Wednesday, 12 December 2007


We got her from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in January 2000. “She’ll probably be scared when you first get home with her,” they said as they put her in a cat-carrier. She wasn’t. We opened the box in our living room, and out she jumped. Then she lay on her side to have her tummy stroked. No scaredy-cat, our Tess.

She was the stripiest tabby you’ve ever seen, small and daft, extremely friendly and cheeky. She’d do this cute begging thing where she sat up on her back legs and rubbed her front paws together, as if she was praying. “You could get her in a cat-food advert, doing that,” people said when they saw her.

She was there at the births of all the children, just keeping me company in that instinctive animal way. She knew something special was happening.

Everyone knew her, in our old road in Brighton. She’d be in and out all of their houses, begging for titbits, doing her cute party trick. “She’s too fat,” the vet complained and we had to put a note on her collar: Do Not Feed Me – Greedy, Not Hungry.

I think she liked living here. She liked lying on the sunny patio outside the kitchen, exploring the alley at the back of the house, sleeping under my son’s bed. She liked catching the rats from our next door neighbour’s compost heap and dragging them into our house. (I wasn’t quite so keen on that bit.)

But she went missing on Saturday night. We have been up and down the alley, calling her name, round the neighbouring streets too. Youngest daughter has been especially worried – she sees Tess as her sibling, the only person in the family she gets to boss around.

Today we called the Cats and Dogs Home and the vet to see if she’d been found. She had. She’d been hit by a car and killed.

H-t-b has just buried her in the garden. And I’m sitting here having a bit of a cry. And wondering how we’re going to break it to the kids. They are going to be so upset, I know. I can't bear it.
Goodbye Tess. You were such a sweetheart.


JJ said...

Oh, what can I say? I'm soooo sorry. I'm a cat person without any cats (because we're not sure how long we're here for) and I so understand. I understand that she was company for you, that she was a special and equal member of the family.

I'm so sorry.


(I want to tell you to think about getting another cat, or kitten, but I know it's too soon, and it won't replace Tess, but it will help ... when you're ready.) JJx

Lane said...

Ooh I feel for you. It hurts.
I'm glad (not 'glad' but you know what i mean) she was found and brought back to you.

I hope the children take it ok.

Leigh said...

I have lost a cat on the road, and understand how sad you are. I am so very sorry.

Pacha said...

Oh Lucy. So sad. I choked up as I read this. What devestating news! When my cat died when I was a child I wrote my first novel (about the cat's life).

It's nice that you've buried her close to you. The kids will like having a place to visit her!

So so sorry about the loss of Tess!

Vicky said...

I'm very sorry for you! a friend of mine also lost her kitten - even though he wasn't with them for so long he still crept into everyone's hearts.
remember that you gave her a good home during her life!

Lucy Diamond said...

Thanks, all of you. Telling the children last night was just so awful - floods of tears from eldest daughter, "I just want Tess BACK!" for over two hours - so upsetting.
Son and youngest daughter much more prosaic, they were discussing the benefits of getting a rabbit within one minute of us breaking the news.
Ahh well. Life goes on etc.

Thanks again for commenting. Much appreciated.

Caroline said...

Made me cry.

I so understand how they become part of the family and how the children accept and love them.

Huge hugs to you all.
I can't find any other words, but I am thinking about you and this is a beautiful post.

Lucy Diamond said...

Thanks Caroline. It's horrible getting used to her not being here. And such a hard lesson for children to have to learn.
I keep expecting to see her cute furry face at the window.

Shauna said...

oh noooo! i'm sorry :( it's always so heartbreaking when you don't see that familiar furry face.

Lucy Diamond said...

Thanks Shauna. xx

RhodaJo said...

Hello. I read your blog and enjoy it, but this one really hurt. I have lost three cats this year, all my absolute children, the final one this week, being a little stray kitten we found recently. I hope you're ok. I've cried every day since Kai went this week.
Rhoda x

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh Rhodajo, that's so sad. So sorry to hear this.
Take care. Hope you can dry your tears soon. xx

Kate.Kingsley said...

So very sorry to hear that Lucy ~ losing a pet is so much more than just that, it's losing a member of your family.

Best wishes to you all, and it's nice that you have her nearby so the children (and adults) can visit her & chat.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Ouch, been there, more than once, so I really do know how horrible it is. Small consolation, but it's probably better to know what happened - one beloved, funny, endearing cat of mine disappeared and I never did find out why, I suspect he was killed on the road but for months afterwards I was still seeing him in every ginger cat in the neighbourhood. Hope you all feel better soon.

A. Writer said...

I have tears in my eyes.

I'm soo sorry to hear about Tess.

It's truly heartbreaking to lose a pet, but in that way it's ten times worse.

In my eyes, pets are part of the family. Just under two years ago I had to get one of my cats put down, he wasn't old but his organs were failing him. I still miss him now.

Fiona said...

I'm crying for you...and the children. Some believe in the Rainbow Bridge. Corny maybe, but it helped me.

Lucy Diamond said...

Kate, Zinnia, A Writer and Fiona - thank you. There are so many lovely cat people out there who understand.
We have talked a lot about 'cat heaven' to the kids and what a nice time Tess will be having there. And eldest daughter wants to have a little funeral for her in the garden at the weekend. "Christmas won't be the same without Tess," she keeps saying. I agree.

Mum'sTheWord said...

Oh :( I'm so sorry. Our cat went missing last year, but we never found him. I am pretty sure he went somewhere private to die peacefully, as he was very old and very much an outdoors cat, but we couldn't trace him because he hated wearing a collar. For weeks I had to keep explaining to my three-year-old that he wasn't coming back (bit of a cack-handed explanation of death from me, and some confusing input from my mother about angels and so on) - she kept saying: 'But don't give up hope, Mummy'. And then one day, months later, she just burst into tears about it. She'd finally realised, I think.

Hope you all feel better soon.

Lucy Diamond said...

Mum's The Word - thanks for your comment. That must have been very hard, not knowing what had happened to your cat, and trying to remain hopeful.
We did consider pretending to the kids that Tess was just lost, thought it might be a softer blow than telling them she'd actually died, but in the end, thought that the uncertainty would be worse. There's no nice way around it, really. I guess it's just something they have to learn at some point, and it's never easy.

Debs said...

I'm so sorry for you, what a dreadful thing to have happened. Heartbreaking.

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Debs. It's really sad. I'm still not used to not seeing her every day. I'm hoping Christmas will be a distraction for us all.