The Life of Jamima, My Human Cat…
8th March 2017
Today I made a decision that would break my heart. It’s been a decision that has upset me for years whenever the future probability has been put to me.
Every year around late spring Jamima would lose her ‘winter chubbs’ so to speak. Living here for the last 4 years where neighbourhood Toms would come prowling around, this would disturb her. She didn’t seem to know what their howls were about. She had been fixed at the appropriate age and had her ear tattoo to prove it.
I always considered she would have been less anxious and more comfortable if she had been allowed to have kittens first. But I wasn’t allowed as Jamima had been adopted from a household with 3 female cats, 2 Toms and 3 litters of kittens all at once.
Jamima would often be a fussy eater, be very anxious to outside noises for example cars, people, animals being walked past out the front yard or birds fluttering on the last. Prompting me to give her the talk that birds were supposed to intrigue her and make her want to get out.
Jamima has mostly been an indoor cat only. She has had access to the backyard and thankfully in recent years has been large enough that I could rest easy, she was too big to attempt a break-out and my choice of homes for us always stipulated that the backyard be not only cat-friendly but cat-proof.
The next paragraph is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned!
When she came home with us, I had read an article in the local paper telling of people who steal cats for ‘fishing’ trips. They slash the back legs and then dangle the cat over the back of the boat. The blood and thrashing drawing fish to the surface and then attracted to the bait. When the fishing trip is over with no use for the cat they are thrown over into the water. The article continued to name suburbs cats were known to go missing from, it included ours. Jamima was therefore deemed an indoor cat only!
Jamima and I have always been very closely bonded. If I was upset she would come to me to comfort me, even if I was in another part of the house and surrounded by others she did not know. She also seemed to bear the brunt of anything she picked up from me. If I was anxious, sad, stressed or if she could tell a move of our home was imminent.
During her life, she lived in 6 homes, including the one she was born in and another move has been pending as I type this. I think she could always tell and it meant she ate less, stressed more and acted a little less at ease.
In recent months, she has picked up a few new quirks. Occasionally, I’ve woken to her sitting on my pillow against my hair. Sometimes right beside my pillow making me feel stalked when opening my eyes.
She would sleep on the bed, sometimes I would wake from a warm peaceful sleep on my back with a warm presence on my lap. I would slowly realise Jamima was curled up there fast asleep and I had no idea how long she had been there.
Such an opportunist.
The last few weeks, she has taken to hiding under the bed. But when I went to bed she would jump up for her pats, ear-rubs and chin and neck scratches and the purring would begin. About a month ago, her weight loss became very obvious. Her hollow-sides continued to include her spine and hip bones being pronounced.
Early visits to the vet included disapproving looks when she was weighed indicating she was overweight and I was a bad parent. Recent cat blogs I’ve read would indicate Jamima was definitely not obese but her obvious weight loss did disturb me and I tried different foods and smaller more consistent meals.
Another blogger has stated chasing her cat around the house trying to fatten it up. Kinda feels like I did the same. Meals in the lounge room, food treats in the kitchen.
Her weight loss continued and my concern grew also. Most of you would wonder why I hadn’t taken her to a vet?
The answer is mostly one thing. The lack of money. When I committed to having a cat I was working and had a consistent and stable income. I had always put off having a pet until I knew I could afford those expenses and responsibilities.
The last 10 years my disability has meant my financial freedom has continued to get more and more restrictive. Particularly when life taught me we should live alone for our peace and sanity.
The last 4 years living at unit 1/111 Jamima and Helen Street. (obviously not the street name) life really was about us and life has been nice, until just recently, Jamima has been hiding more, eating less. Not bothering with tasty saucy treats I’ve left in my bowl especially for tempting her. I knew the time was closer and closer.
Today I woke and didn’t see much of my fur-child. And then I left the house at 12.30pm on my Hell on wheels’ scooter and Jamima was on the window ledge in the study in her sleeping position with her snout down in front of her against the timber. I knew when I left the house I had to make the decision I had been dreading.
I rang my mum to tell her my plans. I had to find someone to help me get her to the vet or the vet to do a house call and who I could ask to store her in a cool-room or such until my mums next visit so she could be taken home and be buried with her brother and sisters from another mother in country Victoria.
I didn’t want to bury her on a property that wasn’t mine for ever and I had previously contemplated my sister’s home but she has 2 dogs and my sister and I don’t always see eye to eye. Shall we say?
So today, when I got home from my acupuncture appointment, where I had lay texting with 8 needles in me, organising and finally managing to find someone to help me get Jamima to the vet. Before I scootered home, I booked the appointment for 5.15pm.
Arriving home, Jamima was still in the window. She didn’t look like she had moved. I called her name and I touched her cat-condo that was under the desk inside the study. She meowed and came out. As soon as she got to the carpet I heard a noise and I knew she was making a patch of urine on the carpet. I was tempted to admonish her…..now, is this where we do that? But really, it was my fault I had left her this long maybe? I easily ushered her into her cat-condo and closed the door. She didn’t seem impressed. I got her some water and opened the door again long enough so I could pour it in.
I couldn’t be dissuaded by guilt or her sweet meows.
She drank and then settled in, my friend arrived and came in to give me a hug and carry the condo out to the car.
Anyway, I think by now you all realise how this story ends.
By 5.30 pm on the 8th of March 2017 Jamima went to sleep and off to heaven on big fluffy clouds. Have been thinking of an appropriate cats’ version of the green dream. You can stay tuned for the upcoming post of the same name I wrote over lunch today when I knew how lonely my home would feel by the end of the day.
I keep looking around expecting to see Jamima in her favourite place. My gravy-laced bowl from dinner that will not be cleaned by her tongue. So many peculiar habits we shared that will never be again.
Here are some pictures that will show you Jamima patch, the pirate cat Puddleduck at her best.
Sadly missed but never forgotten. Sad, so sad.