As the title might suggest, am afraid this is a bit of a sad blog, as our little lady cat Maurice met a sudden end yesterday. Yes, she was only a cat, but she was part of our little family and one of Marigold’s first friends. So this is for her.
When my last cat, the imaginatively-named ‘Pussy Burness’, was put down, I was absolutely distraught. I said I could never, ever replace her, that I would never own a cat again. She had been my cat for ten years or more, it was too painful.
It took about three weeks for my resolve to break and for me to “just make an enquiry” to the local RSPCA. I said I was looking for a little lady cat, one that was friendly and could deal with life with a hectic toddler (Harrison). The RSPCA man was delighted, he had just the very cat living in the shop right now! She was a little tabby and was ‘soft as butter.’
Just as I had mentally bought her in my head came the small print.
“There is just one thing. She actually has a brother. He is a bit shy. Of course if you didn’t want two I could split them up….?”
“I don’t really know, we only really wanted one cat. I need to speak with my husband, I am not sure he will want two.”
Fast forward to that evening as we walked out of the RSPCA shop in West Norwood carrying two tabby kittens in a box.
The guy CLEARLY knew two soft touches when he saw them!
After a long debate on social media about suitable names (Bond and Moneypenny? Brandy and Whiskey? Rum and Coke? Den and Angie?) we decided to call them Bourgeois and Maurice after an hilarious cabaret show we had seen at a festival once (pre children, when we did that sort of thing.)
The kittens’ personalities were quickly established. Bourgeois was your typical, neurotic scaredy cat. He did not come out from behind the cupboard for the first week and when he did he was a skittish bag of nerves. Maurice was very much the lap cat, craving attention and strokes, rolling all over the place in ecstasy as we lavished affection on her. It was lovely to have another friendly cat to sit on my head in the night as Pussy Burness used to. I was pleased and quickly fell in love with her.
When I say Maurice was friendly, what I actually mean is she had NO BOUNDARIES or concept of personal space. She genuinely thought she was another member of the family. Every morning, when we sit in bed trying to give Marigold her milk, Harrison clambers in to watch Kinder eggs being opened on You Tube (strange cult-like obsession with four year olds these days) and Maurice would jump up as well and roll all over us all. Sadly for Maurice, this often involved one of us saying “For God’s sake can you boot that bloody cat off the bed?!” and Maurice swiftly being jettisoned out of the bedroom door. If I had known we were not going to have much longer with her, I would have relished those messy, hectic mornings in the bed together. Whilst her brother Bourgeois spends most of his days outside and avoids the family chaos as much as possible (which I think is fair enough), she was very much the family cat.
The invasion of personal space did lead to frustration as I say, and me, Sunil and even Harrison would often have to push Maurice away when her neediness became too much, But there was someone who always had time to give Maurice the love and affection she wanted. Marigold was so gentle and sweet with her. Unlike most babies who want to pull cats’ tails and generally terrorise them, my lovely-natured and serene little girl would give her soft strokes and bury her tiny hands in her soft fur whilst Maurice purred like an engine, thinking all her Christmasses had come at once. It was a very special bond. I was so excited about Marigold growing up with a little lap cat that would be devoted to her, sleep on her bed and give her companionship. Maurice was to be Marigold’s cat especially.
So yesterday, when I found poor little Maurice cat lying quite dead in the middle of the lounge, I was heartbroken. For us, for her brother but most of all for Marigold.
The vet said it was probably a heart attack, that the biggest cause of sudden deaths in cats is heart disease. Just one minute she was there, on the bed with us all, and then poor little Maurice cat was being taken unceremoniously in a Sainsbury’s Bag For Life (heavy irony) to the 24 hour vet for incineration. Another reminder of just how fragile this life is.
If I had known yesterday morning would be the last family morning on the bed with her, I would have made a special fuss of her. But that’s the problem: we never know when something is going to be for the last time.
Today has been a sad day. I already miss her. Nobody will sit on my chest tonight and purr in my face. Poor Bourgeois is sitting by the cat flap sadly wondering where his sister and friend has gone. But this is what pets are for, They teach us about love, about responsibility and ultimately, about death. For many, they are so much more than just a companion.
We got Maurice in 2012 and she gave us two and a half years of happiness. I wish we had had more. We shall miss you so much little pussy cat. You were a lady of taste and think you would have appreciated the dedication of this song in your memory: