Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Not Just A Cat

Last week our darling Fiz (click to open) died. 

It was so unexpected, such a shock. We had no reason to think she was poorly; only two weeks ago she had had her annual health check and booster jabs at the vet - all was fine, she was fine. 

Tuesday evening she curled up on my left leg while I had the baby on my right. I took a 'selfie' of her with no idea it would be her last photograph. After everyone was in bed, including me, Jon had a big play-fight with her and was left with the battle-scars to prove it. Something that hadn't happened for a long time in the post new-baby days. Her last play. 

Although Jon didn't find her until Wednesday early evening, we think she must have died sometime during the early hours, the nighttime, of Wednesday morning. After her last cuddle, last photograph, last play. 

That night Jon had slept downstairs because Lucas was under the weather and very likely to end up sleeping in bed with me. I wonder at what point she stopped sleeping on his legs in the night and went into her hammock.  At least she wasn't quite alone at the end, even if we didn't know it. I hope she didn't know it - she looked like she had so peacefully passed in her sleep. 

I still feel terrible that we didn't notice Wednesday morning, her there sleeping in her hammock under her scratch post. Her scratch post, under the stairs partially behind the armchair; in sight but out of sight, her quiet spot. 

Wednesday mornings are manic; sorting out Xander to go off with my Mum to school complete with his homework bag, school bag, swim bag. Sorting Zac to go off to nursery with all the spares he could possibly need incase he has a bad potty day. Feeding and dressing a little Luc and chucking food and water down for Fiz. Its a stress getting out of the door early enough to get Zac to a nursery breakfast. We whizz around. In all the commotion I couldn't remember seeing Fiz that morning, but that is no different from any Wednesday morning in my rush. Jon said he saw her on her hammock in the morning, but just assumed she was still snoozing. Why would he have any reason to think differently? Lie-ins weren't out of the ordinary for Fiz! 

When she was tiny!
I was out for most of Wednesday, only popping back for an hour between 10.30-11.30 before meeting Jon for lunch. I didn't notice her in her hammock - and even if I had I would've assumed she was just asleep. I had no reason to look for her - she didn't even cross my mind - it wasn't unusual for her to be hidden away snoozing somewhere through the day. Nothing was out of the ordinary, or so we thought. 

But while I was still at Xander's swimming lesson with the three boys and Mum in tow, Jon returned from work and realised Fiz hadn't moved from her curled up comfortable spot in the hammock. She'd gone. I came home to find Jon incredibly upset - and I just knew he was going to tell me someone had died, but didn't for a minute expect him to say Fiz. I feel so sorry that she led there all day unnoticed - even though I know it would've been traumatic for the children had the discovery been any other way. At least Jon finding her in an otherwise empty house meant we could shelter them. 

Her 9th and last birthday.
Only nine and half years old, young for a house-cat, it did not occur to us to consider she may die yet. I honestly expected for her to be with us for at least another six plus years.We phoned the vets and took her there to arrange her cremation. Cried many tears and said our goodbyes. 

Once upon a time I wouldn't have understood why someone was so upset about their animal. I'd never had a pet before Fiz. Of course this hurt doesn't remotely compare to the grief we already carry with us every day, it is but a drop in the ocean; we've been through worse and we'll be ok when our low subsides.  But none-the-less, we're feeling so very sad and cut-up about her loss. These have been teary days. Fiz was one of us, our fur-baby. She deserves our goodbyes. She had been such a comfort to us so often and it didn't feel like it was her time to go. So please indulge me as we adjust to Fiz no longer being with us. 

It is only now in her absence I realise just how much space she actually took up in our hearts and home. She was everywhere. 

The scratch post behind the armchair, where she died. The food bowls with left-overs still in. The food box still in the cupboard under the sink. The cat hair on the curtains, on the carpet, all over the rainbow rug, cat hair we were blind to before. The scratches all over the drawers in our wardrobe where she once got stuck. The wrecked arms and bottoms of the chairs where she had clawed. The frayed carpet on the bottom step. The claw marks on the carpets. 

The space she took up on the bed resting against our legs. The silence of her bell, not realising how that sound filled the day before. The silence of her miaow begging for a tap to be turned on in the bath or her bowls to be filled. The thud from upstairs when she jumped off the bed. The space on the bay window sill where she slept, sunbathed, or ran to greet us when she heard the car on the drive. The silence of her nightly ritual of carrying her favourite 'mousey' around and miaowing after everyone else had gone to bed. Mousey that she had had since a kitten. 

Her no longer trying to invade soft places, padding on legs, our dressing gowns, the baby blankets. No longer arguing with her about coming out from under the boys beds at their bedtime. No longer finding her curled up on the boys chair in the playroom or sunbathing on the rainbow rug. No longer finding her snoozing on the bed. No longer having to shout 'Watch the cat' whenever the front door is open or strategically closing it behind us.  No longer having to worry about how to rearrange the bathroom to fit her litter tray in as Lucas now needed the box bedroom. No longer having to worry about arranging kitty-care when we go away - only hours before we found her I had text my Mum to ask her to feed Fiz the weekend when we go to my Godson's christening. No naughty cat chewing on the Christmas tree and knocking baubles off this year. 

Her first photo - 20th June 2007
Remembering when we went to get her from a farm. 20th June 2007.  Our home became her home. Me, initially unbothered either way if we had a cat/pet or not but so quickly falling in love with that tiny tiny little kitten. Her mother had died so she was hand-reared from birth and had only ever known human contact. Remembering how she loved to be rocked and held just as if she was a human newborn baby. Remembering even now how she liked to be held the very same way. Remembering how we named her - The Tweenies. Remembering when she could fit in the palm of Jon's hand. Remembering her kitten collar was still in with my jewellery and comparing it to the collar we took off her as we left her at the vets to keep.

Remembering that we used to give her a bath and that she even enjoyed playing in the water when she was little, chasing bath toys. Remembering why she was a housecat - although interested in the outdoors, in those kitten days she never ventured far from home  - just up the path and back - and would be outside the front door crying as soon as it was shut - we decided to keep her in and out of the outdoor world harms way. 

Remembering the time we got locked out with her in our arms, the car journey to my Dad's work with her loose on my lap (as a passenger) to recover some keys to get back in. Remembering the day of her great escape on to my parents roof when we lived there. Remembering she was a cat that had her birthday celebrated with presents, Christmas too. 

The Great Escape

Realising the bizzare conicidence that she also died on the 16th, to go off for cremation on the 21st and her ashes returned to us on the 28th; numbers that were already so ingrained in us with Belle. Realising they also fall on Wednesday's and Monday's albeit a different month and a different year. Realising in the messed up world we had more time, more photos, more memories with our cat than our daughter. Realising how well she adjusted to two house-moves and children - undoubtedly less showered of attention with each boy arrival but loved by us all in buckets. Realising from the 851 photographs we had taken of her just how much Xander especially adored her.

With Xander

With Zac

With Luc

Over the next few weeks we'll arrange our final special goodbye and sprinkle her ashes with Belle in her garden. Finally having her successful great escape into the outdoors. 

Her last photo - 15th November 2016

Not just a cat. 

One of us. 

We miss you already.

30th April 2007 - 16th November 2016 


Lulu said...

I'm so sorry. I know you will feel her loss very keenly. What a beautiful tribute to Fiz. xx

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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