Alice the Kitten who came to stay
It was December , and about three weeks before Christmas. Things were plodding along in their usual quiet manner. Three of us lived here, myself and my Husband, and our thirteen year old Rough Collie Dog, Dougal. We were home a lot of the time now as we are both retired. My Husband for some years due to ill health, and myself more recently. Dougal was enjoying the extra company, but he was an old dog now, and had arthritis in his hips, so he never did much more than potter in the garden, and sleep a lot
He had never been ill in his thirteen years, and he still enjoyed his food, and was happy, so we were content to let him carry on and do pretty much what he wanted.
This all changed in a flash. He woke me early one Saturday morning, I could hear him howling in the sitting room,he was desperate to go outside, and so I threw on my dressing gown and coat, and took him out. He was very uneasy, and wanted to come back in again, and clearly he was in pain. It was 5.30 am, but I felt that I had to call the emergency Vet.
Our Vet knew the Dog, in fact he really liked Dougal. He had come to know him well over the years from doing the regular health checks and vaccinations. After examining him he said he thought it could be Cystitis, and would treat for that initially, and also give him a painkilling injection. We hoped against hope that this would be the answer, a painful condition while it lasts, but perfectly treatable.
Sadly this was not to be, we had more visits from the Vet, and from the Nurses over the next few days, we also had blood tests done, and it was crystal clear that this was something more serious. Without going into all the details here, suffice to say that as the next days passed it was pretty obvious that he had a blockage, a Tumor higher up in his digestive tract. We decided that it would not be the right thing to do at his age to put him through surgery, and further investigations, and so we made the decision which will come to every pet owner at some stage...Our vet was away that day, and I know he will have been sorry not to have been there at the end.We had a very nice Lady vet come though, together with a Nurse. We stayed with him too of course. He lay on his blanket while they did the necessary, and it was easy for him, he very quickly drifted off.
It was very strange, and quiet in the house without him, even though he had slept a lot, he was always there, and part of our routine. My answer to dealing with all this was to get busy. I cleaned the house from end to end, washed carpets, and even decorated the kitchen!, all of this with Christmas fast approaching. To be honest though we decided to ignore Christmas that year, no one was coming, and we were not in the mood to celebrate anything.
We had decided, even before Dougal went that we would not have another Dog at this stage in our lives, especially with my Husband being ill. So here we were in the spotless house with the newly decorated kitchen, and it felt so empty. Still we thought we will not have another pet. We had been more or less confined to quarters for some years because we would not put Dougal in kennels once he had his arthritis. Perhaps now, we thought , we may be able to get away somewhere during the coming Summer.
I was sitting here one afternoon, just writing a little, and looking online when an advert popped up for Cat’s Protection league. We had lived with several cats over the years ( I won’t say owned as one never owns a Cat!), but we had not had a Cat in the house for over seventeen years. I started to browse the site, and read about what it is that Cat’s Protection do. I thought I would give them a call just to have a chat about how it all works if one was to adopt a Cat, maybe we would think about that some long time down the line, I thought. I left a message with my number, and to be honest I thought I may hear back from someone after the new year.
Half an hour later A lady called me back, she was very friendly and chatty, and said that she would give me the number of the person who runs our local group. At this point my husband came in, he had been into Town to buy his newspaper. I told him what I had done, and showed him the website. He said to me that I may as well call the local lady, just to get details. We both thought that they would probably not be re homing anything around Christmas in any case as it can be a time of year when people take on a pet without really thinking of the long term commitment.
I called the number, and once again left a message. It wasn’t long before I had a call from Claire who runs our local branch. I told her a little about us, and our situation, explaining that I was just asking really how it all works. She went on to tell me that she had a kitten, the only one left which she had been unable to re home. We had actually been thinking of maybe taking an older cat, and at some time in the future. As Claire told me more about the kitten, and that she would have to go to a home with no Children or other pets as she was very shy, I began to warm to the idea! I said to her that I needed to have a chat with my Husband, and would get back to her shortly.
As we sat and talked we both felt that this was meant to be. The fact that I had accidentally come across the Charity’s website, the fact that we had just lost Dougal at the very time that this kitten was the only one left at the centre, and seemingly not the easiest one to find a place for. It seemed to us that she was destined to be here with us.
I called Claire back and told her that we would be delighted to take her. She seemed surprised that we didn’t even want to go and have a look at her first. She told me that someone had called the kitten Raquel, just as a name to put on the documentation. The strange thing is we had decided on a name right away, it just came into my head, again as though it was meant to be! “ We will call her Alice” I told Claire.
Almost before we knew what was happening Claire said that she would bring Alice to us the next afternoon, and that they would lend us a pen.
I was a bit surprised that she had suggested a pen, we have used them in the past sometimes for puppies, but never for a cat, anyway I said nothing and went along with it. All in the space of a few hours it seemed that we were to be welcoming a new addition to the home only the next day.
That evening we veered between being excited at the thought of Alice’s arrival, and dismayed that we maybe rushed into this, and perhaps should have more sense!
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