Yesterday, Nou died. He was Tiny's sister, and lived four three and a half more years. Because he didn't eat everything in sight and blow up.
I first met Nou, well, pretty much when he first met world. His mother, Elsie, gave birth to him (I think he was the third of five) and exhausted, rolled over. I had to gently reach under an irritable mummy-cat, cup my hand around him, and pull him free.
I also took the opportunity to gently tug his ears. I guess that's why he never minded me doing that.
Talking of tugging, a gentle tug on the cat handle would make him basically fall over, roll onto his side, and then expect to be petted. Nou and I did that too. A lot.
Instead, his health started to decline as he aged. He seemed to have trouble seeing in one eye (a stroke?) and he also had a weird broken rib that seemed as if it was back to front - but since he didn't seem to be in pain we left it. He wouldn't survive a visit to the vet - the last time he went (about 12 years ago) he freaked out so much he concussed himself, put a nice crack in a glazed door, and needed to be tranquillised. Nou says HELL NO and as the puny humans, we had no choice but to respect his wishes.
The other day, when I did my advent calendar video, he came to meet me by the front of the house. But he was lethargic, sometimes drooling (he wasn't a drooler), and having trouble balancing. I took him some extra-special food because, hey, he's my guardian.
He ate about half of it. And that was the last thing he ate. It was a swift decline (sound familiar?) and I left him alone because I got the feeling that he didn't want me around at the end. I came home from work and... yup... He'd gone. Gone to go look after mom.
Too damned soon.
Those of you who look at the pictures and watch the videos will know Nou. He's the sturdy sort-of-black (but white but red but brown but what-the-hell) cat with the different-coloured eyes who usually found ways to shamelessly insert himself into the photos, the videos, and sometimes just to push the camera away so I can spend some Cat Time instead of doing stupid things like taking photos to put on a website.
And it wasn't just because he wanted fed. He'd eat, then he'd come sit by me.
Or check on what his humans were up to (and was it something interesting?).
He'd meet the car at the property boundary (how did he know?) and would lead us home. When it was me with my car, it took about a week for him to associate the racket with "the box that brings this human home". And he'd lead me back.
He was a fun cat.
Here I am listening to some '80s CDs I got on promotion from Amazon. Look at his head. There's a pebble on it. When I put it there, his eyes rolled up, to let me know that he was quite aware that I'd put a pebble on his head. And he left it there, walking around with it for several minutes before it fell off when he lay down.
He kept the place free of small squeaky rodents.
He kept me company all summer when I was on holiday and by myself as mom was in hospital.
And when mom fell and needed help, mom didn't need to reach for the walkie-talkie to call me, Nou (who was at the far end of the driveway) came and told me. How did he know? I have no idea, but he knew. And he told me.
I'm going to miss him. Wawa is an indoor cat, but Nou was The Guardian Of The House (and its assorted humans).
I'm going to miss him.
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