Honouring our angels – never to be forgotten

The Mexicans believe that we must not forget those who have left us. It is their practice to talk about their deceased ancestors and pass down all these stories to the next generation.

I’ll like to honour our angels too and these are not all of them. Except for Rio, I have not included the ones who had been adopted and the adopter had kept touch with me and informed me when they passed away (this would be Rex, Raven, Wii, Baggy and Baloo).

Here are our angels…

All of them still live on in our hearts and we remember all the sweet memories and everything they have taught us.

Tiger was the ever-caring and mild-mannered cat, best friend to Tabs. I remember one Chinese New Year, Tiger and Tabs did their cat version of the lion dance to the sound of the drums! He was also a very non-violent cat who lived amongst and survived the ferocity of our warriors! In the end, Tiger “waited” for after Jia-Wen’s wedding to go. He was already in a bad state, but he waited and did not show me any signs. Maybe he knew I was busy with the wedding. So considerate and loving of him.

Heidi was our taiji-cat and also our kitchen-cat. I will never forget the day she came to our house. She was at our gate, as though she was waiting for me. Then, when I went out, she followed me inside and went straight into the kitchen! And stayed there. I think she was a former pet because she had already been spayed but without the ear-notch. Luckily our vet told me to observe her for two weeks to see if she would come on heat. She did not. She wasn’t very sociable with other cats, but she was affectionate in her own way to us. There was once Heidi went back to the wrong house after a taiji session. She sometimes followed us back, but sometimes she would hang around at the park and come back on her own. This time, she had mistakenly gone “back” to the wrong house, which was located 180 degrees away from ours. We went house to house looking for her, calling for her. Finally, a little head popped out of the small gate in that house and it was…Heidi!

Mr Zurik was also our taiji-cat and a much-feared warrior initially. I suspect Timmy ran away from home because of the territorial competition between the two of them. But at the end, Mr Zurik was also a very affectionate cat. He also waited for after my birthday before he left us. I was deciding whether to go on to my first-and-only taiji competition or to stay home with him. But he chose to pass on the evening before. Mr Zurik passed away in my arms. The next day, I went for the competition and won a bronze and silver for him.

Hiro was such a sweet little thing; he was Jayden’s friend. Although he only spent 37 days with us, those 37 days were willed with so much joy. Misty brought Hiro to us one night. He was having severe flu and a collapsed lung. Miraculously, Hiro recovered from this and had many happy days with us. Unfortunately, Misty is FIV+ and she must have passed this virus on to Hiro. Hiro developed IMHA and could not be saved. But he spent his last days very meaningfully with us. For one so small, he left a very lasting and unforgettable impact in our lives.

Vincent was a very resilient cat who refused to give up when the vet said he was already going to die “anytime”. He found his unique way of telling me what he could eat when he had very, very bad tongue ulcers and was skin and bones. He was my first CKD cat. A change of vet and protocols turned him around and he went on to gain weight too. I went overboard and did “everything” for him including having a nasal tube inserted so that he could eat during his final weeks. At the end of it, all that was left to do was another dental scaling as his gum inflammation was really, really bad. The vet and I decided to make a go for it and we agreed on DNR as well as Vincent had already miraculously outlived his days by then. That evening, I explained everything to Vincent and why we decided to let him have the dental scaling. Early next morning, I found him on the bathroom floor, in a very, very peaceful state. His body was still warm. I think he decided to “go” as he “knew” the anaesthesia would have killed him and maybe, he didn’t want me to carry that guilt. I believe that’s what happened. He loved me so much…until the end. And beyond.

