Soon To Be Gone, But Never Forgotten


I write this now sitting on my bed with my cat, Lillybet Rose (Lilly) sleeping in the corner of the room. This is unusual because for the last two years that she has lived here, she has never once slept there (to my knowledge). I don't know why I am writing this, maybe it has something to do with closure, or perhaps I haven't quite grasped what is happening.

I have known Lilly since she was a kitten. I used to live in Burgess Hill (West Sussex, UK) and she was bought to my families home 12 years ago with her sister Marget (Shortened to Margo). They are both British Blue Shorthairs. I was 14 and I had never had a pet before, except for a gold fish that lived way past its life expectancy. The thing about fish is that you can't really grow close them. If it jumped out of its tank and somehow landed on your lap whilst watching the news, you'd probably freak out. I had always wanted a cat but my parents said it probably would never happen as they could affect my asthma. But one night, driving home after a night out at a nice restaurant, my parents broke the news to me that they had decided that they wanted to get a cat. I was so excited.

When my Mum came home with Lilly and Margo, they lived together in the conservatory at night and were let out in the morning to run around like the mad kittens they were. My mum once told me that Lilly was sitting next to her on the sofa when Margo jumped up and started to "pester" Lilly. Lilly just put her front paw up, put it around Margo and started to cuddle her on the sofa.

As the years passed I grew up, Margo and Lilly started fighting (as girls do) and in the end, it was decided that Margo had to go to a good home, not just a good home, but one where she could rule the roost which unfortunately meant she would be the only cat. I was upset when she left but I hadn't grown up so much. I was only 16 and had a lot of other things on my mind at the time.

At this point 6 years had passed and we had moved to East Sussex. Lilly turned into a pedigree breeding cat and my Mum and Step Dad would sell the kittens on. It's not something I agree with, but there was very little I could do about stopping it. I moved out of home at 18 into my own flat share, the thought never entered my mind about getting a pet, probably because I couldn't afford one.

2 years later I had been with my girlfriend Katie (now wife) for about 8 months. We were living together in the flat share and decided to move out. An opportunity had arisen where by we got our own accommodation for very little price in West Sussex. After we had moved in, my mum suggested that we look after Lilly. I had no problem with this as Katie had grown up with many animals and knew very well how to look after them.

When we got Lilly, a very different relationship was formed between me and her. She was no longer the playful kitten, she was 8 years old after all and all she wanted was to be stroked every now and then, and to sleep at the end of my bed (I never realised that cats really did do that, I thought it was just something made up in cartoons). She never like being lifted up, but would happily sit on your lap if it would suit her. Stubborn in a loveable way.

That was 4 years ago. 4 years ago I was reunited with my first pet cat and I didn't know it at the time, but I began to fall in love with her. A sacred bond that I never knew existed or knew could exist was being forged right under my nose and even if I did know, there was nothing I could've done to stop it.

2 years ago, I moved back to East Sussex with Katie and we got married 9 months later (she wasn't pregnant or anything like that, it just so happens that is when we got married). We had grown very attached to Lilly, so much that when Lilly jumped on the bed, Katie would call it "Family cuddle time". She had gotten used to us and would happily come and jump on us when we were watching TV for a cuddle and a stroke.

One of the great things I love about Lilly is being welcomed home by her. I would reverse onto the drive in the car and she would jump up onto the window ledge in our conservatory and start "Meowing" at us through the glass. Me and Katie would always wave back and smile at her as we get out the car. We would walk over to the front door and she is sitting on the other side looking up at us from her window ledge perch, still "Meowing". I would put the key in the lock, turn and open the door to see this little fury face look around and look up at me. I would say "Hi Lilly", give her a little stroke on the head and a scratch under her chin and she would get down and walk to the back of the conservatory waiting for me to come and open the doors so she could go into the rest of the flat. Always looking up at me and watching, she would always go in first once the door was opened. Sometimes she would go and sit on the sofa, sometimes the large bean bag, sometimes straight to the bedroom to lie down and sometimes, she would just walk into the lounge ahead of us, flomp right in the middle and start purring away.

The following may cause discomfort.

2 days ago when I woke up, I went to the conservatory to let Lilly in and she came straight to the bedroom, jumped on the bed and went straight to sleep. This is a little unusual, but not so unusual that it would immediately cause alarm. I made a joke that she sleeps all night and then needs to rest all day to relax from all the sleeping she's been doing at night. We left her to guard the house, went to work and thought nothing of it.

Me and Katie came home from work and looked back at the conservatory window once the car was parked. Strange, she was not sitting in her usual place. We got out, went into the flat and went to find Lilly. She had not touched her food or water all day and she was still in our bedroom sleeping. At the time we thought nothing of it as sometimes she doesn't eat that much and she has always been a little underweight. Not that we don't feed her enough, she just doesn't always finish what we put in her bowl. A little concerned, I got her treats out and she started sniffing. Nope, not touching those either. I put the treats in her bowl and left her to herself.

A little later I decided to check up on her. Katie was worried so I looked up online with regards to cats not eating or drinking. I was alarmed to read that the responses to many peoples concerns was to call the vet immediately. I was growing increasingly concerned and we decided to call the vet. It was 8:30 pm and the vet very kindly agreed to see us.

We took her to the vet and he confirmed the situation to us, she had a heart murmur which was causing kidney failure (or something like that). Toxins are building up in her body and there is not a lot that can be done about it. The vet treated her for Kidney disease, took a blood sample and said that we would have the test results in the morning. He was right, the phone call came in, her kidney's were failing and there was very little that could be done about it. The options were either to flush out her system which I understood is a procedure that may have to be done once a week or every month or so (not really a great life for a much loved pet) or we could let her pass on.

So now she lies in the corner of my bedroom, sleeping in the one place that she has never slept in. Please understand that I could never ask someone to take her life. My understanding is that she is not suffering and it is very unlikely that she will last the night. I have cried many times thinking about Lilly these last few days. I will surely miss you, the purr, jumping on the bed for family cuddles. But what I will miss most of all, is greeting you when I come home. It is one of the things I look forward to the most and I hope that you will find happiness in the next life.
Bungleshark Bungleshark
22-25, M
1 Response Dec 15, 2012

Lilly passed away this morning at about 8am. I miss her already but will never forget the great times we shared together.