Less than a week after our traumatic choking experience, another set back was waiting just around the corner. This week one of our pet cats had to be rushed to the
emergency out of hours vet and it didn’t end well.
He was a cute fluffy little thing and I fell in love with him when I saw the kittens advert in the local paper. My husband grew up with cats so he was just as keen as I was to add another to the growing brood of four legged friends. We excitedly drove to the farm in Methlick to collect our boy, he was the only one left out the litter so he was ours. After getting him into his new cat box and into the car, we headed back home to introduce him to the rest of the family. He meowed the entire way home and my husband and I looked at each other, that look where we both know what the other one is thinking and we said “oh no”, both at the same time. He had real character and if he wanted something he was going to let you know about it. We named him Alfie.
Weeks earlier I’d rescued a cat just like Alfie and put posters up in the local area and vet practices trying to reunite him with his owner. It was a tearful reunion and I really felt for that woman, she was beside herself with worry the two weeks her cat was gone. To her, it was like I’d found a lost child. We already had one year old cocker spaniel Poppy, a very placid dog and older than her time. Millie, was our first cat and had been a rescued after being found dumped with the rest of her litter and was naturally weary of people. Living near the countryside Millie had a rare old time catching mice and birds and would be out all day and then come home at night.
When Alfie was still a kitten the vet said he could hear a slight heart murmur and that if he doesn’t get too excitable, it may never bother him. We decided to get him neutered for that reason and the male nurse admitting him that morning to hospital was sympathetic with Alfie in a man to man sort of way, knowing he was away to get his balls off! Alfie was very friendly, unlike Mille but he didn’t cope so well when Daisy was born and started staying out more often. With a new baby on the way I was afraid of the cats being in the house during the night and we already had an outdoor cat house that we made. It’s one of those garden furniture storage containers, so they were perfectly safe to be in the house at night at it’s been like that almost four years now. After Daisy was born Alfie went a bit feral, we would see him in the garden but he didn’t want to come inside, not even in winter. I would put food out for him in his box and it was getting eaten, so he was happy enough. Millie and Alfie were like pack animals at times. They would hunt for birds together, one day we watched them take it in turns to creep up on a bird, closer and closer before I would bang the window, telling them to behave and leave the birds alone. Once I was left the most beautiful bird present from the cats. I was heart broken for this little blue tit as it looked so peaceful lying on the doorstep, but cats are cats and that’s what they do.
When I split with Daisy’s dad, Alfie stayed behind in the garden and I thought he would continue to stay there until I received a call one day saying some ladies found him and handed him into a vet. Being microchipped, they quickly located me and I took him home to my new house that day and never told my husband. I guess I wanted to see how long it would take him to notice he was gone. I kept Alfie indoors for almost two weeks and I let him out for a few hours at a time until he got used to his new surroundings. He quickly took back his authority over Millie and she was back to eating second. He was a stereotypical man Alfie, served first and then put his feet up. Deep down he was soft in the middle.
We only had him back five months when we came home to find he was lying out in the garden in the rain, it’s unlike a cat to wilfully get wet and my mum knew there was something wrong. I took him inside and dried him off with a towel but he just lay there, lifeless on the kitchen floor and he was breathing quite fast. I offered some food, but he left it and went upstairs under my bed to lie down. I called the vet but no one answered and I thought they must be closed. Mum called me upstairs and said there’s just something not right with him so I took to Facebook for advise and someone said there must be an out of hours service so I called again. This time it clicked onto the emergency vets mobile and I explained the situation and that his breathing was laboured. She said to take him straight in. I got my shoes on and mum picked him up and put him into the pet carrier, as he was put in there he started meowing loudly, he has done this on occasion when he’s not pleased about something but this time it was different. It was like the sound a Siamese cat makes, more like a baby crying. It took me about five to seven minutes to get to the vet and by this time that cries were really loud. I got into the vet and as soon as she heard him she moved FAST, he was placed on the examination table, the vet took one look, grabbed him really fast and ran though to the operating theatre. I heard lots of shuffling feet and I knew then he was in grave danger. After a few minutes the vet came back and asked if he had any health conditions, I mentioned about the heart murmur that was picked up when he was a kitten. The vet thought it sounded connected to that, she said he probably had heart disease and he had a heart attack. His pulse was low, his blood count was low, he had blood in his chest cavity, his heartbeat was irregular and it wasn’t looking good. She suggested two things, that he was given drugs and monitored over the next few hours to see if he improves or take the decision to put him to sleep, she said it might come to that and I was upset that it happened so sudden. I gave him a chance to see if he would pull thought but at 1:35am the vet called and said his little heart was struggling and the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep. She asked if I wanted to be there but after the traumatic week with Daisy and the choking I just couldn’t.
I didn’t cry, I thought I took the news quite well. It wasn’t until I uploaded his picture onto the blog and he looked back at me, I lost it. Daisy asked where he was today and we had the talk about him not being well and that he’s now up in the sky playing. She said, “that sounds nice” and I was a little upset. She said “what’s wrong Mummy” and I replied “I’m sad about Alfie, but it’s ok to be sad sometimes”.
In Loving Memory of
1 May 2006 - 9 September 2013