It was with great sadness that we lost our little kitten Fred last week after he fell terribly ill and suddenly passed away.
We only had the little soul living with us for a matter of weeks but he had already grown into our hearts and become part of the furniture. I say that both metaphorically and literally as I could hear him clawing away at our new sofas in the middle of the night!
He was looking a bit forlorn one morning and went downhill that day so we took him to the vets and unfortunately, he never came back. He had an extremely aggressive form of septicaemia and his little, weak body couldn’t fight it even with the help of anti-biotics.
He was a rescue cat so you are always taking the risk of them having a disease with AIDS and Leukaemia extremely common in these cats but even the vet said he hadn’t seen something as bad as this before.
He was such a little character and the girls loved him to pieces. A bit too much sometimes as little two-year olds don’t always understand that cats would rather be on all four paws rather than ferried around in the air but no matter what happened he always found his way back into their laps for loving cuddles.
He also believed he was a parrot I think. So often I would be tapping away on the laptop and he would climb on my shoulder and just sit there. This was just after he walked across my key board to leave lkjgvajshdviusdhvihsv across the screen. Maybe that was his way of signing my blog off or simply to turn it off as he wanted attention.
Mikaela was besotted beyond belief though. We genuinely believed that this cat had been sent to us. He had the same name as Mikaela’s Dad and we found him a mere 10 months after his passing. Fred, Mikaela’s Dad not the furry animal, was a huge cat lover so it all just fell into place and seemed to be the start of some real happiness in our home, the kind that only a little family pet can bring.
He ate well, drank well and craved love and attention. He and Mikaela were a perfect feline fit.
I have to admit that although I am gutted myself that the cat didn’t make it my pain is elsewhere. Mikaela is truly heartbroken and Issy is beside herself.
Mikaela is someone who naturally thinks that this is her fault and that she could have changed things if she had known how to. The reality is that kittens and especially stray kittens are extremely susceptible to illness due to a poor immune system. We were unlucky.
How many times can one family be unlucky though? Just when you find some happiness it seems that someone or something wants to take it straight off you. Getting Fred was the first family pet that we had ever had so to lose him so soon is a bitter pill to swallow.
Telling Issy was one of the hardest things that Mikaela has had to do. Issy walked out of school with a pom-pom she had especially made that day to make Fred feel better and Mikaela then had to deliver the bad news as soon as they were settled in the car because Issy was asking so many questions about when Fred was coming home.
The sadness in her face when I walked up the stairs later that day will live with me for a very long time. It was very real and in no way exaggerated in the way that a four-year-old may do to play on their parent’s emotions. Real sadness was clear in her eyes.
What is it exactly about animals that they can get into your heart so quickly and create such an emotional attachment?
I think it is the companionship that they create and the fact that your house is never empty when you have a pet. I was working away for a little while and in that time, I know that Fred brought Mikaela so much comfort just by doing his parrot impression every evening. He never called me a pretty boy but his impression was great and I miss it more than I ever thought I would.
I’m 35 now and have been through and experienced way too much grief in my life as it is but Issy is learning some very valuable lessons far too early in her life for my liking.
When her Granny or ‘Gangang’ as she called her passed away last year I explained to her that Gangang was an angel now and we can see her every night as a star. To this day she still screams at the sky at the first twinkling sighting.
The problem is she now reels off a four-star list that includes my Dad, Mikaela’s Dad and now Fred as well. I just don’t think that’s right for a little girl who should, at her age, have not a care in the world but misses so many people and animals. I have no doubt it will make her stronger as a person as she grows up.
Our thoughts now are mainly around whether or not we should get another little kitten? Half of me sticks to the learning that if you fall off the horse you need to get back on and we should actively seek another one but the sensible side of me is erring on the side of caution in a way to protect the family from more potential heartache.
We will one day get more pets and I for one have always wanted a dog but for now we will be sticking some pictures of Fred up next to the girl’s bed tonight and telling some stories of our favourite memories.
We may get another cat someday but he or she won’t be a replacement for little Fred as he was one of a kind.
Sleep well Kitty Kat.