Friday, February 25, 2011

The saddest gotchaversary of all...

Today marks nine years since Pablo came to live with me.

On a warm evening in February 2002, I drove around to my friend Heidi's house with a brand new cat carrier in the back seat and a joyous smile on my face. I was picking up Heidi's two-year-old cat, Pablo, who was coming to live with me. For good.

Heidi was soon to move into a new house where cats were not allowed, so she needed to find somewhere for Pablo to live.

I'd known Pablo since he was a kitten; he had a reputation for being wild and untamed, and I'd had many a bite and a scratch from him over the years in my attempts to convince him that I was a friend. Still, I'm not sure that my housemate Rachel and I knew what we were in for when we decided to take joint ownership of Pabs.

Pablo was sunning himself in a chair on the front porch when I arrived at Heidi's. He was most put out when I picked him up and wrestled him into the carrier. He yowled and yowled during the short trip from West Hobart to our sharehouse in Sandy Bay. He peed in the carrier too.

As soon as I let him out of the carrier when he arrived in his new home, Pablo nervously scuttled to the safest place he could find - under the couch in our living room. He stayed there for a number of days, only coming out to nibble on a bit of food and pee in a corner of the dining room. Pablo hadn't exactly taken to being toilet trained in his kittenhood.

I sat patiently next to the couch for those few days, trying to win Pablo's trust and goodwill. Every now and then I slipped my hand under the couch to give Pabs a little pat on the head. It took the best part of a month to convince him that I was on his side (and to toilet train him). But he slowly became more comfortable in our house, and with our housemates. And I knew that I'd won him over one night when we chased each other up and down the hallway. When I moved out of the sharehouse to get married a few months later, it was a given that Pablo was coming with me.

One of my friends who knew Pablo in his kittenhood described him as Byronesque. He may have been mad, bad and dangerous to know, but somewhere inside of Pabs was a shy and nervous kitty who wanted to be loved on his terms. It was my great honour to have been that person for nine years.

Missing you today, my dear friend.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A week without Pabs

Pablo's chair...

... and a detail of the beautifully embroidered tea towel
on the chair, made by
our friend Debbie who stayed
with us a few years ago.

Hi everyone,

Well, it's been a week (and a day) since we said goodbye to Pablo.

Life without Pabs has been even harder than I thought it would be.

Everything, everywhere around the house reminds me of him. He had his own 'spots' in pretty much every room (like his chair in the living room, pictured above with all his pillows and blankets gone), and many favourite hangouts in the garden. His absence is painfully palpable. Many tears have been shed.

But I've been so touched by all of the lovely comments that our friends have left on Pablog, and the tributes somecats posted on their own blogs. It's a comfort to me to know that Pabs is being mourned and celebrated all over the world. Thank you all so much... I'll get to each of your blogs to thank you personally. I've helped Pabs write many words of condolence on others' blogs when someone has gone to the bridge... I didn't realise quite how much it meant.

Often when I've thought of Pablo this week, I've thought about the song 'Strangers' by The Kinks. It's a beautiful song. Here are some words from it: we will share this road we walk
And mind our mouths and beware our talk

’til peace we find tell you what I’ll do

All the things I own I will share with you

If I feel tomorrow like I feel today

We’ll take what we want and give the rest away

Strangers on this road we are on

We are not two we are one.

I'm going to wind this blog up in a few weeks, but I've got a few more posts planned before then. Stay tuned!


Sunday, February 06, 2011

All things must pass

Pablo sunning himself in the garden yesterday. He seemed so sad.

Dear friends,

It's with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that we said goodbye to dear Pablo this morning.

His kidney disease advanced quite rapidly in the past few weeks, to the point where he was eating very little, even when on appetite stimulants. His mouth had become ulcerated and the vet said she thought that he probably had ulcers down his digestive tract and in his stomach too.

I wanted to give him the weekend to improve, but it became obvious to Nick and I last night that Pabs was in real trouble. We found him huddled in a corner in the garden and carried him inside to a special bed in our room, where he lay all night, not really sleeping, but not making a fuss.

This morning, I made an appointment with the vet and took Pabs in. He didn't sing his normal 'I don't want to go to the vet' songs; he just sat very quietly in his carrier. The vet was in no doubt that there was nothing more that could be done for him. He was down to 3.9kg (from an unhealthily heavy 6.6 kilos just four months ago), he was dehydrated and his mouth ulcers had gotten far worse, despite being on medication for them for a week. He looked so sad and small.

The vet gave me a bit of time alone with Pabs before she gave him the needle. We were all in tears as he very quickly fell asleep with his dear little head cradled in my arms.

I am utterly heartbroken, yet at the same time quite relieved. It's been a difficult few months for Pablo, with his urinary blockages and then his kidney disease. He'd been through an awful lot, and wasn't his usual gruff, manly self. But what on earth will we do without him?

Rest in peace, my dear, sweet friend. You were a mighty, mighty cat.


Saturday, February 05, 2011

La Bella

My last post was about the oldest girl on the block, my 23-year-old friend Miss Lucy.

This post is about the newest girl on the block, the lovely Bella, pictured above.

Bella has just moved to West Hobart to live with our friends Em and Gwyd. Em and Gwyd have wanted their very own kitty for ages, but their landlord kept saying no. Happily, the landlord changed his mind a little while ago, and Em and Gwyd raced straight to the Hobart Cat Centre and chose Bella, the beautiful mountain lioness.

The aptly-named Bella is around a year old, and has already been a momma to her own litter of kittens as well as fostering some others.

And now she's found herself the best forever home she could possibly have hoped for.

Bella, as President of the West Hobart Tigers, I welcome you to the 'hood.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

(Twenty) Three times a lady

What were you doing back in 1988?

If you're a non-human animal like me, chances are you weren't even born. I was still 12 years away from making my appearance in the world.

But this week my good friend Miss Lucy, the Grand Matriarch of West Hobart, celebrated her twenty-third birthday! Her mum, Sue, held a lovely afternoon tea in Lucy's honour, which Kate and little Alex attended. Here are some photos of Lucy from that day:

She's in pretty great shape, for an *ahem* older lady. Like me, she's on a special kidney diet. She's also on blood pressure tablets, and is stone deaf, but she's still got a great quality of life, and is very well loved.

Lucy started her life as a rescue kitty. I'm sad to tell you that her kitten siblings were flushed down the toilet because homes were not found for them. Thank goodness that Lucy found the perfect forever home!

Happy birthday, grand old girl! And many, many more.