|Eight week old Tilly.|
Copyright ©2022. Mark Kelly
Tilly, then called Frodo, (as Lord of the Rings was just released in the cinema, and it was believed she was a male cat) came to us as an eight week old, grey-striped bundle of attitude and sass, and for something so small, wasn't afraid to give a smack.
At the time we lived in Llantwit Major and had recently lost Baila, our very first cat - such a sweet, gentle and loving soul - and Thomas our tom cat was now alone.
Enter Tilly. Like a thunder bolt, Tom's life was turned up-side-down by this wild bundle of grey-striped fury and fun.
Tilly was as loving as she was mercurial - one minute purring from being stroked, to swiping you with her claws with a hiss. She was, at heart, a semi-feral cat, discovered as a kitten running wild on a golf course in Bridgend, evading capture for three days. Of her mother and possible siblings we knew nothing. We had adopted her from the Bridgend Cat Rescue centre.
She had a voice that said everything. One of the few, if not the only, of our cats who actively engaged with us in 'verbal' communication. At times, especially more recently in her latter years, she would put this voice to effective use when wanting me to do something, especially if I had fallen asleep on the sofa late at night whilst watching something on TV. She would stare and repeat the same 'meow' over-and-over like some electronic alarm clock that never shut up, and once I awoke and moved, she would perk up with a trilling-like meow and expect me to obey her command. I must confess, I would usually give in and fetch her some cat kibble from the pantry. Tilly had trained me well, for sure.
Tilly was with us in every house move and home we lived in, and there were a few. She had seen her cat companions, and Darcy, come and go, but now time had caught up with her, robbing her of the mobility in her legs, leaving her semi-incontinent and suffering with partial dementia.
Such a beautiful girl, reduced to hobbling, at best, from fire to litter tray if her legs would support her, if not, then soiling herself, and eventually unable to reach her food bowl that sat mere inches away. Tilly's voice was still present, though at times it was heart-breaking to hear when the 'dementia' episodes took hold, then her confused yowling would sound through the house, and if home I would go see to Tilly, kneeling in front of her, cupping her chin and gently stroke her nose, which she had always loved, and would serve to calm her down.
Letting Tilly go was a painful decision, but my wife and I had discussed it at length over a period of days, and the morning my wife discovered Tilly laying in her own urine and faeces confirmed the time had come.
|Tilly and Eve at home on our bed in Llantwit Major|
Copyright ©2022. Mark Kelly
|Tilly at peace, moments before |
we left for the crematorium.
Copyright © 2022. Mark Kelly
Tilly passed away peacefully at home with us at her side. Once the vet had gone, we allowed our two rescue dogs from Spain, who were wonderful with Tilly, to enter the room and say their own farewell to her. The youngest of the dogs, Chica, seemed affected the most. She returned to her bed, curled up and remained sullen for the rest of that day.
Now we are without a cat, my wife and I have agreed, no more cats. We've had four cats over the years, and had been blessed with each one, but now we live in a place which we do not consider cat friendly, and having two rescue dogs with differing problems and needs, we have enough to devote ourselves towards.
I like to think that as Tilly passed, Tom, Eve and Darcy came forward to greet her, reassure her and lead her to the place where they are happy, content and together, waiting for the day they can do the same for us.
|Our wonderful, beautiful animals, who brought us joy, happiness, love and laughter, but also tears.|
From left-to-right in order of their passing.
Copyright ©.2022 Mark Kelly
Eva Cassidy and her gorgeous rendition of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.