Tragedy of a cat-lady

Tragedy of a cat-lady

There are moments where I feel like a child for the way I react to things. More often than I like, and also in the way that I hold onto things that should have been long past. It’s embarrassing, and I do feel ashamed for these feelings that I just can’t seem to let go of. It’s dumb. I know it’s dumb. I’m an adult… and I shouldn’t be sad over things that are really pretty minor.

Yet, they’re still devastating to me.

One of these bigger wounds that won’t heal is the loss of my two cats. This is where people usually roll their eyes and go ‘oh no, not this again’ because for most people, they were just a couple of animals I talked too much about. Still talk too much about.

It’s been over two years since they were rehomed.

Yes, rehomed. They’re alive and happy, living in the care of a wonderful couple. I couldn’t wish for more for them. I know they’re adored, as they deserve to be. They’re not gone completely from the world, it should’t hurt this much still, should it?

It always has, though. The reality of living in a country town and only having outdoor cats was that they often came to early ends, be it by car, snake, or otherwise. When they went missing, I scoured papers for a possible ‘found’ notice. When they passed, I cried myself to sleep for months. I feel sick to my stomach when I look at certain small breeds of dog after what two of my family’s dogs did to a litter of kittens.

I mourned all of them intensely. Topsy, Turvy, Jessica, Misty, Belle, Zelda, Gomez. My sister’s cat, Quinn, and Mum’s cat Laser.

I loved them deeply, but even then there was something special about the crew I adopted in Queensland that went beyond even that love.

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Bond, ‘Rental Bond’, Mr Bond, Mr B… or sometimes just B. My housemate and I adopted him after his initial owner gained a housemate with allergies. He had a habit of sitting like a person, and was very particular about being clean. He slept in my room at night and pretended like he could keep me safe from loud thunder.

Bond’s favourite trick was to get on top of things. He liked climbing up and sitting on your shoulders, even when he became bigger and super heavy. You could bet that if you stood still for half a minute, you’d have Bond trying to find a place to sit on you.

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When I had bad days, it was always Bond who came to me. He was an absolute sweetheart, and he just seemed to know when I wasn’t okay. He’d cuddle up and start licking my hair down nice and neat.

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Percival, Percy, Percy-boo, and a lot of the time just Boo.

We adopted Percy as soon as he was ready to leave his mother, a Burmese-cross. He was the dominant little fatty of his litter, and though he bossed his mother around we were worried about introducing him to Bond–who’d got quite big.

So we distracted Mr B with a bowl of his favourite–tuna chunks–so he wouldn’t immediately attack the new kitten as soon as we set Percy down. That was a match-up we got so very wrong.

Soon as his paws were on the floor, Boo marched up to the bowl and pushed away a very surprised Mr B. Bond never got the upper paw over Percy, though they did learn to share.

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The boys eventually became best friends. Like Bond, Percy didn’t like sitting like a ‘proper’ cat. Both boys had very affectionate homes before us, so they may never have realised that they are not actually people.

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They were smoochy boys. It wasn’t uncommon to wake up to the pair fighting over the best spot next to you.

It was a strange family we had, my housemate and these two rascals–but I loved it. I loved coming home and being greeted by those two (very annoyed, because how dare I go out!) fuzzy faces, and I loved that I could sit on the couch with one or both by my side and never feel quite alone. Percy did love our binge-watching of TV shows, though he got annoyed if I tried to actually use the computer for too long.

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And if I happened to sit on the couch with a blanket, you could just bet this would happen.

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There was a lot going on in my personal life while I had these boys at my side. My work situation went drastically downhill, and only went from bad to worse as I opted for another job (that didn’t work out). I loved where I lived, but missed my human family in Victoria. Without reliable work I felt worthless, anxious about everything from whether I was developing a tumor (I wasn’t, and I knew that) to fear of the world ending.

There was a lot that I wasn’t coping with. I felt sick just leaving the house–but I did it. I never wanted to eat, but I did it. I spent months unable to sleep properly, but I still kept trying.

Not because I valued myself enough, I didn’t. Not at the time.

But because if I didn’t get the groceries and look after myself, the boys would go hungry. When I fed them, I remembered that I too had to eat. And when I hadn’t managed sleep for a day or so, it was usually Bond who would sit heavy on my chest and bat my face if I tried to move.

My phone is still full of their photos, my head is full of their stories, and woe to anyone who asks because I will speak of them as if they are truly still my boys.

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Vesper, or V.

Vesper was the third feline addition to our family–somewhat later than Percy and not too long before we moved to Victoria. She’s a lilac point Burmese, and though she came from a home of many cats, she truly did deserve a place on her own. She has this now, living with a disabled woman who relies on her company.

With us, Vesper never truly got along with the boys, but she loved to sit on the couch just above my head and watch what I was doing. Initially she was adopted by a housemate we had, who was supposed to be staying longer, but had to return to her home overseas far sooner than expected. I made the choice to rehome Vesper in Brisbane before we left.

Strangely, her new home ended up being in Victoria anyway.

I never felt that she was ‘my’ girl in the way I felt of the boys, but she was a darling all the same. The one and only time she accosted me for a cuddle was one horrible afternoon when I’d been unable to sleep properly for almost three days. She sat on me and purred me to sleep.

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Needless to say, I adored them. They gave me so much more than I could ever give them. How do you repay anyone, especially a cat, for giving you hope and purpose and reason when you need it most? Even on the worst of my worst days, my mood responded to their contact.

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I got very excited at the prospect of moving the boys to Victoria with me. They were such an important part of my life, and I had a chance to finally share that directly with my family! I was proud of them, incredibly so. I couldn’t wait for my family to meet these two furry heroes who made bad days tolerable and good days amazing.

It was a pretty silly thing to get excited over, I guess. But the boys were a part of my world that I was glad I could take with me.

I wish things had worked out better. If I’d been able to find work, or a place to live, or anything in time–perhaps they would have been able to see what I did.

Instead, I found the boys a loving home where Bond now wanders freely around a farm–and Percy (the sook!) prefers to stay inside and away from anything remotely scary. It’s the best solution that was available, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

It still hurts. I lived for a while in a shared house, alongside two cats–and that helped a little. Especially when Lily came into my room to kill spiders for me, and Doc would have long conversations about why I hadn’t fed him yet. Even though I wasn’t the one who fed him.

Now, I live in a house on my own and the hurt is amplified so much more.

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Is it stupid? Is it as childish as it feels to still feel the hurt this fresh after almost two years?

I know they’re happy. That should be enough, right?

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