Regular readers may have noticed the lack of a link tank yesterday too. This was due to our being preoccupied with a pretty nasty Saturday.
RIP our beautiful cat who went to sleep today after 16 wonderful years. We miss him terribly already.
— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) July 12, 2014
As you can imagine, this had a lot to do with why tumbleweed was billowing around this place in the days that preceded it.
We only had our first idea that something was amiss on Monday - the second day that the old fella had left his food untouched but was sucking up water like a sponge. It's not like him at all so I prepared myself for the usual fierce battle to get him into the cat carrier and down the vet's Tuesday morning, only to watch him walk in without a fuss the moment I opened the front grille!
On hearing that he wasn't eating, the vet's brow furrowed and she suggested he be kept in overnight for blood tests. The next day I received a series of phone calls checking agreement for further tests, an ultrasound, and x-rays - complete with an ever-mounting bill - which eventually led on Wednesday evening to a crushing diagnosis.
Fears that it might be something wrong with kidneys, liver or perhaps pancreas were well-founded as it turned out his insides were all screwed. His 16+ years had caught up with him in an all-too-sudden way.
We were given steroids and antibiotics to try to alleviate the symptoms but he was having none of it, refusing to eat even his version of crack cocaine - chicken sticks and marmite - in which we could hide the tablets. At a further visit on Thursday, we were told that it "wouldn't be a wrong decision" to put him down there and then, but that a vet-administered appetite booster could help to get him eating and taking the medication. We were advised to book another appointment for Saturday morning and left in the hope that something miraculous might happen in the meantime, but knowing that it was more likely to be his last day.
So it was to be, and he fell asleep for the last time in Mrs P's arms at about midday yesterday.
It was an extremely tough day, especially due to the incredibly short lead time and since he was older than the teen kids so they'd never known what life was like without him. We'd first got him in 1998 and he was nearly two when the girl was born; and three by the time the boy arrived. In the early years he had meekly suffered the girl tying ribbons to his tail and trying to ride him like a pony; and kept his claws sheathed while the boy found it highly amusing to yank his tail or chase him around attacking him with plastic swords. Despite all that, he grew up with them and was like a third sibling.
When it all ended, the kids were crushed and tearful, and Mrs P and I were thankful for our two great friends Nick O'Teen and Al K Hall as we sat in the July sunshine and felt totally flattened.
What surprised us though, was the reaction of our neighbours. We've had a steady procession visiting here to tell us how sad they were to hear of the news, along with stories such as how they'd leave a door open to empty their bins only to return and find him happily preening himself on their sofa, or how he would position himself outside their front garden to solicit strokes from visitors and passers-by alike. All of which came as a complete surprise. The general consensus was that he had installed himself as the 'owner' of the street, and that he wasn't just ours, but also partly the pet of those living near us. When we Puddlecotes were all - with very heavy hearts - getting in the car to have him put to sleep, two families came out at the allotted time to say their own goodbyes!
It's been deeply sad, but we've also experienced a great amount of pride. We've lived in rented flats and houses while the business was built up, and now in a distinctly urban mortgaged semi, and he's always lived on fast-moving main roads with cars, buses and trucks flying by, yet he was streetwise enough to live a long life of unfettered freedom before an end surrounded by those who really loved him. If I'd been offered that when he was small enough to sit on my hand in 1998, I'd have taken it in an instant.
I suppose this is a roundabout way of explaining why it's been quiet around here recently, and why it will likely be similar for the next week at least. It's only a short hiatus though, sooner or later I'll be able to actually write something on the many notes I leave myself in Blogger's drafts.
I'm beginning to think that, as the obvious tobacco/alcohol/e-cig/junk food/fizzy drink/salt/sugar/gambling industry shill that I am regularly being accused of, I'm not really worth the non-existent cheques I'm being sent, am I? For shame.