Today’s a sad day. Robert Carmichael Burke has shed his mortal coil. A 15 year-old cat that was treated as a dog for his entire life, Bob was a great cat.
I was the world’s most reluctant cat owner. Being in college and living off campus, I couldn’t have a dog but always had a pet growing up. I figured that if I treated a cat like a dog, it would act like one. And despite that being ridiculous, it kind of worked.
Bob was part Maine Coon Cat, and it showed. He was big. Very big. And like the dog I tried to make him into, he’d greet me when I walked in the door and would jump up on my lap so I could pet him.
Unlike any other cat I’ve met, his purr was incredibly loud; you could hear him purring from two rooms away. It’s pretty difficult to be in a bad mood when a 20+ pound cat runs at you, jumps up next to you, and sings like he’s got a microphone in his throat. The guy let you know he appreciated you being there.
When Randi was pregnant with Maggie, my grandmother’s Yorkie died. She was pretty heartbroken about it. Living alone, it was nice having a companion around.
We called my grandmother and asked if she’d like Bob to live with her. Before I could give my explanation of why we thought it was a good idea, she excitedly said “Yes!”
The next morning we got up at 4am, and with Bob in a carrier we drove the 4 hours to drop him off. We stayed for less than an hour and headed back. He was a great cat for my grandmother, and I can’t count the number of times she said “I just can’t get over Bob. He has such a great personality and he always wants attention!”
15 years is a long time to have a pet, especially when you’re in college and constantly bouncing from apartment to apartment. But nothing ever seemed to bother him. He was always the cat that didn’t act like a cat, and every single friend I have has a story about Bob.
That’s the funny thing about our animals: It hurts so bad when they leave us, but until they do we take for granted the impact they have on our lives. Thanks for being you, Bob. You’ll be missed by everyone.