5) Come and get me …..

A Black Cat Crosses My Path Every Day

Image by aturkus via Flickr

I have loved animals all my life, well, that is, apart from spiders, which tend to freak me out a little, but I am happy to catch them and put them back outside and must admit I have squashed the occasional wasp … sorry God … just can’t cope with them at all.

So, where was I? Oh yes, me and animals.  Ever since I can remember I have been surrounded by various pets.  My parents had an Alsatian when I was very young, Bruce, who I gather adored my twin sister and I because we would sit in our high chairs and call him ‘Fru’ (we couldn’t pronounce Bruce) and feed him anything that we didn’t like.  As an animal loving family we went on to have a collection of cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, tortoises, goldfish, tame hedgehogs and even a salamander.

When I first married at 22 I was feeling quite lost with no pets around me.  My twin had decided that she wanted a kitten and I knew she was going to look at a litter.  What I didn’t know was that she couldn’t bear to leave without the last kitten and arrived on my doorstep with a little black bundle of fluff with the biggest green eyes I’d ever seen.  Babs had arrived.  Her mother was Burmese, and her father was a moggie, but Babs didn’t like to even think about that, she looked and behaved like a full Burmese, which meant she felt she was far superior to any of the other cats in the neighbourhood.

She was never what you would call a cuddly kitten.  She would sit on your lap for a couple of minutes and then be off climbing.  I say climbing because that was one of her favourite past-times.  She would climb up the walls hanging onto the wallpaper, climb up the curtains and sit at the very top and then fly across the room and land on a top shelf, then spring off again and she’d be balancing on the top of the open door.  I had never known a cat like it.  We lived in a bed sit, so our bedroom was in our sitting room, or if you like, our lounge included a bed, whichever way you want to look at it – it was a small space and we had to share it with Babs.  In the middle of the night she sidled under the covers and took great delight in sharpening her claws on our unsuspecting feet or legs.  She was the wildest of cats.  She grew ever more wild as the months went on, to the point where she would sit in wait on our garden wall for the neighbour to come out into her garden and then leap off the wall and attack her.    For no apparent reason she would have violent outbursts attacking everyone and everything in sight. I was at my wit’s end.  I was covered in scratches and bites, everything in the flat was scratched and chewed.  She even hissed at me when I arrived home from work and would walk sideways growling, which is pretty scary!

I managed to get her into a wicker basket, and with her hissing and growling all the time we were on the bus, I took her to the vets to ask his advise.  I had always thought that if you treated an animal with love and affection they would respond lovingly, but Babs had taught me that she didn’t share that belief.  The vet tried to examine her.  I had warned him that she could be quite vicious but he assured me, in a very condescending manner, that with his vast experience he knew how to cope with any cat. By the time he had managed to get Babs back in the basket he had been bitten and scratched many times.  Babs had won.  He shook his head in disbelief and without any tact whatsoever, told me, that in his opinion there was nothing to be done except to have her put to sleep.  I looked into her beautiful green eyes and knew I just couldn’t agree to that and implored the vet to give me any other possible solutions.  He wearily muttered something about how some cats can calm down a little after they have had a litter of kittens.  Well that was obviously the answer, I thought, delighted that I had the ultimate excuse to have kittens around me for at least 8 weeks!

Babs duly complied and in a short space of time it was very obvious that she was pregnant.  She had always been very slim and now she had a very large tummy which we could actually see moving as her kittens were stretching and vying for position inside her.  Her tempestuous nature though hadn’t changed one jot, except as her pregnancy went on she did give up the climbing and leaping.  I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision.

Eventually, after what seemed an eternity, Babs went into labour.  I had been to the library and read all about kitten births and had everything at the ready, although everyone told me that she would be very independent and would most probably prefer me to just leave her alone.  I had made a kittening area in the corner of the bed sit, and was chuffed when Babs decided it was the perfect place to give birth.  I put on gentle music and soft lighting so that it could be a relaxing environment for her.

I went over and stroked her and spoke gently to her, telling her everything would be fine.  The contractions became stronger and I thought I should now leave her to it.  As I walked away she got up and followed me, so I went back to the corner and sat with her again, comforting her.  I could see that a kitten was due any second and really thought it was time for me to leave her, again, as I got up to leave she got up to be with me. OK,  I said, and I laid down beside her, and stroked her all the way through her first kitten being born.  Instinctively she knew exactly what she should do and within a short time the tiny little kitten was hooked on to one of Babs teats.  About ten minutes went by and contractions started again and another kitten was born.  I stayed with Babs the whole time, speaking softly to her, assuring her as best I could.  After just over an hour had passed she had given birth to six beautiful kittens.  I cleared up the area and gave her new soft towels to lay on.  What I had realised was how gentle she had been with me through the birthing and hoped it would continue.

From that day onwards our relationship changed dramatically.  She became the most wonderful cat I could wish for.  I became quite ill and had to undergo several operations, and she would sit beside me all day until the family came home. As I managed to walk a little further each day she would walk beside me.  Neighbours would comment that whatever time I came home from work, which could vary greatly day-to-day, Babs would wander up to the gate about five minutes before and be waiting for me.  She talked incessantly and would be telling me all about her day as we walked together along the path to the front door.  It sounds mad I know, but she would really be trying to talk to me, I could feel it.

Although she was great with me she still was not good at the vets, so much so that the vet would only examine her or give her  annual vaccinations if she had been tranquilized.  We did this for many years and for some reason I always felt like I was letting her down.  On one particular occasion she was due to have her pre-vet medication and as I was about to crush the tablets into her food I was sure I heard her thoughts.  She told me that she hated the feeling of being tranquilized and promised she would be very good at the vets.  I held her face in my hands and looked deep into her eyes, “ok” I said,” I’ll trust you, but you have to be on your best behaviour.”  If anyone had heard me they would have thought I’d gone mad.

