Rest in Peace Tom, my lovely ginger boy

Just over five weeks after I said goodbye to my feisty calico kitty, we had to let her soulmate, our ginger boy Tom, go too. Another case of aggressive cancer from his hyperthyroidism. I didn’t get to say goodbye, I thought I was bringing him home. At least he didn’t suffer for too long.

He arrived as a stray, many years ago, scared of people. I couldn’t get within six feet of him, only really seeing him peek out at me with big lamp-like eyes that would shine bright in the night. Eventually over many weeks, I gained his trust and he made our house his home. Soon after, his companion Tortoise the calico cat moved in too. They had so many years with us, cuddled together in comfort, full bellies, happy in a place of safety and security.

They would spend the summer months lazing together in the sunshine in our conservatory, and in the winter snuggled together in an extra large cat bed. They came and went as they pleased, only really venturing into our big garden to potter, laze, or follow me around as *I* pottered. They were my constant companions in the house, always purring or chatting, swirling around my feet at dinner time.

Tom was so vocal, my little monkey man who said “muh-uh-uh” whenever he asked for food or an extra helping, or just announcing himself. Life is never the same after they go. I feel bereft. They were my family, will always be my family, but at least I hope now that they are together again, lazing side by side in the sun. My special sunshine cats. I will always love you, Tom xxx

Goodbye, Tortoise

I’ve been holding off writing this post, because really it hurts to think about it too much.

Tortoise is not so impressed…

Last month our old lady calico cat, Tortoise, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour and kidney disease. It had all come on quite suddenly – she had barely visited the vet in her many years, and was a stoic old lady with a routine of eat, sleep, potter, eat, sleep, eat, sleep. But within three weeks, she had had enough and we had to make the decision to have her put to sleep. I cried on and off for two weeks before it happened, because although the vet assured us that until those last couple of days, her quality of life was good, I knew that all too soon we’d have to say goodbye. And I find goodbyes painful. I didn’t want her to go, I didn’t want to miss her, but I knew it was the kindest thing we could do.

I really, really do miss my old girl 🙁

Tortoise wandered into our lives, quite belligerently, well over a decade ago. It might have been 12 years, I can’t quite remember, as she quietly and presumptively just slotted into our lives. She lived down the street but the lady worked long shifts away from home, and without a cat flap, Tortoise would either be shut in or shut out for days whilst the lady worked away from home.

We think Tom, our ex-stray ginger boy, was Tortoise’s sibling or offspring (the lady once sold a litter of kittens for £5 each and we think Tom might have been one of them), and the lady let us take him in permanently as he had pretty much made our house his home. Tortoise would occasionally turn up, grumpy and usually stinking of cigarettes, but hungry and happy to stay. One night, it was raining and pouring outside and I saw two sets of big eyes peering out from underneath our garden bench, obviously hungry and eager for somewhere dry. I opened up our doors and in Tom came. That night he became our boy. Although I couldn’t get within six feet of him and he seemed petrified of boots and feet, he eventually came to trust us and made us his family.

Tortoise took a little longer to find her way home here. She was still wandering in and out but was obviously being shut away for days on end. But when she turned up one New Year’s Day with part of her tail right down to the bone and obviously suffering with the pain of an infection, I had to call the RSPCA. The officer took her away and I cried and cried because I thought I’d never see her again. The RSPCA officer called me to let me know they’d had to amputate her tail and that I’d effectively saved her life; had the infection gone any further it would have gone into her abdomen and she would have been in a lot of trouble.

Lucy, Tortoise the cat & Bertha the pumpkin

Lucy, Tortoise the cat & Bertha the pumpkin

But she was obviously returned to the lady down the street (we never found out what happened to her tail in the first place), and one day she turned up again at our door. And from thereon in, she decided to make our house her home, along with her companion Tom. They cuddled together, they went everywhere together, swapped bowls when they ate, groomed each other, batted each other over the head, but above all loved each other very much.

I think that’s what makes this especially difficult; seeing Tom continue to live life without Tortoise by his side. They were my two sunshine cats. She was such a homely cat, always taking the lead so that Tom would follow, just reassuringly calm but full of attitude and a touch of brilliant arrogance. She was a no-fuss, no frills kind of cat with the deepest, most rolling purr I’ve ever heard. I never had to worry about her because she was sensible and kind, but ready to put anyone and everyone in their place. She made our house really feel like a lovely home.

I miss her crazy ability to headbutt everything with great force, how she walked with stompy little feet, how she rolled on the gravel on her back because she loved the massaging feeling! How she always found the sunny spot and gave nervous Tom a reassuring groom if he felt a bit off or worried. How they would curl up together come rain or shine, always snuggly and happy to sleep away the day. I miss her scratchy, gravelly meow, her little routines like eating, followed by a quick claw on the doormat and then a few minutes observing the garden from her post on the back of the sofa in the conservatory. I miss how she would potter over to see me when I was gardening and just sit calmly, taking in the day and just loving the simple pleasures of life.

Tortoise was not just a cat. She was a friend.

And Tortoise, wherever you are, please know that we are looking after Tom and giving him extra fuss and cuddles for you. Save me a sunny spot old girl, see you again some day xx

Tortoise the cat sitting near the house in the evening sun

I will always love you, little one

On Saturday, my best friend, my little one, one of the things I loved most in this world was taken from me. I have so much grief that I simply can’t express it in words. Mindu, my little cat of 13 years and 2 months, was accidentally given an overdose of her chemo medication. After fighting for a week to survive, her body just couldn’t cope any more. She didn’t suffer at the end. She slipped into sleep and never woke up.

There is a big hole in my family and in my heart. All I can feel is sadness at the moment. I cared for her every day for 13 years. She was doing so well the week before it happened – putting on weight, purring and cuddling, eating well. I knew it was going to happen eventually with her cancer but we thought we had maybe another year with her. She was taken from me and I just have to go on without her now.

I’ll miss her cuddles, her purring, the way she would tread all over me in bed and knead me. Her headbutts, the way when I picked her up she sunk into me and just fitted in my arms. The way she used to wait on the stairs for me and spring up them and around the corner when I got halfway up. The way when I woke up on summer mornings I would see her stretched out in a patch of sunshine, or sitting on the back of the chair in my bedroom, surveying her kingdom below. The way she would cheekily jump out the window and smile-blink at me on the roof. The way she would knead with sometimes one paw stretched out a bit further than the other and go in double-time when she was really into it. The way she would wiggle her tail and stamp her feet when she was excited. The way she would put her head through the bannisters and rub the side of her face up and down when she knew you had some treats you were bringing up for her. The way she would curl up next to me every morning, close to my body, or come and rest on my chest with her head close to mine. The way she would sometimes lie straight down my legs, stretched out because she fit perfectly. The way she would turn herself upside down when curled in a ball and wrap her paw around her head and sigh contentedly. The way she would manicure her toes with such ferocity. The way she would sometimes just leap around on my duvet – her favourite place in the world – being silly. The way she would chatter when birds flew past the window. The way she would get silly and just keep headbutting me from side to side when I was trying to work on my laptop.

I just miss her *so* much. It’s so painful to lose someone you have loved and will always love.

Mindu and me

Mindu and me