Wednesday 10 July 2019

A Eulogy To A Cat...

Gary was left outside our house. At first we thought he was a lost kitten, and we printed off big photos and put up posters looking for his owner. No-one rang and we were sad for an imaginary young family of children or elderly lady pining for her cat.

When he arrived, despite the fact I had a strong dislike for cats, Gary was determined he was at the right place. He knew how soft I am really and he knew he could break me down. I think he knew everything. Cats are smarter than we realise.

Thing is, he was really scared of outdoors and he really didn't want to go back out. He stayed with me all day, following me around the house and climbing onto my knee whenever I sat down. His eyes barely left mine and I chatted away to him the same as I did with my toddlers. Sometimes he even replied.

No-one ever came forward to claim Gary - who was named Gary by our youngest "because that's his name". We fed him boring dry food and left the door open for him to leave, but he didn't. He even went to the toilet inside - in the actual toilet (or the bath). It's one of the things I particularly liked about him.

After a week the boys felt like Gary had been with us forever, and his complete compliance to be carried about and snuggled tightly only added to that. I admitted he was probably abandoned and relented to letting him have a bed at the end of my bed. He slept by my feet anyway, never woke me before 7am and we had tons of cardboard boxes, which seemed to be his favourite place to sleep.

It was a big learning curve for me. Previously my main knowledge about cats consisted of the percentage knocked over by cars and that they leave hidden messages other people's gardens. When Gary fell out of the bedroom window the first time it taught me 2 things. The first is that cats really can fall a long way and be okay. The second was that I cared about him. I got to the door at the same time as he did and he leapt into my arms. We were both trembling.  The second time he fell out of the bedroom window taught me cats always go to sleep in ridiculous places and don't always learn.

We had definitely won a cat. It was a couple of months before we realised we had won a very poorly cat.

Gary couldn't always pee, and the lovely vet diagnosed him with a condition he'd been born with - a tiny penis. He wasn't a kitten, he was a very small adult cat, and he had probably been abandoned by our house because we live near a church and he was ill.

I'm not a person who ever shirks responsibility. If I've taken something on, I don't abandon it. Over the next few weeks he had 3 separate operations to unblock his tackle before the vet said it was enough, and really he had to be put to sleep. We just couldn't afford repeat operations like that either, and it was hard on all of us. Gary stared me in the eyes, imploring me to make it better. He ate tablets on demand and never ever struck out to scratch, however much pain he was in. He deserved another chance and the internet saved him. And Sim.

Sim had given me a lift to the vets. She didn't like cats either, but she couldn't sit by. The internet really is made of cats, and cat-lovers. Information about cats with their willies removed had reached us, and I'd discussed it with Sim. She leapt out of her chair, held up her hand and shouted "woooah".

The next day Gary had no penis and was recovering well.

I had written about Gary on the blog a few times, and people liked him. He had his supporters and I think everyone realised just how much we were spending on our adopted house mate. I admit, it was crippling us. I was busy doing sign-in at BlogOn Conference when that changed.

We always held a raffle for a good cause, but we also had a 50p lucky dip. Alice and Laura had arranged for this to be in aid of Gary. I cried. Then I went to start signing people in and it got even crazier.

My phone started beeping with PayPal payments of £2, £3, £3.50. I couldn't begin to understand what was going on. It was much later, when I got a notification to say I'd been mentioned in a Facebook group, that I discovered Emma had told people about Gary and asked them if they wanted to donate the cost of their morning coffee. It was such an amazing gesture. I barely even knew her.

I'd had to negotiate with the vet that I paid for Gary's snip job over 3 months because I couldn't afford it all on the day. The money raised by the Lucky Dip and on PayPal meant I was able to go immediately and pay almost the whole of the rest of my account off, and I'll be eternally grateful. I still owe you all a coffee.

Life with Gary settled down. He got a bit braver and went outside, but he barely left our garden, preferring instead to hide under a bush and stare at the birds. He is responsible for the demise of 3, and we saved 2 more who were injured. He got 4 rats though, including one half his size, which we are pretty certain he just pretended he had killed for the glory.

He had great skills at chasing a ball and bringing it back, walking to heel and answering his own name. I'm naturally more of a dog person. He could also recognise the sound of Dreamies being opened from about a million yards away.

He loved his box bed and slept in it every single night, once he'd toured the house to check that everyone was safe from dangerous bits of string or tissues, and killer moths.

