Yesterday, I turned to walk up the stairs and there he was sitting proudly at the top. As I took the first few steps, his head began to tilt. A few more steps and he lowered and tilted further as if we were connected and my actions controlled his (or more likely, vice versa). I get within arms reach and he is on his back, paws sprawled in the air, exposing his soft, bright white chest and belly inviting me in for a cuddle.
I reach down and give him what he wants, knowing what’s coming next. He wraps his paws around my wrist and fights with my hand. Playfully, he bites and claws at me, all the while his tummy gets good rub. That was Dexter, the cat. Yesterday, he died.
I don’t know why I’m writing this, I don’t know why I have tears in my eyes and a pain in my chest, maybe I’m trying to hold on to any memory and for some reason, this felt the place to do it but damn, I miss that little bugger already.
Waking up today and going to the kitchen, not seeing him, not feeding him, it hurt. I didn’t think I would be this upset over an 18 month old cat, I was never a cat person, until I met him and his brother, Bruce just over a year ago and now I feel like an exposed nerve.
My wife brought Bruce and Dexter home in June of 2014, they weren’t in a good place. Owned by an addict who could barely look after herself, never mind two little kittens, they lived in some horrible conditions, my wife couldn’t do anything but bring them home, despite my reluctance. They were terrified on their first night, hiding under a cupboard in the kitchen, coming out only to eat once we had gone to bed and everything was silent. However, they soon warmed to their new surroundings as well as warming our hearts (yeah, cliché but true).
Since then, like any other pet, they’ve had ups and downs, yet slowly but surely their personalities grew and blossomed until we were totally besotted by them both. They were brothers, born on the same day but they were totally different, totally unique.
At first we tried to keep them indoors and have them as house cats but it didn’t take long to realise that they needed more, they needed the big wide world. We even tried going new age, walking them on a lead (leash) but it was no good, they were cats of the world, they wanted to be free and so we let them be free.
Soon, they got in to a little routine of their own apart from one little 3am stop-out by who else but Dexter, they were always in the house around 9 and probably asleep somewhere cosy 5 minutes later.
None of this makes sense, I’m just waffling and I apologise.
Yesterday, I was cleaning the bedroom, I looked out of the window and saw Dexter across the road, chasing moths or flies like he loved to do, he was in his element. I wanted to shout him, just for fun, for him to wonder where my voice was coming from and to come and find me. I wanted to but I didn’t. I was worried that if I did he would hear me and, bemused, wander in to the road and a car would come and I’d put him in danger so I didn’t... I didn’t. Less than half an hour later, a car came and he was gone.
I don’t know what happened or who did it as the car had gone. May be they didn’t even realise what they had done or maybe they were callous enough not to care. Not knowing hurts, we heard no sound, no brakes. Our only possible clue was Bruce coming into the house, meowing his little head off five minutes earlier. Bruce did this all the time, we thought nothing of it. But was he trying to tell us something? Had he seen his brother die? We’ll never know, maybe knowing will hurt even more.
We were alerted by a neighbour’s voice, wondering where this little broken soul had come from as he lay at the bottom of our driveway. We both ran out and saw our little Dexter Do-Do lying there, lifeless. There was but a drop of blood coming from his nose, it must have been quick and I hope with all of my heart and soul, painless but he was gone.
Dexter loved banana milk, chasing moths and his favourite toy was called Mr. Squirrel. He loved a scratch behind his ears, his nose gently stroked or of course a wrestle with a willing hand. When he wanted something his little meow always broke my heart. Sometimes when he slept, he made a soft, gentle whistle through his nose. I miss him, so much.
Yesterday, I dug a hole for one of my best friends. Rest in Peace, Dexter. We all love you, very much.