* (Disclaimer: My sons named her. Not. Me.)
Well so she didn't totally die. Guess she technically has eight lives left.
But I remember her death vividly. I went off to a college friend's wedding in Dallas, and left my cat with my ex wife to have my sons watch her for the long weekend.
After a little bit of time in the NWA/Delta VIP Lounge at MSP Airport, my buddy, Gingo, and I boarded the plane for what was my virgin first class flight. By the time we arrived in Dallas, we were feeling JUST fine.
As we checked into our hotel, hours later than planned due to some beer-fueled detours, I got a phone call from Minnesota.
"I am kind of afraid that your cat is dead," my ex whispered into the phone. She whispers often when talking, both in person and on the phone, but she does it extra quietly when she has really bad news.
"What?" I asked back, mostly because I truly didn't hear what she said.
"I think my dog ate your cat today."
Now, many things flashed through my mind at that moment, but not once did I entertain the notion that her dog - remember the MINI-dachshund? - had eaten my cat.
"I'm betting she is just hiding, she's in a new place, and is likely hiding someplace where the dog can't find her," I said in my slightly buzzed state of calmness.
"Well, I went outside, and I found a carcass. All that is left is a bit of tail, and it looks like the same color hair as your cat had."
Ok, wait, is it physically possible for a mini-dachshund to eat a cat? My intuition said no, and I told her that it was probably a squirrel or raccoon skeleton that the dog had found nearby.
"No, I'm 99 percent sure this is your cat."
The last sentence would keep me guessing.
As I hung up the phone, not sure what I was supposed to do from Texas, my friends in the background were all breaking out in laughter, with all of them very familiar with the kind of relationship my ex and I had going back to the beginning.
"So, there's a chance that my cat is dead, but I'm guessing more likely it just got outside or is hiding." My friends know that I will be making jokes, as will they, about dead cats for the rest of the evening.
The humor was stifled for a moment when I got a second call from my ex's phone. It was both my sons, crying hysterically into the phone about how they hated their dog for eating their cat.
I spent a few minutes reassuring them that we didn't know what had happened to the cat yet, and that she could just be cleverly hiding, or got out, but will find her way back.
The fact that they said they never wanted pets again almost broke my heart. Especially since we didn't KNOW what had happened yet. But I couldn't undo that thought for them at that moment.
The next morning, a rather groggy minded, slightly achy me answered a bright and early phone call from my ex's phone again. "DAD WE FOUND HER! SHE WAS HIDING BEHIND THE FURNACE!" I heard two little voices screaming into the phone in unison.
After a conversation ranging from how they never really thought the little dog could eat their cat, to what kind of special treat they were going to give Rose the dead cat, I hung up and rolled over and tried to sleep.
But every time I tried to, I would start to laugh knowing that this was one occasion I felt very good to be right.
Now, a regular greeting for Rose when we return home from both boys is "Hi Rose, remember the time you died?" or "Hey Rosie, remember when Daisy ate you?"
And I smile to myself. To rip off Harry Chapin as I bid you goodnight, my boys are just like me.