Pole was always so sweet but also have her adorable Dory ways! Cow Mau, Bunny and Pole were my very first rescues and I was ignorant about getting her spayed at 4.5 months. I “kesian” her being still so young, so I waited. By 7 months, she had already got pregnant, but was in a very early stage. The vet advised to do an abortion but I didn’t agree. So Pole gave birth to Wolf, Cleo and Pans. The funny thing is, Wolf was born first beside our piano. Then, Pole went upstairs into Ming-Yi’s wardrobe and subsequently gave birth to Cleo and Pans there. But by then, she had forgotten about Wolf being left downstairs beside the piano. So, I carried Wolf up to join Cleo and Pans. Pole was right there when I did that. She was feeding all three of them and I thought all was well. Little did I know, the next morning, Pole frantically came downstairs to look for Wolf! She didn’t know Wolf was already upstairs and she had been feeding him all night with the rest! That was her first Dory moment. From our old house, Pole also went missing once. For 4 days. We searched all over our road and the back alley but could not find her. After 4 days, she came back on her own, a little thinner and shed tears (but cats don’t cry, I read). We were so relieved she came back but will never know what happened in those 4 days when she was gone. Perhaps it was another Dory moment?

Rosie was one of Daffodil’s surviving kittens. She grew up on the street until about she was 1 year old when we moved to this neighbourhood. Then, a turn of events brought her, Ginger and Daffodil to our house and the whole family lived with us as CNRM-cats. We spent a lot of time, especially when I was sewing blankets. Rosie and Daffodil were my very able assistants!

Daffodil is still hailed as the “best mother-cat” who had graced our lives and our home. Her family were living at the playground until Ginger was injured by Mr Quack and Ginger somehow made his way to our patio and sat himself in our cage, waiting and asking to be treated. I took him to the vet’s and he had a serious paw injury. So I had to confine him in the cage to administer the antibiotics for 2 weeks. During this time, Daffodil braved herself and visited her son every day to check on him. That is why Rosie and Daffodil came to live with us and trust us. There was a most memorable incident where Daffodil and Ginger were in our house compound but a large truck passed by. The sound of the engine frightened Daffodil and she quickly ran off along the ledge, but suddenly, she stopped in her tracks and came back. We will never forget what she did when she rushed back. She came back to take Ginger along with her to safety! Mother-cat-of-the-year!

Rio was one of the Monsters. He was of the same colour and markings as Rey and Robin and it was very hard to tell them apart. When he was young, I nicknamed him Speedy Gonzales because he zoomed around very fast. He spent 6 months with us but later, he liked to isolate himself and didn’t play much with the rest, always preferring to sleep. Maybe he had some congenital weakness in him, we will never know.

Bobby – Uncle Bobby! Our greatest hero of all time! I did our first rescue when Bobby was 10 years old and he actually helped me nurse Cow, Bunny and Pole. Subsequently, he helped in every single rescue case. He let all the little kittens sleep on his body, providing them with warmth. They all loved him so much. There was once when he was a bit rough on Bunny and Bunny played dead (pretended). Bobby was so shocked, he yelped for help and rushed to call me. I went to look and Bunny got up and walked away! There was once when Bobby escaped from the house too. I drove all over looking for him and actually found him but he was in panic mode and galloping like a horse. He was even sighted as far as the oxidation pond by a neighbour. After many failed attempts to try to catch him, I finally just came home (after distributing leaflets to every household) and waited with our gate wide open. After 7 hours, suddenly Bobby popped his head through the window grille and jumped into the house. He was back!! Till today, I am amazed how he found his way home. Bobby became blind in his old age. During this time, Tiger, Bunny and Cow Mau looked after him. And when Bobby passed away, all our cats formed a guard of honour around him. For all the good he had done, Bobby deserved a hero’s send-off.

Bunny was one of our warrior-cats along with Cow Mau and Indy. We always think that Bunny was the youngest amongst his siblings (Cow Mau and Pole) simply because he was the least independent of the three. When they were first rescued, the vet said the chances are survival were very low because they were probably only 1 day old, left on the wet grass beside the road and had no mother. So I gave them BIG name, ie. Cow, Yeti and Polar (Bear). But Yeti (Bunny) started hopping around like a little rabbit, so I changed his name to Bunny! Bunny was FIV+ and this was discovered when he was about 3 years old and I offered him as a blood donor to the nearby clinic when a little kitten needed blood for a surgery. Bunny was tested and found to be FIV+ so he could not donate blood. In his old age, Bunny became blind, like Bobby. But he managed to get around remarkably well with his sense of smell.

