Your Pet Loss Stories

'Our Wild Rose - Lizzie's Story'

by John

I have just lost a dear and loving friend, that’s my reason for writing her story. The reason that you are reading it is you’re a cat lover, and will understand how I feel.

It was way back in early 2004 that I first became aware of an undernourished visitor scratching on our kitchen window, crying pitifully.

At first I did not want to encourage this tiny slightly threadbare looking cat as my wife and I already had four loving ones, and the last thing I wanted was to bring an ill cat into our home. Particularly one so wild looking.

We had already taken in previously a small Ginger boy, who had just turned up the same way. Unfortunately within days it fell sick and on the vet’s advice had to be put to sleep. Our vet explained that most of the feral cats in our area carried a variety of diseases and rarely lived above the age of two.

However we could not ignore her cries and gave in and decided to feed her in the hope that she would go away. As the days went by, she started to improve and fur began to grow in her bald spots. Slowly we realized that the ugly duckling was turning into a beautiful tortoiseshell cat. Her appetite was enormous; she consumed four tins of cat food a day.

During one of our early dinner party’s a friend remarked on the cat’s size and informed us she was pregnant. She had been eating for four as it turned out.

Several weeks later I noticed how slim she looked and thought she had lost her kittens. We looked everywhere but without any luck until one day Max our Persian kitten suddenly started staring under our balcony. There cuddled up in an old chicken feed sack was a beautiful cat with three tiny kittens. Both my wife and I spent hours just watching the antics as a very young Mum tried to look after her babies.

I will never forget the sight of her offering the kittens a fully-grown missal thrush that was twice their size. All four just lay there wondering what to do with it. We solved the problem by buying kitten food and they soon began to crawl about and explore our garden. Eventually we gave in and moved the new family into our back bedroom, where we arranged a ladder from the room’s window to the garden below. This enabled Mum to enter and leave safely. We named the kittens Mitzie, Gingi-bear and Poppy.

By then our beautiful tortoiseshell was given the names of Lizzie\Mum, making the total cats in our household to eight.

Lizzie still never really settled down to being a fully domestic cat spending her days backwards and forwards to where we believe her kittens were born, just across the road from our house. This years later was to be her downfall. But rather than dwell on the end I would rather go back to the years of fun we had with Lizzie and her growing family.

She was a wonderful mother and took care of them as well as looking after the rest of our extended cat family.

If one was missing, we would say to her “fetch Max etc” and off she would shoot and returned chasing and seeing in the missing cat. This she continued to do for the rest of her life.

Amongst our friends she became known as “THE GREETER “, as soon as any visitor arrived she would rush to the start of our garden path squeaking and escort them to our front door. She also got used to the sound of our car and would rush to meet us, that is one thing I will surely miss.

If any cat was streetwise, Lizzie was the one; at least that’s what we thought.

One of the funny things she would do was to sit just outside our French windows and gently give her kittens a whack as they left or entered the house. She seemed to be putting them in their place. Even our older cats got the same treatment but there was no malice in it, she just seemed to want to look out for them.

She loved cardboard boxes, chewing all the edges, leaving them with a scallop effect. At night she would jump up on top of my wardrobe and find an old shoebox I kept my odd socks in. After a while the sound of her chewing and spitting out chunks echoed throughout the house. In the morning the base of the robe was scattered with confetti
shaped pieces.

On one other occasion we gave her an old box used for storing tomatoes to sit in. This we placed on our garden table, after a while she started chewing the edges until eventually all that was left was a piece of cardboard shaped like a dinner mat with scalloped edges.

One had to be careful in leaving important documents around the house.

I remember paying a bill and having to explain in my broken French that the pattern around its edges were caused by Lizzie. In fact up to date I am still finding pieces of chewed letters around the house.

Lizzie also had a thing about sitting in small boxes; she looked so funny squashed into something about 6 inches across.

I suppose one of her most annoying habits was staying out late at night, in fact it's one of the things I miss about her. Many a night I would have to stay up until after one in the morning waiting for her to come home.

The number of times over the last eight years I went out with a torch looking for her must run into thousands. Standing by the entrance calling out “LIZZIE, LIZZIE, LIZABELL” our neighbours must have thought me mad. Then all of a sudden in my torchlight I would see her eyes gleaming like two little stars and she would come running and squeaking towards me. She had her own way back home via our car then scratching the logs along side the path, slowly following me up to the house.

As I reached the half way point Lizzie would suddenly put on a spurt and race me back to the house.

Most nights I had to leave our bedroom because Lizzie was crying for me. It became a joke “Your girl friend wants you”. She would follow me upstairs and cuddle up close to me. She was indeed my cat girl friend and I shall miss her so.

Last Sunday 5th Jan 2012 after eight years of love she did not return. I spent all the next day looking for her and sadly just as I was about to give up I found her little body on the drive next to our house. She had been dead for some time, at first I thought I had left her out to freeze to death but soon realized that crossing the road as usual had been her downfall. Someone had found her and kindly placed her where I would find her.

She is now buried in our garden with her daughter Mitzi and all our other dear cats. I know everybody who has had cats and loses them goes through this but Lizzie was special and will all ways be remembered. To my wife and I Lizzie was and always will be A WILD ROSE who smelt of fresh air.

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