally seen.
Riley, being an indoor-only cat, peered at Rocky from the front screen door with an excitement and love that said, “Hey! Where have you been?!”
And when Paul (Riley’s dad) opened the door to get the mail, Riley darted out and made a beeline directly to Rocky!
Rocky didn't hiss, run or even flinch, as he looked at his brother who by now, had rolled over on his back in front of him.
This loving greeting would continue to happen when Rocky was in the yard.
The Rasmussens were amazed because they still couldn’t even pet Rocky.
They say that it’s not the quantity but the quality that matters and that is so true of Riley’s 7 short years.
He passed suddenly after 3 emergency vet visits and 2 surgeries, all taking place over the course of 3 days. They discovered that he suffered a blockage due to an aggressive cancer in his bowel. No one could believe it.
Saturday, June 4th was a heart-crushing day and everyone that was lucky to know Riley, myself included, cried, tried to catch their breath and couldn’t help but wonder why this even happened, let alone how it could happen.
But Riley had other plans.
On Sunday, June 5th, Chery (Riley’s mom) still in disbelief, feeling empty and somewhat numb, went out to feed Rocky.
Rocky would normally wait a bit then begin eating when Chery was just a few more steps away from him.
But not today.
Instead of eating his breakfast, Rocky walked right up to Chery and rubbed on her leg.
Chery, in disbelief, extended her hand slowly and he took it, rubbed his face on her palm and meowed in his raspy tones. Within minutes, Chery was sitting on her deck with Rocky on his side, right up against her - Rocky, meowing and purring, while the tears flowed heavily down Chery’s face.
All this from a cat that the day before was still hissing and wouldn’t let anyone touch him.
It was almost as if Riley said to his brother, “I had the best 7 years, Rocky! Now it’s your turn!! You take the next 7 and more! I love you, brother!”
Although the Rasmussens, Duncan, and Shelby Sue continue to miss Riley’s physical presence, Riley brought them Rocky to help continue the healing for everyone.
And as I write this, I’m happy to say that Rocky has had all his physical exams, neutering and is now living his best indoor life with extended catio time, including the morning snuggles with his new Dad, much like his brother did before.
It was such an honor to witness this story unfold. I am completely inspired by it and moved beyond words. It helps me know that even when we don’t understand why something is happening, there is always a Greater Reason.
These reasons come from a vantage point that is not ours to see just yet. But with a little bit of trust, a cup of faith, a dash of serendipity (and perhaps a chunk of butter 😺), if we follow the love, we may see the great, glorious picture.