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A cat story

January 7, 2012

A catless house feels empty and wrong. I don’t think I am ever going to feel 100 per cent settled here, the reason being that we have decided not to adopt another cat until we are living somewhere long-term.

We rehomed our two cats, Rusty and Magpie, before we moved to Ireland in 2009. It was a hard decision to make, but it felt right at the time; we were so worried about all the complicated factors involved in moving overseas, and deciding not to take the cats lessened the stress considerably.

About a month after our arrival in Ireland, I started to pine for a cat, and it eventually got to the point where I felt like I needed a cat to feel normal again. My husband wasn’t sold on the idea at all initially, but after awhile he relented.

I had convinced myself that the cat we would adopt in Ireland would be a long-term cat who we’d shlep around to wherever we’d move next.

The first cat whom came into our home in Ireland was Nacho. We had gotten in touch with a woman who fostered strays, and she said she thought Nacho would be a good fit for a family with a small child. I don’t have any photos of Nacho, because he was only in our flat for one night, but let me describe him: he was cream-coloured, unneutered and completely feral. He sprayed our flat, tried to attack both Ryan and I and ended up getting himself stuck in the network of nooks and crannies behind our kitchen cupboards. Ryan ended up extracting Nacho while wearing oven mitts. We cordoned him off in the bathroom and kept him there until we could reach the woman to come and fetch him.

When she came to get Nacho, she brought a beautiful, healthy ginger cat with her. He ended up staying. We named him Bright. Bright had been abandoned by his previous family and was wonderful in every way. Well, almost every way – there was an issue with him vomiting clumps of live, wriggling worms onto the kitchen floor, but that was remedied. The other issue, we’d discover, was that he was unneutered – though we had been assured he was fixed.

We bonded with Bright immediately. He slept in our bed, stretched out between us. He was patient, gentle yet firm with Ivan and brought a peaceful presence to the flat. He wore a collar with a bell and when Ryan and Ivan would go for their little evening constitutionals, Bright would follow at a distance, his little bell jingling.

About a month after we got him, he was out quite late one night and I was getting worried, so Ryan went out to look for him. He found Bright dead on the road right by our flat. He carried him home and we wrapped his body in a blanket, and brought him to the vet to be cremated the next day. Apparently, Bright’s nuts had been intact and that had made him wander, looking to make some kittens, and he happened to live near one of the busiest roads in Maynooth.

Losing Bright was wretched. We didn’t have him for very long, but we’d formed a very strong bond with him. He was a good friend.

We decided to get yet another cat. We found another cat-fostering woman online, and soon we had a new friend in the house – a kitten we named Thor. He was cuddling us within five minutes of his arrival. He let me give him a bath, and he, Ryan and I watched District 9 together.

Thor proved to be a damn fine cat. I’ve known him for over two years, and he’s never once raised a paw in anger. There was the issue with the fleas, but that wasn’t his fault. He’s been gentle with Ivan and always keen for cuddles and even tolerates being picked up and carried around. He was very excitable, bordering on neurotic, once he hit adolescence, but once we started letting him outside that stopped completely.

So here’s the lousy part; a few months ago we came to the decision that once again, the expense and stress of transporting a cat overseas was too much, so we’d need to find a new home for Thor before we moved. I think this was the right thing to do, but I miss him so much, and I keep on thinking I can see him or hear him in our new catless flat.

Friends adopted Thor, so we know where he is and we can get photos and updates. It’s strange to think that he’s out there still and we are all the way across the ocean.

I have had many cats in my life, but I haven’t bonded with any of them to the extent of my attachment to Bright and Thor. I am sure that it was the uprooted, isolated feeling I got from moving so far away from family and friends that caused that to happen, so thus, I am feeling the cat need again now that I am in another brand-new, unfamiliar place.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Simon Rasmussen permalink
    January 7, 2012 5:50 am

    I can’t think of a better home for a cat than yours. Sorry you’re feline-less right now.

  2. January 10, 2012 2:56 am

    What a story – I’m so sorry for all your losses. I totally know what you mean by the wrongness of a catless house, and hope you can adopt a new quadruped friend soon.

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