(Photo courtesy of MJD-S)
Today I said goodbye to my TuTu. She passed away this afternoon from organ failure caused by cardiomyopathy and aortic thromboembolism. Basically she had a bad heart that was throwing clots around her body and stopped blood flow to her kidneys causing them to fail today.
She had been a bit “odd” for a month or so - extremely hungry all the time and howling for food. She often was trying to eat our food and we had to keep butter and other food items covered at all times. She would try to drink Max’s milk if I had left any on the table. But she was looking a little thin last week and I was thinking of taking her to the vet. I wasn’t overly concerned as apart from this new attraction to human food, she seemed her usual self.
Then over the weekend she seemed to get sick and hide away from us all and not eat only drink water. This morning it was obvious that she wasn’t well at all so I took her to the vet. She didn’t even last the day. I raced back after work but she was already gone. The vet said that even if I had brought her in earlier, nothing could have been done. I am still a bit shell-shocked as it has all happened so fast but I think I need to write about it to gather my thoughts.
I sit here with tears streaming down my face remembering the good and the bad of the last 9 years or so we have shared together.
She was rescued by my friend Mie one rainy night near a temple. She was a tiny tiny kitten all alone under a bush and had to be coaxed out with a tin of tuna. Mie, about to move countries with her two cats, had no way of caring for a tiny kitten so advertised for a home and that is where I enter TuTu’s life. At the time I was living alone for the first time in my life and so when there was the offer of a kitten, I didn’t think twice. It was probably not the wisest choice as my apartment didn’t allow pets but hey she was needing a home. After nine years I do not regret making that decision.
When I first brought her home she was a tiny mewling kitten not properly weaned and certainly not housebroken. A quick trip to the vet said that she was basically healthy and with some love and care she would be fine. So my single life was over, I had an addition to my home. She became my companion, confidante and part of my family. She always agreed with everything I said and was always good for a snuggle.
She quickly proved herself to be gorgeous and friendly but also slightly off balance. She could turn from being a loving lap cat into a crazed scratching, biting beast and then back to loving again. I think that perhaps I saw the best in her and forgave her idiosyncrasies - not being short of one or two oddities of my own, who was I to judge?
She often slept in the crook of my arm under the covers and would wake me with a cold nose on my cheek if she needed me to roll over to give her space to get in bed.
I am remembering the time that she escaped and jumped into the neighbour’s apartment and the cute note my neighbour had left to alert me to the fact that she was keeping my (illegal) cat safe. I didn’t get home until close to midnight that night and was reluctant to knock on her door to retrieve her. But I did and the first thing that TuTu did was run inside and use the kitty litter. She had probably been holding in for hours.
I am also remembering the time shortly after she had learned how to jump up and open inside doors, that she accidentally flicked across the burglar lock and locked me out of my own apartment. Again, it was close to midnight and I did what every girl does when she needs a hand - I called my Dad who lived down the street at that time. He came down in his pyjamas with a tool box and had me into my place lickety-split. Thanks again Dad!
I am remembering when the Ashman moved in and adopted her. Well she allowed herself to be adopted and they became firm friends.
I am also remembering the Yayoicho apartment that had a strict no animal policy and that the superintendent, an eagle-eyed little lady, lived in the apartment next door. The Ashman and I performed stealth operations whenever TuTu needed to be taken to the vet for her nails to be clipped. We had the protocol down to a fine art and in the four years we lived there, TuTu’s presence was never discovered.
I am remembering the code word of “Toaster” given to her by Dr Dave’s brother whenever we talked of her so people wouldn’t know we had a cat in the building.
I am remembering how we had planned for more stealth operations to move her into our current apartment and get her settled before the movers came in.
I am remembering how the Ashman took home a cloth that Max had been sleeping on in the hospital to let her smell it and prepare her for his arrival.
I am remembering how Max would rub his head against her stomach despite her protests.
I am remembering how she quietly tolerated (but I am sure secretly enjoyed) Max’s toddler affections.
I am remembering the numerous house/cat sitters who tried to make friends with her when we took holidays.
I am remembering how she hating having her claws cut.
I am remembering how she always found the warmest spot under the covers in our bed.
I am remembering Kristen making up the song “TuTu the bitey cat” for Max’s amusement.
I am remembering her curled up on my lap watching TV on the couch.
I hope I did well by her and made her life happy. I hope she knew she was loved.
Goodbye my sweet and complicated friend. I will miss you.
Send this article to a friend