He preceded all my children and my husband, the only member of the family to have lived with me in all five of my homes. He was my friend, the most loyal cat in the world.
In fact, in many ways he was more of a dog, with a personality far too big for his not-so-small (once) 7kg frame! He had been ill for a while - and eighteen is a great age for a cat. But knowing it was coming hasn't made it any easier. I have so many memories to treasure, and wanted to record them here to return to in future.
He really did think he was a dog. I remember him sharing our walks - from the early days of following my eldest down the lane near our home - on our train watching expeditions, to the later years when he would forget where he was. But even early on he would only come home from these family treks with me - several times I would have to head back out to find him and bring him home. On one occasion at 9pm in my pyjamas as he had disappeared after something on an earlier walk, then waited patiently for me to collect him!
He was seriously averse to sharing me with anyone - feline or human. I had to re-home two cats as he attacked them persistently when they were too friendly with me! In later years he tolerated, and even enjoyed the company of our current two cats. When my husband to be moved in he sulked for two weeks. I cannot describe how clear this behaviour was - he would sit in front of us with his back to us, refusing to acknowledge Richard's presence!!
Timmy was incredibly fond of my eldest son, who was an only child for his first four years. Timmy was J's friend and companion and partner in crime. Before J was born he tried sleeping in the cot. I therefore bought a cat net and put it over the top to deter him. Not so! My cat thought I had bought him a hammock and he slept there whenever he could sneak in.
It was odd that such a possessive cat (of me) would take to something so utterly dependent on me but from the first they were inseparable and enjoyed many wonderful times.
He wasn't always the easiest of pets. I found him at a rescue centre aged 6 months in October 2006. He had already been rehomed and brought back - too much trouble for his new family. But as a single person with no other pets I had plenty of time for him and his antics. Every night he would have the bin over and go through the rubbish. Or steal my dinner because he had already finished his own. Persistence (on my part) won however and his worst habits gradually went! I think we were well suited, as determined and pig-headed as each other!
Timmy also loved my parents, especially my Mum. He is the only cat I know who could just go and spend Christmas elsewhere, happy to be with those he loved despite different surroundings. He made himself at home, and had mum wrapped around his paw until his last day. He loved her visits, and enjoyed the tasty treats she always brought with her!
Here he is aged 17 (last October) helping himself to some of his favourite treats!
Those pretty spots on his tummy were evidence of the dose of Bengal blood running through his veins. Many is the time I tripped over him when he tried to steer me towards his food cupboard. I've fallen down the stairs more than once because he would shoot through my legs in his excitement to get there first - but I loved his larger than life character.
Once, when I had registered as a Childminder and had a prospective family visiting we looked out into the garden to watch him devour a freshly caught pigeon! Needless to say I never heard back from them!! Another time - we had just moved and brought him back from the cattery where he had been staying. We attempted to keep him in, as you should with all cats when you move house. However, within fifteen minutes he had escaped out of the bathroom window and over the car port - and within FIVE minutes he was back dragging the biggest pigeon you have ever seen under the gate! Unbelievable.
Our vet back then commented that he was a brave animal. We had a few issues with other cats but his injuries were always on his face after fights, the vet commented that he obviously never turned tail and ran. Perhaps he should - a nasty attack more recently by a neighbouring cat as Timmy re-entered our house left him with abcesses in his thigh muscles and he never recovered his mobility fully.
Timmy had a way of being the centre of attention, you could never ignore him. But it was in such a gentle, affectionate way. He made you feel that you were really important to him - my other cats are often indifferent. If I was ill - he was there. Never one to miss an opportunity for a cuddle if I had a (rare) lie-in he would find me for a sleepy cuddle. He needed me as much as I needed him which was so precious.
Latterly he knew the sound of my car and would always be waiting for my return. In fact Richard said this awareness was uncanny and often occurred before I was even in earshot - a full 4 or 5 minutes before my car drove up the drive.
I will miss that so much.
Timmy developed cancer earlier this year, and went on to develop early renal failure, hyperthyroidism, anaemia and then a serious kidney infection. He enjoyed most of every day until the end, when I knew his time had come. All too soon - there is never enough time to say goodbye...
He shared my highs, my lows, my marriage, my children, my several homes. He shared my life, my friend for nearly two decades. Patient to the last, he understood when life got in the way. At least I hope he did. I want another cuddle, another stroke, another chance to see his face and tell him I loved him so SO much. He was my last link with another time and the tears are still falling.
I miss your face, your eyes, your fur...
Your plaintive miaow and rumbling purr.
A better cat there'll never be-
A loyal and loving friend to me.