Some people may find this a little daft but for me a tribute to my cat is my way of remembering a truly lovely cat. I am sure all you cat lovers out there will understand my reasoning!
Our cat Nelly was a rescue cat and we got him from the local ROCK shelter (Rescue Of Cats and Kittens) in the year 2000. All the cats were housed in cage like structures (good cage structures with plenty of space before someone calls the authorities!) and then there was Nelly, a special case, lying very comfortably in a bedroom, on a very comfy quilt and absolutely stinking of the worst floral shampoo ever! We went over to Nelly who proceeded to head butt us in the most loving way, we knew then that we had to have him. It turns out Nelly had been abused, he was found abandoned, filthy to the core (hence the very strong shampoo), starving and he had had his whiskers cut off, he was approximately 6 months old. We took him home to meet Nobby (our other cat), after much growling and spiky fur efforts they became companions (well, they tolerated one another!). After Nelly’s first appointment at the vets, it turned out Nelly was actually a boy so Nelly quickly became Nelson, but Nelly for short!
Nelly was a very special cat, not just because he was ours, he was a cat with an attitude, a bad attitude so woe betide anyone (or more specifically any animal) to cross his path!.
Nelly’s habit of attacking dogs that walked past our house is definitely his most prominent legacy. I remember when I was talking to a man up the road and Nelly wandered past, he said to me ‘Watch out…It’s the Killer Cat!’ to which I replied ‘Errr, that’s my cat!’.
Whenever a dog passed our house, Nelly would launch himself, claws spread wide and attack any dog no matter what its size. We could see dogs pulling their owners into the road to avoid a sudden onslaught from the killer cat. This did concern me, however the vet said he was just very territorial and there was nothing we could do….I honestly thought Nelly’s dying day would involve a hard dog versus a hard cat fight and Nelly would lose but alas his notoriety held as the ‘hardest cat on the street’.
The only dog Nelly would tolerate was our dog Barney…when I say tolerate, if Barney even sniffed Nelly’s food a direct swipe to his head would cause him to run away! Even my mum’s dog knew to give Nelly a wide berth…after being swiped on numerous occasions.
I also believe Nelly had an eating disorder….he ate constantly! He was starved as a kitten so food was precious to him…however, he would only eat food if he saw it coming out of the tin! I’ve never known a cat who could stare at you for hours…his stare just said ‘feed me, feeeeeeedd me!!’ I’d often see how long he could stare for (or realistically what will power I had not to feed him) one staring competition lasted 2 hours and guess who won? Nelly of course.
He was also a very good mouser; we often got headless presents and frequently heard him crunching on some poor mouse outside the back door- Yuck.
Nelly had a real swagger too…that was what made him particularly noticeable (apart from a strong resemblance to Sylvester the cartoon cat!) I cannot really describe the way he walked other than it was just like a lion- it was a slow, self- assured swagger. So many people commented they had never seen a cat swagger so much!
Nelly had the most wonderful purr- a low constant purr and his nose would run every time he purred…cute but wet!
Nelly was a well-known cat and despite his nutty tendencies we did love him and we know he wanted to protect us (especially from passing dogs!)
In May this year Nelly became ill, he lost a vast amount of weight in a short space of time and his get up and go had just gone so we took him to the vet. They did some blood tests and discovered that he was unable to absorb protein, hence the weight loss. They advised us that if he wasn’t any better in 3 days (after medication) we should bring him back and consider euthanizing him- this was a decision I really didn’t want to make as although he was poorly he was eating ok and still doing cat things, just much more slowly. After 3 days he perked up so we took him back a week later as advised. This time they could feel possible tumours in his intestines and told us he most likely had cancer. We were so upset but again having to make the decision to end his life was awful, we knew it had to be done but still it was very difficult. We decided to have the weekend with him and then take him to the vets the following week. I am sure Nelly heard me on the phone….or had a sixth sense… I made the phone call to arrange his final journey for the next morning. I then went to the supermarket and got Nelly fresh salmon and chicken as I knew he loved it! He did indeed love it, he was purring throughout his meal and scoffing to his heart’s content! After his meal I gave him a cuddle and a kiss and he went out the back door….and he never came home again. We were so worried; I couldn’t sleep wondering where he was. I knew deep down he had gone to die but I kept thinking, what if he is in pain? I don’t want him to die alone, it was awful. I decided to put posters around the village and through letterboxes asking people to check their gardens, sheds etc. People were unbelievably kind, people checked their homes, gardens, the local park, everywhere, and so many people asked if he had been found. One lady even checked all her wardrobes and under her beds (Nelly was once found sleeping under her bed!). Nelly may have been known as ‘The Killer cat’ but everyone loved him, that was obvious from everyone’s concerns. After a week we accepted he was never coming home and he never did. My children think that he has gone to Valhalla (Viking Heaven) as he truly was a Viking Cat and dealt with his own death in the most natural way for an animal. I am grateful I gave him a good substantial ‘last supper’, that last cuddle and our memories of Nelly will last a lifetime. To some a cat is a cat but to us Nelly was an exceptional cat whose bad attitude and unfathomable eating habits just made him adorable!
Rest in Peace Nelly.