Showing posts with label cat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat. Show all posts

Friday, 15 April 2011

RIP Larry Cat

A little bit of a self-indulgent post from me tonight, but it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to.

As some of you know, my cat died in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He was a wonderful companion, and I thought I'd mark his passing here. Yes - some might consider me a little strange for writing an obituary for a cat, but what can I say? I am, indeed, a little strange.

I adopted Larry from Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Ramsbottom in 2004. I'd decided that I wanted to adopt a young-ish cat (rather than a kitten), and I thought I probably wanted a ginger male. The nice staff at Bleakholt showed me round the sanctuary and introduced me to all the cats who were awaiting adoption: females, tortoiseshells, 8-year-olds. They were all adorable, but I didn't quite click with any of them. I said I'd think about it, and maybe come back another time. Just as I was turning to leave, the kennels assistant said, 'Oh... well... you might not be interested, but there's one other cat...' She took me through to the isolation pens, where they house the cats who have only just come in to the sanctuary. She opened up a pen, and a beautiful ginger cat climbed up and on to her shoulder. He looked straight at me - and that's when we decided to adopt each other.

A couple of weeks later, Larry moved in with me and my then-fiance. This is when things turned a little nasty. Larry was a placid and friendly cat; unfortunately, my fiance was not placid and friendly. He was, in fact, an abusive and bad-tempered man. Shortly before I adopted Larry, he'd hit me for the first time. Like many women in that situation, I'd forgiven him because he insisted that he loved me.

The first few weeks that Larry lived with us were great, but he soon started to show some signs of distress. He started to refuse to come in the house. He cringed whenever my fiance went near him. He wouldn't eat, and when I carried him in to his dish, he'd just hurry some food down then hide under the kitchen sink. Whenever my fiance entered the room, Larry would start to howl. It was the most distressing noise I have ever heard a cat make.

Things finally came to a head after a few months. My fiance insisted that there was something wrong with the cat, and that we should take him back to the sanctuary. He took his anger out on me, and said that there was also something wrong with me if I wanted to keep such a weird animal. He even said the immortal phrase: 'Either that cat goes or I do.' I think it was around that time that I realized he'd been hitting the cat.

So... one day, when he was out, I locked and bolted the doors and refused to let my fiance back in. I think I could just about put up with him abusing me, but the thought of him hitting my beautiful, defenceless cat was too much to bear.

Eventually, my ex-fiance agreed to come and collect his belongings - I owned the house, and he had never really contributed financially. The day he took his stuff was horrible. He arrived with his entire family, and they cleared the entire house. I couldn't do anything to stop them. They even took the towels, and when I stopped them taking the DVD player my brother gave me for Christmas, his mother slipped the remote control into her pocket.

After they'd gone, I sat in my empty house on the sofa (one of the few things they left me). I was so upset, I didn't even notice the front door was open. Suddenly, I noticed Larry - walking into the house for the first time in months. No howling, no cringing - the happiest cat in the world. He came and curled up on my knee and started purring. That's when I knew we'd be ok.

Me and Larry had 6 more happy years together. He was the most sociable cat I've ever had. He'd charm the pants off any friends or visitors who came to the house, and my neighbours all adored him. He had a particular soft spot for my younger brother, and would make a beeline for his lap as soon as he sat down. When just the two of us were in the house, he'd sometimes place his paw in my hand as he went to sleep - a little gesture that I will miss with all my heart.

Sadly, Larry was diagnosed with FIV just before Christmas. He had been scratched by a stray a couple of years earlier, and I think this is when the virus was transmitted. He became anaemic, and lost a lot of weight. Despite this, his demeanour didn't change. He remained the soft, friendly creature he'd always been.

This Monday, Larry's condition deteriorated rapidly. His heart began to struggle, and he was unable to stand for long. By Monday night, he was fading. I stayed up with him, and lay on the sofa with him. Eventually, he took himself off to a cushion in the corner, and closed his eyes. I stroked his head, said goodbye, and his little heart gave way at 4.30am. Sweet-tempered to the end, Larry was still trying to purr right up to the end.

I'll miss my cat - my companion and fellow-survivor. He was a good pet, and I'll never forget him.