Our beloved Possum, Ranch Boss, went over the Rainbow Bridge on Sunday, December 8. He was 11¾ years old. Of all the cats I’ve had, he was the sweetest. I can’t remember ever hearing him hiss, although in retrospect, I think he hissed at me once when I tried to give him a pill.
I adopted him and his brother Sparky from SoHumane in 2008. I'd always wanted to adopt a pair of siblings, and I could hold one of them in each hand. When I brought them home and opened the cardboard box they both leapt out like circus performers, playing, attacking and chasing each other around the house. During that first summer, I often felt as if I were in the middle of a bar fight.
Possum had a fascination with licking things. Many a morning I would wake to find that my hair had been licked into bizarre shapes, as if the little guy had spent the entire night on my head, creating the perfect “Possum-do.”
Once our older cat Sofie trained the little brothers in the ways of the outdoors and they outgrew her, Possum, due to his large, bulldog-like stance, was elevated to the position of Ranch Boss. He took his job very seriously, and directed the effort of keeping the gophers at bay. Each evening he made his rounds, checking the property, before settling in for the night.
I’d often find him on the bed in a deep trance, kneading on the bedspread. We tried to discourage this habit, which he practiced on us quite liberally, but to no avail. When it developed into accompanying drooling, licking and kneading-with-claws, I’d have to nudge him away.
“But I love you!” he seemed to say, with an air of disappointment. He’d usually come back in less than a minute, hoping to "love on me" again.
“Not everyone wants to be licked,” I’d remind him. I knew there would come a time when I’d regret pushing him to the end of the bed so I could get some sleep on dry sheets.
A few months before his passing he began cuddling next to me on the couch, placing a paw on my arm and gazing at me tenderly, almost as if he knew his time was coming.
Yes, he was a bit cross-eyed and loved to lick us, but he was our groovy, laid-back, mellow, loving Possum. I miss him every day.