Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Cat of Superior Breeding

This one's tough to write  - but so many of you have shared in the cat charisma of  my lovely Cat of Superior Breeding  - many of you have received prizes as a result of his totally objective and  enthusiastic choosing of winners names for my contests  so I have to share.  Yesterday I lost my beautiful cat Sid.

Fourteen years ago,  we opened our back door and our then black and white cat Spiffy  walked in, followed by a large,spectacularly beautifully marked black tabby  with great big paws and a thick soft furry tail. He lived here, his attitude said - he belonged.

And yes he did. He belonged.
We tried to find previous owners  - but only at the beginning. When we realised that he had air gun pellets in his belly where he had been used for target practice, and that some of his whiskers had been pulled out, we gave up  - no one who did that deserved him. And we were amazed by how trusting and affectionate he was considering what he'd been through. He slept for the first  3 months with his eyes open, twitching in his sleep - and if he went outside and the door shut then the whole neighbourhood  new it. He would stand at the back door - his door - and YELL!  And he would continue to yell until someone turned up to let him in.

I named  him Sid - after Rambling Sid Rumpo in the Round the Horne radio programmed. That dates me but the name fitted - except it didn't stay at just Sid.  Bit were added here there and everywhere until he became Sir Sidney St John Eamonn  Willoughby Portly-Lummox.  Anne McAllister, one of his greatest fans - and a  deep friend, their meeting was a meeting of minds - added  'Bart' - Baronet - Laird of Hellion's Bumpstead and Earl of Blubberhouses (we share a love of some of the more ridiculous names of UK villages. 

Anne also shared Sid  for all the years of our friendship (mine, hers and Sid's) She became his Dear Lady Across The Pond,  her  Gunnar the Great   the d-o-g  that Sid could tolerate at this distance! And she gave Sid his starring roles in her books  The Great Montana Cowboy Auction  and his final appearence in One Night Love-Child.  So  Sir Sidney became, on the pages at least, a American cat too.

She bought him a ten gallon hat - several ten gallon hats in different colours,  perfectly happy to go into a shop and ask for a 'ten gallown hat for a cat'. And she sent him a special food bowl - one that she knew would suit him perfectly.  'Bad to The Bone' it said. And no one - no one else was ever allowed to eat from him.  No one else ever will.

He was a cat of substance - Anne had him right when she described him as A Cat of Superior Breeding. He may have come in off the streets but he made himself into a gracious host in no time, hurrying to meet visitors, to wind himself round their legs and give them his special head butts of welcome. If you picked him up, he woold immediately put his arms round your back and HUG.  He got on well with everyone - all the other cats even Flora the Floozie and  Charlie Rumpusscat were tolerated, taught respect with a well aimed paw.  The one cat who was always his arch rival was Dylan  who was an ex-street-tom like himself and they held themselves apart. each guarding his own territory. When Dylan went missing in March we already knew that Sid had a sore mouth that wasn't healing - sadly, an investigation a month or so later proved that this was mouth cancer  and totally inoperable.  We could manage on painkillers and love  until it was too much. For months that worked - his enthusiasm for food - something that never dimmed  - continued, in fact it increased as he became slightly senile and forgot that he'd just been fed  - or claimed he had.

Yesterday we knew it was too much.  That cancer was making his life unliveable. He couldn't eat, had lost too much weight  he was bleeding. The growth had spead into his head, his eye. It was time to let him leave peacefully.  My thanks go to the vets who help us help these beautiful creatures and make sure they slip away so gently, so softly that you can have  no doubt you've made the right decision - for them.

 I don't know how old Sid was when he first chose to walk into my life and my heart - 18 months? 2 years?  I just know I have an empty 14 year old space in my life. I don't have any regrets  though - for  Sid.

Flora  has been suprisingly cuddly - she's not a deeply affectionate cat - Charlie is clearly worried by the space in his life too. Over the past months he has spent long hours  lying in the hallway, just a few feet away from Sid,  just   chilling. It seems as if he was absorbing  the wisdom of the Great Cat - and communicating without words or fuss.

Charlie   will take over the responsibility of choosing my winners in the future - he's been taught  by the Master. He's not yet A Cat Of Superior  Breeding  - he has a lot of growing up to do to fill such big paws. But I know he'll remember his friend and miss him as we all do.

How can you not miss 14 years of love and purrs and head-butts, a large, furry spread of cat over half my desk when I was working  - obviously meant to inspire me (waht alpha male could compete  with that sight.)  .  - and a heavy, snoozing  weight on your back when you wake in the night.

There's a lot to miss  - he was a  great cat. A Cat of Superior Breeding.


Jan Jones said...

Oh, Kate, I am so, so sorry for you. These times are very hard, but you know when something is right.


Susie Medwell said...

That brought tears to my eyes Kate. The hardest part of having pets is losing them, they are never around long enough. Sid obviously knew what he was doing when he choose you abd had a wonderful life. I think we know when the time is right, although it doesn't make it any easier x

Kate Hardy said...

