This is really Friday's post but in truth one I would not have expected to write for several years. Sitting in the lounge at Zurich airport on Thursday evening I got a call from Mike who feeds our cats while we are away. He had arrived to find Oscar collapsed and ran him straight round to the vets. Ten minute later the vet returned my call to break the news that Oscar had a blocked urinary tract. The back pressure messes up the kidneys and the whole body electrolytes, he was very unwell. They gave him an anaesthetic in order to catheterise him but too late. A couple of minutes later and he was dead; no easy way to say it. I shall miss him dreadfully.
All night I was in shock. It was not until I broke the news to Mary early Friday morning that I broke down. He was my favorite of all the cats we have had. By a long way. He was the world's friendliest cat with a large fan club. Everyone who met him fell in love with him; who could not? We always said if he went missing we would have a huge list of suspects.
We changed our plans and went home Friday night. We had been planning a full weekend in London to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. Instead we had a quiet evening at home, then went to collect Oscar on Saturday morning using the same wooden Louis Latour box that we had used for his chum Oliver. We buried him at the top of the garden next to Oliver wrapped in an Egyptian cotton shawl that Mary bought on our honeymoon, along with a catnip Christmas sock that had been well slobbered on. I may not believe in an afterlife but it seemed the right thing to do.
Why was he such a lovable cat? Well all cats are characters but Oscar was a prince amongst cats and I loved him to bits. He brought both of us so much joy. When I was with him I would laugh a dozen times a day. His traits included:
• He loved crisps. He would tap you on the arm with a paw if you were eating some, but only full-fat crisps.
• Ditto chocolate.
• When you took your shoes off he would go and lie on them, usually with a paw down one.
• Boxes would be jumped into within seconds (but that he shared with most cats).
• Walking down the garden he would overtake you, stop and fall over to have his tummy tickled. If you kept walking he would do it all over again.
• He changed the way I dry myself getting out of the shower. I used to start at the top and work down but Oscar would wrap himself round my still wet legs and I would end up with damp fur round the ankles. Now I do my shins and calves first.
• He loved to be cradled like a babe in arms. This is not just me picking him up that way, the nurses at the vet's discovered this independently when he was last in overnight.
And that is how I last held him when I said farewell. It still hardly seems real.
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