This is a biography/obituary of one of our cats, Esme (officially Esmeralda) who died on Thursday 13th September 2012. If you don’t like cats, I would recommend not reading this. Even if you are cat crazy; most of this post will only be of interest to my wife or I being as it is a collection of memories and events. We are hoping to use it as a type of permanent record of her Esme’s life with us, though of course there are pictures! I may even get Laura to write something down here as well. I have also written about Esme a couple of times before which you can read here and here
I had, at that time – 1 cat (Besi – also a rescue cat) and wanted company for him whilst I was out. I collected her on the 26th January 2008, from a RSPCA ‘foster home’ in Little Lever, Bolton. On the phone, the RSPCA said she was four and called ‘Sparky’ due to her being found on an electrical field close-by. When I picked her up, she was recovering from: seemingly a lifetime of being under-fed: (before being rescued by the RSPCA) had most of her teeth knocked out; and was suffering from a skin condition on her face that made her go bald and bleed. This did not matter, she was perfect! She purred instantly and I was smitten. So I took her and home she came. She was renamed as ‘Sparky’ was a stupid name. I called her Esmeralda after Granny Weatherwax I soon came to realise a few things:
- Cats don’t really need company, especially other cat company.
- Esme was not 4 as I had been told on the phone. She probably wasn’t even 8 as they had mentioned in the paperwork. At best 10, could be over 12 was how the vet described her.
- Esme was the perfect example of ‘suitable for a home without other pets or children’
She settled in almost perfectly with me, and a few boundary issues aside, with Besi. She also once swiped at my face when I moved her whilst she was sleeping which resulted in a nice deep cut across the bridge of my nose almost clawing my eyes, but that aside…
I thought I should share some of Esme’s more pleasant traits, facts and life-events rather than present her life in true chronological form. So…:
- Sitting on the neighbours fence and winding their dog up so much, that EVERY time it ended up being dragged inside by its owner
- Refuse to get down from the fence unless it was by me picking her up and bringing her in.
- Had the brightest eyes I have even seen on a cat. Probably the most intelligent cat I knew.
- Once stealing bacon from a pan as it was being cooked
- She hated Laura’s laugh. She bit her face once for making too much noise. It was pretty funny
- Once stealing chicken out of curry that was being cooled
- On Laura’s first evening round to watch a film (Monster House I think), Esme was giving out such negative and hateful vibes that Laura was afraid to sit on the couch with Esme behind her (lay out the top of the couch). We swapped places and ever since then I have sat (and slept) on the left and Laura on the right.
- Would try to eat and beg for anything food related. Often the cry could be heard ‘Esme its fucking Kidney Beans!’
- Some of her more infamous foods have been: raw broccoli; flamin’ hot Monster Munch; gherkins from a burger; pizza-slice taken from the box; sweetcorn; Doritos; sweet and sour duck;
- Having a trick of ‘bear cat’ where to sneak in a stroke she would stand on her hind legs and head-butt our hand.
- Purring just by being sat near one of us
- Once knocked the remains of a roast chicken (that was on a plate covered by a microwaveable bowl) off the side and was happily gnawing on it when we rushed into the kitchen wondering what the noise was about.
- Having to ‘tell me’ every time she went outside for more than a minute. Often whilst I was trying to play PS3
- ‘Koala –ing’ – where in held in a ‘cradle’ position she would hook on to my arm with her front paws. She did this for the first time after about a week of being here. The last time she did it (the last time I held her) she looked at me and I broke.
- For the first six months after Laura moved in, without fail, Esme (who use to sleep at the foot of the bed) would suddenly get really grumpy. This would last about 30 minutes and then she would be back to normal
- Once turned up with a mini-sausage. No idea where it came from, I thought it was a thumb initially!
- Went through a phase of licking eye-lids when she wanted to wake us.
Sadly, age and her life prior to us began to catch up. The vet thought she may have had cancer at one point, but that turned out to be a case of moron from the vet. She did have hyperthyroidism and her movement began to get very limited. She began to stop going out, and then in the past few weeks, not to even attempt the stairs or pretty much leave her basket. A once vibrant, mischievous, and far-too-smart-for-my-liking cat began to fade until we decided that whatever had happened was untreatable and her time had come. To keep her going for any longer would have been the cruellest and most selfish thing we could have done, and putting her to sleep was simply a kindness to her and the only responsible course of action. This was the hardest decision had ever come to, and was grateful Laura was there to support me. Esme is at peace, and once the initial grief and shock had passed, we knew we had done the right thing.
Her age was never an issue for me. I was annoyed at being lied to, but once I saw her, I was never going to return her. She enriched mine, and subsequently our lives and hopefully we did the same to her. To paraphrase something Mike, my friend and work colleague, said we gave her a great retirement and considering how bad shape she was in I got her, the best years of her life. And that is the most important thing.
Good night chick.
From Laura (AKA Mrs Cook)
Our little Esme (aka Esmeroopoo/Moop/Old Lady Es) and I may not have got off to the best of starts but we were soon getting on famously. She was, without doubt, the most intelligent cat I’ve ever met. If she’d wanted to she could have ruled the world, but she chose instead to fill her days contentedly sitting on fleecey blankets, sleeping, eating, self-purring, lounging in sunbeams, and occasionally lashing out at the other cats to reaffirm that she was the boss. Which she definitely was – I wasn’t allowed to laugh too loud for too long before she came over and gave me a warning and then a bloody good telling off!
She was also very, very loving, enjoying a nice long sit on a lap and demanding attention (and food) every chance she could. It was horrible seeing her deteriorate, but she became very weak and started to let us know that she was ready to go. By the end she kept only to her little “granny flat” under the kitchen table, and that just wasn’t like our little Es at all. We miss her. She was one in a million. We’re so glad we did the right thing by her and I stroked her right up until the end. She loved strokes J.
So long chick, love you.