Thursday, August 25, 2005

Farewell to Tonic

Tonic, our cat... brother of Gin... died yesterday. He had been having a little trouble breathing for some time, but it had got to the point where he could not curl up anymore, and he was sleeping outside at night, because the air was fresher.

Dad took him in for an X Ray in the morning, and we waited... hoping that it would just be a build up of fluids. It was not to be. Unfortunately he had a growth, the size of a golf ball on one of his lungs. As Tonic was still heavily sedated, the vet called Dad at work and asked for permission to put him to sleep there and then (there was nothing that could be done and it would have been cruel to let him come round... just so that he could be finished off later). Dad agreed, and Tonic: mighty hunter of birds, rodents and bats... now rests with his fathers.

I shall miss him. I said goodbye to him in the morning (just in case) and told him, not to worry because God would look after him if anything happened. Trust me, he knew his time was up, both of the cats knew. Ginny had been grooming him all week, and that wasn't normal... he usually wouldn't stand for much of that. Also, Tonic hated the vets, the mere sight of a basket would send him into a frenzy; yet, when dad brought the basket round yesterday Tonic serenely allowed him to lift him inside... with no fuss whatsoever. I think he knew his journey in life was nearing it's end... and he was ready to go... there was no fear, just a calm acceptance... time to go home. Animals seem to be more in tune with that sort of thing than we are.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of my best memories of him.

He always used to sit on the doorstep and wait for me and dad to come home. Once , when he was relatively young... I had just come home from a weekend break... and I felt a searing pain in my leg, back and shoulder.... Tonic had run up the entire length of me and sat on my shoulder. He was also an outrageous fiend! He used to go round all the neighbour's houses, eat any of their pet's food and sleep in their beds. He totally lived the life of Riley! He was a complete bounder!

Ginny has always been the more nervy cat, bolting around loud noises or surprises... but it was always Tonic who suffered for things, despite being laid back. In his time, he was knocked down by a Land Rover... fracturing his leg and jaw, jumped off a roof to escape a massive, violent cat that hadn't been neutered... spraining his leg badly in the process; but by far, his most bizarre injury was in the late summer of one year. Somehow, he had managed to sniff up a seed... and it had taken root in the lining deep inside his left nostril. We only noticed it when it had grown long enough out of his nose for us to see, by which time he was incredibly irritable... poor blighter. The vet nearly had to resort to cutting his nose open to get at it, but fortunately after several attempts with the forceps... she managed to get the thing out of him. It was an inch and a half in length altogether!

He was always bringing something in that he had caught. He used to sit on the garage roof and swat down bats. One night, he even sat beneath a tree eyeing up an owl for supper (didn't give a second thought to the idea the owl might have been doing the very same thing to him!) Once he brought in a pigeon... nothing spectacular in that you might think, but when we took it off him and binned it, back he came two minutes later with another. This circle of events repeated several times until someone tracked him to a neighbour's house. The neighbour had been killing pigeons and had a utility truck full of their corpses! That, to a cat has to be the ultimate meal ticket!

So those are a few glimpses into the life and times of Tonic. It's better to remember him as he was, than to dwell on the last few days of his suffering.

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