This is Rocky.
My first introduction to Rocky was in a backyard in Watsonville, where he was vigorously playing with the front half of a mouse, batting it around like it was a soccer ball. That tells you most of what you need to know about Rocky.
Rocky is a guy cat. He is 100% male. I imagine there is such a thing as testosterone for cats. I admit I have never thought about it before, but if it isn’t true, Rocky still has testosterone while other cats do not. Rocky likes to chase things. He likes to brawl. He likes to explore. He likes to put things in his mouth that you would never imagine a cat would put in his mouth.
Rocky’s first name is Rocky. I picked it out of thin air. It fits him perfectly. Within minutes of meeting him you will agree. It’s like nobody could imagine Bill Clinton being named anything other than Bill Clinton. It just is him, exactly. It’s like that for Rocky, too.
Rocky’s last name is Balboa. It just seemed obvious. The name is also a reference to a Saturday Night Live skit that starred show dogs. (He has no knowledge of this.) And since Rocky’s ultimate destination is an Italian American home, that works too.
Rocky is like a dog. Rocky follows me around. When I sit at my desk, he will plop down between me and the keyboard. When I take naps, Rocky frequently will lie down and stretch out next to me, side by side.
Rocky is like Mick Jagger. When he arrives, there’s absolutely no doubt in his mind he’s exactly where he ought to be. Boundless confidence radiates from him. It’s a bit hard to explain. He’s so confident, in fact, that unlike most cats, he walks around with his tail perpetually sticking straight up in the air.
Rocky’s conceit has not made him a snob. Rocky likes everyone. He’s an easygoing cat, and enjoys the company of other cats. In fact, it’s other cats that occasionally have a problem with him. They might be enjoying a nice moment with a human, and if Rocky happens by and sees it happening, he will jump in and insert himself. This can cause some harsh feelings among those involved, but Rocky does not seem to notice this.
Rocky is not stupid. If he brawled and chased things and explored and was a stupid cat, that would be a problem. But Rocky is really smart. Rocky will come if I tell him that jumping over the fence was a stupid idea and he needs to come back. He’ll come back. Rocky has, so far, not gotten himself into any situations that he can’t get himself out of. (Unlike, for example, his brother.) I trust Rocky not to get run over by cars. What I do not trust is that Rocky will not sneak into a neighbor’s house and make off with a hunk of roast beef or a roll of fancy yarn. But that’s not my problem.
Rocky has the makings of a champion. A champion is a cat that is smart, confident, protective, and a fighter. A champion will defend his yard from other cats and his owner, as surely as a samurai will protect his lord. I have known a few champions. Rocky is one of them. Rocky will run to the strange cat that is intruding on his turf, while his brother is going the other direction.
I will miss Rocky when he is gone. I’ll get to see him occasionally, but I’ll miss our day-to-day interaction. Maybe he’ll miss me, maybe not. He’ll do well in his next billet, keeping a retired person company, and together with his brother have the entire house and backyard to themselves. Maybe the two of them will be exactly what his new neighborhood needs. I think if you could ask Rocky, he’d be absolutely confident of it.