Cleo was the Queen! While her uncles were the warriors, Cleo was the queen. Even her warrior uncles were afraid of her and wouldn’t want to cross swords with her! She would only eat leftovers by Cow or anyone else who had eaten (and did not die of poison!). She was very defensive and suspicious, preferring to keep to herself and protect herself. But as she aged, she warmed up to us and ended up as a very affectionate cat too.

Puffin was one of our first pets. I was 8 years old when Puffin came into our lives, living in Kampar. He graced our lives for 14 years and was well-known and loved for his “cheng-cheng” where he would sit on his hind legs and with clapsed front paws, moved them in a “praying” fashion. Actually, we know it was his way of balancing himself! But everybody adored him for this!

Remirth came as a companion for Puffin. She became my mother’s loyal and ever faithful bodyguard. Wherever my mother went, Remirth would be there, sitting next to her bedroom slippers. Remirth’s passing came about 2 months after Puffin left us. Her passing was a very poignant moment which I would never forget. Her mother was still at work (teaching). We knew Remirth was already near her end (she had stomach cancer) so I called my mother and asked her to come back quickly. She did. My mother made it in time to see Remirth off. Before she drew her last breath, she actually turned to look at me, my father and my mother. One last look at everyone who loved her. Then, she was gone. Gone, but never forgotten.

Mac was adopted together with Bobby from a vet who ran a pet store. While Bobby got along with cats, he simply could not get along with Mac, so the two had to be separated or else there would have been endless of fights between them, vicious ones too. Mac was a cute little guy and was Ming-Yi’s loyal companion. When the cats came, he got along with the cats very well too.

Pans was one of Pole’s kittens (along with Wolf and Cleo). Pans was the youngest. There was once we were alarmed when Pans seemed to be dragging his tummy on the floor. We rushed him off to the vet’s only to be told it’s his tummy along with fat and extra skin!

Suki was rescued by a friend and brought to me for fostering. She was a very cute and crafty little kitten and used to have many coup-de-tat episodes with Bobby, tricking Bobby into giving up the rocking chair for her! She really endeared herself to all of us.

Kimba came one night from our back alley, covered with fleas. He formed an instant bond with me. The bond was unexpected, unexplainable but cherished. Kimba and Indy were about the same age so they bonded and were the best of friends. I remember one time when both of them brought back a dead rat to play!

Bosco came on his own to our house and joined our patio cats. He too formed a very special and unique bond with me. I will always think of Bosco when I hear birds singing in our park in the quiet afternoons even till this day. Bosco used to sit with me on the sofa, just listening to the birds and enjoying that quiet time together.

Vixey was a very, very special kitten. We rescued Vixey and her brother Wii (subsequently adopted by my friend) from a rubbish heap at the playground. Shortly after, Vixey suddenly had a seizure one evening and I rushed her to the clinic. The vet diagnosed it as brain degeneration. Vixey was born with that congenital condition. She would be a pygmy kitten whose brain would degenerate very quickly. Because of this, she couldn’t grow big in size. She remained very small sized throughout. During her final months, she had trouble defecating and we had to give her enemas every day. She was so considerate that she would quickly run out to the garden after the enema to do her business there. Only after that would she come back into the house. Even though she only lived for 2 years, during this time, she brought up Indy, Suki and Creamy & Crackers. She thought Indy and Suki how to use the toilet too. She was a leader in her own right. We nicknamed her Yoda, because she was as wise as the great Star Wars sage. Nobody dared to bully Vixey in our house. She held her own, like Yoda.

Wherever our dearest angels are now, we will never ever forget all of you and the sweet memories you left behind. We will also never forget the lessons you taught us by simply being who you are.

From stardust to stardust, until the next Big Bang!





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