Yesterday our boy lost the last of his nine lives and went over Rainbow Bridge.
I can’t begin to tell you just how devastated we are right now. Of course I’m well aware some people might think he’s just a pet, but to us he was our baby, our little boy.
I don’t want to linger on the details, but the vet thinks he may have been hit by a car. Whatever happened, he sustained a spinal injury and whilst the vets were incredible, Rog just couldn’t find the strength to fight the pain and keep going.
I am incredibly grateful that he made it home, that we didn’t have to spend days looking for him. I am also grateful that the vet rang us in time that we could hold his paw and kiss his beautiful ginger head while he made his journey over the bridge. We told him how much we loved him and that he would always be the best boy in the world. I’m pretty sure he heard us as he slipped away, leaving us utterly bereft.
He was, indeed, a character. He put us in some majorly embarrassing situations over the years – we often said it was like having an ASBO teenager in the family.
We should have known right from the beginning. When we took him to the vets for his little boy operation, the vet asked if I’d ever owned a ginger cat before. My response was well, do you ever own a cat? But yes, I’ve always had cats. She shook her head ‘No’ she said ‘a ginger tom is a completely different experience’. Never a truer word.
When he was still quite young and I was laid up at home after my first melanoma operation in 2004, I got a call from my friend who lived around the corner. It was the run up to Halloween and a big bonfire was being built. Roger was supervising! OH was dispatched to retrieve him. Rog was furious.
When we first moved to Yorkshire there was a cricket field about half a mile away. I lost count of the amount of calls I would get saying Rog was down there, watching the cricket. He had such refined tastes!
He was a wicked cat burglar and broke into several houses. Our first neighbour in Dublin told us he was having brekkie one morning – superquinn sausages no less – looked down, and there was Rog waiting for his share.
In a more unfortunate incident, he broke in to our neighbours & took a little snooze. When they discovered him he tried to leg it but in his panic he managed to trash their kitchen and break their bread maker. Thankfully they forgave him.
Another time, he sneaked into a nearby holiday home that had just been cleaned ready for new residents that evening. They found him asleep on the lovely white duvet where he had covered both beds in lovely muddy paws. To be fair, they had left the window open, so they were pretty much asking for it….
He was a master surgeon and often treated us to the most revolting little piles of entrails from some unfortunate bird or mousey. On the run up to Easter one year, he dragged in the back half of a hare through the cat flap. By the time we discovered it, he had spread it round the kitchen like a scene from a horror film. He was most offended when we weren’t delighted. It was, afterall, the Easter Bunny!
He was a fierce fighter. Mostly his fights were lots of rude words shouted at top volume but a family moved in near us who had two older gingers. We had heard a few fights but they eventually stopped and we assumed an agreement had been found. It later transpired that the two gingers had gone to live with their granny as the vet had advised they wouldn’t survive another beating. We hung our heads in shame – Roger did not.
I can count on one hand the amount of uninterrupted nights sleep I’ve had in 16 years. He would like nothing better than to wake me around 5am, demanding his breakfast. If I didn’t respond quick enough a heavy paw would smack me round the head or maybe a bit of a bite. My work mates will certainly remember me coming to work with a cut eyebrow from a well placed gingie bite.
But for all his antics, he could also be incredibly loving. Never a lap-cat, he loved nothing better than stretching out next to us on the sofa or wedging between us in bed. He would puff out his fluffy chest a bit further when his daddy told him how handsome he was or how gorgeous he smelled when he’d been out in the moonlight.
I started tweeting for Rog back in 2009 and somehow we ended up in a gang made up of doggies, no other cats. This lead to numerous hilarious conversations about who was better, dogs or cats. Rog also ended up a reluctant mascot for Woofstock which is a fabulous festival for dogs in Devon. Much as he pretended he was disgusted, he was secretly delighted – always the diva.
I could keep telling these stories for hours but for now we are locking up the catflap tonight. We can’t bring ourselves to clear away all the toys or the dreaded radiator bed (that he would never use) just yet.
I’ve no doubts that, just like the catflap, we will open our hearts again to another fur baby eventually. But for now, we are heart broken. Our lives revolved around our little boy and he knew it. Just like the ad, he was worth it.