The vets face was a picture of concern as the realisation dawned on him that Babs was not sedated in the slightest.  I took her out of her basket and put her on his examining table.  I told him that she said she would be good as gold.  He gave me a ‘that woman is crazy’  kind of look but was surprised how well behaved she was.  She was looking straight at me as he put the needle in the back of her neck.  I heard her say, by what I can only think was some kind of thought transference, see I told you I’d be good!

I was working but always had Mondays off work to do the washing/ironing, shopping etc.  This particular Monday had started off quite normally.  My husband went to work just after 8am and I took my daughter to school just before 9am.  I popped into the shops on the way home. I remember it was a lovely sunny late summers day.  We had moved into a brand new house in the January and hadn’t met many of the neighbours at all.  It seemed to me that every morning there was a mass exodus as everyone went to work, and the only time many people were around was on the weekend.

As I opened the front door  a feeling of utter doom came over me.  I started crying and as I walked into the kitchen I looked at Babs bowls and I remember hearing her say ‘come and get me’.  I knew she was dead.  I was howling.  I phoned my Dad and sobbed down the phone to him that Babs was dead.  He asked what had happened and I told him I didn’t know.  I said I didn’t know where she was but that I knew she was dead. My Dad tried to calm me down and told me that she was most probably fine.  He asked if I had called her and I said no, I knew there was no point.  I told Dad that I would go and find her and would phone him back.  I phoned my husband and told him too and I am sure he thought I had gone mad. He too told me to go looking for her and he thought she might have been locked in a garage or shed somewhere.  It was so difficult to explain to them that I knew absolutely that she was dead.  There was no point in looking for her in the garage.

I picked up a shopping basket and walked aimlessly down the road, looking at all the empty drives by the houses.  Eventually I saw a house with a car on the drive and knocked on the door, as it happened I had met the woman who answered and she could see I was very distressed.  I asked her if she would come with me and look for my cat.  She kindly agreed and I instinctively knew where to go.  We walked along the road, quite a way, we turned left, past more houses and finally I walked up a bank onto a single railway track.  Babs was lying on the track.  She had been hit by a train. I couldn’t bear to pick her up and had to ask the site manager if he could go and get her for me.  I phoned my Dad and told him straight away.  He asked me how I had known and I tried to explain.  Dad was always aware of spirits through his life and he said he thought it was because Babs and I had such a strong bond.  I phoned my husband and he was just stunned.  He came home from work straight away.  I felt desolate.

For many months afterwards I was aware of Babs walking up the bed and even now, many many years later, I am sure I see her momentarily.  She was one very special cat and I shall never forget her.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anne Jepson
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 09:50:06

    Aw what a lovely story, the part about the vet made me chuckle, but so sorry Babs had such a sad ending. As you’ve shown, our animals are not to be dominated, but through mutual respect a wonderful bond can be established. Even if we’re the ones who have to put in the hard work!
    Thanks for sharing your story, more evidence of how our animals communicate with us x

    Reply

  2. Rosemary Breen
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 09:20:54

    Lovely of you to share the bond you have with your cat Babs – and also your sister 🙂

    Cheers

    Rosemary

    Reply

  3. growingupweirdmedium
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 00:16:33

    Your story of Babs reminds me of my sweet bobcat that I raised from a kitten. She only loved me and she rode around on my neck as I walked around the house. She slept on my bed with me and you can bet that there were no mice in the house when she lived there. She became hormonal and decided to go live on the ranch. She would come and wait at my gate to take me out to the barn and sit for a while together. I do not know what happened to her but I know she has passed. I have felt her jump up on my bed many times. I know it is not my other 2 cats because I look up and they were already there sleeping. She was so special to me and I am happy she stays with me.

    Reply

  4. Christina Wood
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 20:44:04

    Yay and well done Sis, would it be at all possible for me to tell you how proud of you I am. I am so proud……

    Reply

    • chattingwithspirit
      Oct 26, 2011 @ 06:18:46

      Thanks my darling sis, proudness (if there is such a word!) goes both ways, and I hope you know that I couldn’t be more proud of you and the incredible inner strength you have shown over the last couple of years. I am blessed that you are my twin! I love you so very much xxxx

      Reply

  5. chattingwithspirit
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 14:54:31

    Sorry … didn’t mean to make you cry.

    I truly believe that us ‘humans’ really do have very strong spiritual bonds with our pets. Over the years I have heard the most wonderful stories of animals rescuing their owners or warning them of events. I would love to hear anyone elses experiences.

    Reply

  6. k_gale@hotmail.co.uk
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 07:19:55

    Babs reminds me of my cat. So well written Tish & I reached for the tissues too!
    I have a cat (Angel) who is half Birman/moggy,but she too believes that she is a princess.Since her adoption of me at 6 months she was run over- lost her tail & the vet managed to save the nerves to the bladder & bowel. Then 3 years ago was attacked by a Staffie lost her Right foreleg & permanantly damaged R eye.
    She is my inspiration ‘cos whatever happens she dusts herself off & gets on with life!
    Now aged 10, she has mellowed.Fortunately we have an instinctual relationship.
    I have a chronic pain condition & she senses bad days, staying by me & very kindly washing me or trying to sit on my chest! As you say an animal’s love is unconditional (unlike the 2 legged variety).

    Reply

  7. Annette
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 23:27:30

    Well thanks for that!! 🙂 that made me cry! Took me back to my Abbey who was run over but survived on that occasion–we do have a true bond with out beloved animals that is hard to explain at times but I know how you felt as I did with my Tilly when she was kidnapped–escaped only to be run over by a van! I have had a few cats-dogs- birds etc that we truly have an unspeakable bond with– well written and interesting by the way.

    Reply

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