Prince Harry

by Jenny

We had to say goodbye to Harry in June, so 3 months ago.
I thought I would be better about it by now, but I'm not.

Sadly, we'd had to put our other cat down this time last year. Tiny had been a rescue cat 4 times over - she had been to the Cat Shelter twice before a dearly loved neighbour who volunteered there had rescued her from death row. She lived with our neighbor happily for a decade until his wife left him and he had to sell his home and leave, so we took Tiny in. She was so named because despite her age, she was still kitten sized. She had suffered a brain injury in utero ( her Mum was probably kicked or abused), and she just didn't grow. She also had continuous seizures and twitched a lot, and her balance was very poor. But she had a heart as big as the ocean, and a more gentle, gracious or trusting cat never walked the earth. She had a tiny little purr - so quiet that you really had to listen for it.

My oldest daughter had adopted Harry at 3 months old after he was left behind at the rescue shelter - all the other kittens had found homes, but not him. He had been feral as a kitten, and for many years was standoffish and independent, except with his mistress - he was a one woman cat and they were inseparable soul mates. He had a purr that could jump start a jumbo jet - so loud that you could sometimes hear it in the next room.

Harry was an outdoor cat - we kept him inside at night, but he hated it. He minded everyone else's business and knew everyone in the street, visiting everyone, everyday. He was friends with nearly all the neighborhood dogs and would walk out to our kerb to say hello whenever a friendly human or pet went by. Our yard was his domain and any visiting cats were quickly dispatched.
He was a tough fighter and he was a frequent flyer at the vet with cuts and battle wounds.

Harry was 12 when Tiny turned up. Of course, Tiny was no match for a street wise ginger tom.
But Harry had mellowed a little and we made it clear that we loved him still but that Tiny was welcome, so he tolerated her, and gave her space to relax. It was a peaceful truce.

Eventually my oldest daughter got married and decided it was kinder to leave Harry at home with us than move him to a new domain, given that he was by now 14. So our two cats grew old together, never too close or too far from each other.

Last year, Tiny's problems overwhelmed her and she lost her quality of life. After we put her down, Harry was lost. He no longer had anyone to check up on, and he spent a long, long time continuing to search for her inside and outside - perhaps his memory was fading.

He lost his mojo, and didn't want to be outside much. His bravado and confidence disappears, and he could no longer keep neighboring cats out of his yard. He always wanted to be near me and followed me from room to room as I worked around the home. When I was out, he howled continuously - it drove my husband nuts and he would yell at Harry to "shut up". It seemed as if Harry was always worried about losing more family members.

After a while, we noticed a scab below his eye that wasn't healing, but we were reluctant to carry out the invasive tests that the vet wanted.

Sadly, in June, my husband assaulted me and was subsequently sent for psychiatric treatment for a few weeks thereafter. While he was gone, we decided to have Harry put down, since I could no longer safely leave him in my husband's care while I was out.

As it turned out, Harry had a tumor which had invaded his sinuses, which explained why he had recently started snoring. Maybe the whole thing was a blessing in disguise. Maybe time was up for Harry and my marriage, too, and the universe stepped in to make sure that both of them weren't left to suffer. The vet assured us that Harry wouldn't have been in much pain, apart from the scab on his nose.

I miss him so much.
I miss his happy purr on my bed at night.
I miss his happy purr in the basket next to me when I'm doing paperwork.
I miss him demanding to be be fed as soon as I bring home a BBQ'd chicken.
I miss his warn purr of appreciation on my lap when I'm watching TV.
And I miss dear little Tiny, too, God bless her sweet and gentle soul.

I can't get another pet.
My marriage is failing and sooner or later I will be homeless.
Maybe later. That' will be something to look forward to.

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