He was never 100% right though. Every now and again he'd get sore, or something would scare him, and he'd struggle to wee. Over the past few months this became more frequent, and he became more tired. He seemed older and he didn't want to play ball any more.

As we came home from a fantastic weekend at Timber Festival we'd had a message to say he wasn't right and we could clearly see that when we arrived home. He didn't jump out from the hedge and skip across the lawn like he used to. He had hidden himself right at the back and we had to pick him up to bring him out from the undergrowth. We all knew why he'd gone there.

I'll never be a crazy cat lady, but I'll always be thankful that Gary found us, and with the help of you lot, we were able to give him 3 1/2 mainly incredibly happy years.

He didn't survive the night, but he died peacefully, fully dosed on painkillers. Yesterday we buried him in his favourite spot, where he can watch the birds forever, safe in the knowledge he arrived when we all needed some extra love, and he taught us well.

If you like light-hearted reading about cats, or animals called Gary, here are the other posts in which he really was a star: 

My Pet Story (Sponsored post)
Date night With My Cat (Sponsored post)

I've repeated myself in this post, I know that, but it's been 3 years. Sorry if you read something you read before, and thank you if you ever sent a message, had a go on the lucky dip or gave up a coffee to help save a stranger's cat. 


  1. Goodnight Gary you crazy diamond. You were loved little one x

  2. Oh no! Gary was one of the best parts of the internet. I’m not going to tell Alan - it’s just too sad. Sending love to you all.

  3. So sad to read this. Sending you hugs Jenny. Thank you for not giving up on Gary and letting him live out his days obviously very contented x

  4. Jen. I have tears. That cat came when you needed him. And tou looked after him. He heloed to heal tour family just a little bit. I have 6 buried in my garden. All with their own stone statues x you'll miss him tons xx

  5. Oh no this is so sad - so sorry for your loss! I'm so glad that Gary had an amazing few years with a wonderful family. xxx

  6. I still remember that day he arrived like it was yesterday... you telling me that a cat had arrived and me being in disbelief as this little black furry ball made himself at home. I recall the door being open for him to leave and how he didn't take the hint. I am so noone claimed him - he needed you, you needed him! I cannot believe it has been 3 and a half years though, he truly was just part of the furniture and used to greet me in the garden or by the door when I rocked up. Not knowing whether he wanted to go outside and then wanting to come back in a minute later. He was an awesome cat who certainly made use of his 9 lives! What a plonker falling out of the window for the second time! Here's to Gary... he will be missed! Sleep tight little fella x Sim xxx

  7. :( sending big love to all of you xxx

  8. Oh my, oh my, oh my....Gary The Cat would have been so grateful for all the love and care you gave him. Big hugs coming your way x

  9. I remember Gary from Blog On and whilst it’s heartbreaking he’s gone, it’s so lovely that his life for the past three years were filled with absolutely nothing but love and that’s what he passed away feeling - pure unadulterated love 💕💕 RIP Gary x

  10. As a self proclaimed crazy cat lady with 10, yes 10, Bengal and Bengal cross cats that own me, you are amazing for giving Gary a loving home with plenty of dreamies to enjoy. RIP Gary x

  11. Oh Jenny, I'm so sorry to read this! Poor Gary. He knew when you needed him. Perhaps he knew now that you are all so much stronger now and he had fulfilled his purpose ❤️

  12. Oh no! I am so sorry! I remember when you first homed him. He was one lucky cat to be looked after by you. Sending love and hugs x

  13. We had to have our rescue cat of 17 years put to sleep in January - very hard thing to do! As they say, cats leave pawprints on your heart. RIP Gary, you will be sorely missed by all.

  14. Oh noooo, not Gary 😭 I know he found the best family for him. And I know he’ll be missed. Huge hugs to you all x

  15. Night God bless Gary. He will always be my favourite internet kitty x

  16. So sorry to read about Gary. xxx

  17. Oh Jen what a wonderful 3 1/2 years Gary got with you and your family, he sounds like such an amazing little soul. He certainly found his people when he rocked up at your door. Sending lots of love xx

  18. oh no, I'm so sorry. I think Gary was a much loved cat not only by his adopted family but the wider blogging community. I'm so glad he got to spend some happy years with you. #GNUGary We will always remember you xx

  19. Sending you love and hugs. Gary was a legend and I am so pleased you brought each other so much love.

  20. Oh lovely I am so so sorry. Gary was such a wonderful cat and I am glad you will have these memories of him. So much love & Hugs x

  21. Oh, no. I'm so sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful, funny and loving boy.


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