Sending lots of love and hugs your way - this is the hard side of love, but I hope the day comes soon when you can remember him more with smiles than with tears xxx

Valerie Parv said...

Kate, your post is heartbreaking, but uplifting at the same time. Such a wonderful mutual benefit, although I suspect you believe you got the best of the deal - Sid no doubt agreeing. Sending you all my love from Oz.

Katie said...

So sad. Thinking of you. Hugs.

Pat Posner said...

Big hugs to you and BM - and all the rest of those - human and animal - who loved Sid.
Rainbow Bridge will welcome him.


Nas Dean said...

Oh Kate, Your post is so moving.

Sending you lot of love and hugs at this time.

Judith Arnopp said...

Big hugs xxx

Sharon Kendrick said...

Kate, such a beautiful post and a testimony to your immense love for Sid. He was one lucky cat. It must have been such a tough decision to make - but very definitely the right one. Thinking of you.

Traxy said...

Really sorry for your loss. :( He sounds like a great character. *big hugs*

Alexandra said...

It's such a tough decision to make even when you know it's the right one. So sorry that your beautiful boy has gone. It's so very special and a great honour when a cat (any animal) who has been abused gives their love and affection to you and your loss is greater when you lose them. {{{hugs}}}

Donna Alward said...

Oh KATE! WHen I saw the link on FB I headed straight over, hoping it didn't mean what I suspected it did. I'm SO sorry. A Cat of Superior Breeding comes along once in a lifetime and so I'm sitting here wiping my face because I know how much you must be hurting.

As Boo was sprawled across the floor in my office the other day I raised an eyebrow and said to him, "You know, considering your beginnings, you really landed in clover, my boy." Sid did as well. You gave him the very best life it's possible for a cat to have - a life fit for not only a baron but a king. Sending lots of hugs and love to you and the BM and Charlie and Flora.

Helen Lacey said...

Such a lovely, heartfelt post Kate. What wonderful memories you have of Sid.

India said...

Oh Kate...


Anne said...

Kate, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of Sid. I know he was a Cat of Great Character, and will be terribly missed. You were blessed to have known him, and he was blessed to have had you.

love and hugs

LindaC said...

So sorry for your loss, Kate! I know he will be missed. ((Hugs))


Laney4 said...

Sad tears for what you're both missing now.
Happy tears for Sid being out of pain and for the joy he brought into the lives of so many.
He will be missed by many cyber friends, myself included.

Always love.
His greatest gift.

Anne McAllister said...

There will never be another Sid. His personality (he would have corrected me instantly to "Cat-ality") was so engaging and his interaction so amazing that I can't imagine anyone not being immediately charmed by him.

I remember asking you, before I'd met him, why, if you had four cats, Sid was the one you wrote about all the time. And you said, "When you meet him you'll understand."

I understood. He had an immense capacity for love and for the ability to communicate. He was not only A Cat of Superior Breeding, he was THE Cat. Period.

His spirit has been hanging over my shoulder all day, hinting that my current book could use a cat. "Willoughby," he said. "And you can call him Big Will."

He's right, you know. He always is. Thank you for sharing him with me and with so many others. I will never ever forget him.

Now I'm off to write about Big Will.

JV said...


I'm so sorry about Sid. He was clearly an exceptional companion. Having our own two cats right now (plus a dog, a chinchilla, and a stray mother cat we are fostering with her 4 adorable babies), I know the joy that our animal companions can bring to our lives. It's wonderful that you had him in yours and loved him well for so long.

Sonali said...

Kate, I am so sorry to hear about your Sid. He knows that was deeply loved and he will be greatly missed.

Mama Duck said...

Oh dear. I am so sorry. Can I add one more big hug to all the others coming your way.

CrystalGB said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose a beloved cat. I will be thinking of you. (((HUGS)))

Kaelee said...

Kate ~ Just dropping in a bit late to say how sorry I am to hear about Sid. The decision you made is never an easy one but made with love. Sid will live on in a lot of memories.

Desere said...

Oh Kate I am so sorry for your loss, I remember who horribly empty one feels after loosing a pet, I lost my cate Mufasa two years ago and I was simply heartbroken I still miss him curling up on my lap but they all go to heaven and one they the chain that has been broken will link again.


Maria said...

I read this post last week in my reader but couldn't get over here till now - lots of love and sympathy on the loss of your beloved pet. I do believe he may still be with you, but in spirit if not in body. Love never ends, as you know.

Maria from 'gaelikaa's diary'


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Oh Kate! What can I say - I've only picked this up now. We're having renovations so I'm hardly on line and so far behind with blog visits. But I'm so upset about this news and just don't know how I'm going to tell HRH Theodorable that her favourite hero has left us. I know Flora and Charlie will bring you lots of of love...but there was only one Sid, and his passing is such a loss. :( Sending big hugs and special purrs from Theodorable.
Judy, South Africa


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