The Lord of His RealmLong before I had my present cats, there had been one special cat in my life. Even though I love the cats I have now, compared to Lord Garfield, they aren't the same.
He was part Siamese, with beautiful tabby markings and green-blue eyes. He was a chatty cat. And a fierce one too. He had a large territory and fought often to defend it. I have lost count the number of times I would have to take him to the vet to have an abscess drained. The vet told me he must be a boxer. When I asked him what he meant, he said it was because they were always head wounds. He asked if I had had him desexed, I said he had been at 5 months old, the minimum age to do it. He smiled and said some cats were just born fighters. We kept him in at night and let him roam through out the day. He chose me to be 'his' human and love me to the exclusion of everyone else in the house. He would wait on the front porch for me to come home from school, a habit he kept up all through until I finished uni. He had my schedule down pat. No matter how often it changed, especially at uni, it would only take him a week to work it out. And when he would see me coming up the street he would rush out to greet me meowing away, almost as if he was telling me about his day. Every morning after he ate, he would come into my room and climb under the covers with me. He would stay for a while a warm, loving, purring mass of cat, before he went out to do his morning patrol. And he would stay with me at night stationing himself where ever I was, from the living room until I went to bed and then he would snuggle down under the covers with me when I went to bed. He loved lying with his head on my arm, one ear pressed against my chest. I think he liked to hear my heartbeat. During summer he would station himself, usually on my pillow, near my head. He was loyal, and loving and fiercely protective of me he growled and hissed if he thought I was being harmed. He died in 2003, he had a massive stroke, I found him in the backyard, he looked as if he had died in mid step. I held his cold body and some part of me kept thinking if I could make him warm, he'd be ok. I dug his grave under the grapevine that he loved to sleep under, I dug until my hands bled. I laid him in his grave, then I took his collar for that would be for me to take with me, and then I took off my signet ring and l placed it upon his leg for that was his to take. I covered him with vine leaves and filled in his grave.
Dante and Regis were already part of the household by that stage, and for a while time I resented their presence. They were not like my Lord Garfield, they were intruders. I could not even look at them, let alone pet them. Lord Garfield had been with me for 17 years, since I was 11. Even now I feel the tears come when I think of him.
I did eventually get over my resentful thoughts about Dante and Regis and I love them both. But, Lord Garfield, there will never be another cat like him, never. I still miss him, he was the only thing in my life that had loved me unconditionally.