Bit of a sad post today as on Friday I found out my lovely old cat, Eliot had been put to sleep. I knew the end was coming, he was 18 and had hyperthyroidism but unfortunately his passing wasn't what I'd wished for.
He went out on Sunday afternoon and when he hadn't returned after a few hours I wasn't too concerned as he regularly visited a house over the road. However, when Connie went over there to collect him they said they hadn't seen him all day. We put a poster up, put notes through doors and phoned the vets but other than a call from a lady who'd seen him walking down the road on Sunday we heard nothing.
Then yesterday I had a call from a lady saying she'd found him at her work and then taken him to a shelter. She'd clearly fallen for him and remarked on what a lovely friendly cat he was. She told me she was intending to rescue him had his owners not turned up.
So I waited excitedly for the rescue shelter to ring me but my hopes were shattered when they said he'd become very ill and deteriorated so badly that on Tuesday the decision was taken to put him to sleep.
I rescued him when he was a tiny kitten. I used to be a veterinary nurse and he was brought into the practice one weekend as a stray and had a dreadful case of cat flu. We weren't sure if he'd survive, his mouth was ulcerated, he was a snotty mess and one eye had a painful corneal ulcer. He was also the friendliest little scrap and I fell for him immediately. Eventually the practice needed his cage and as he was infectious none of the shelters would take him. I agreed to take him home on trial as we had a Doberman who wasn't good with cats. Luckily he must have taken one look at him and decided he was too pathetic to bother with, so he ended up staying. I named him Eliot after T.S. Eliot.
I slowly nursed him back to health and other than a scar on his eye and being unable to miow properly, he enjoyed many years of good health. It was only in his last year that he began to show signs of suffering from hyperthyroidism.
He was the most gentle cat you could ever wish for with children. When I was pregnant he would curl up under my top and fall asleep on my bump. He never bit or scratched them, even when they were clumsy toddlers. I was always his favourite person though, he spent most evenings of his life curled up either on me or near me.
I was concerned as to how the girls would react to his death. Not Lorna so much, she's 14 and very pragmatic. Connie though is a sensitive soul at 11 and at 5 Maggie only has vague memories of the guinea pigs dying.
So far they seem to be fine although I wonder how they'll be when his body is returned to us next week. In that wonderfully accepting way that small people have Maggie declared "I am sad that Eliot's dead but happy we've got something to bury. We've not buried anything for ages! Always an up side eh?!
I'll miss him desperately, he came to live with me before I was married and just 22. Now I'm 40, have been married for almost 18 years and have three children. He's been a constant part of most of my adult life. I am grateful though to have been so lucky to have had him for so long and I think he enjoyed his 18 years with us.