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    Tom - A Much Missed Cat

By

Rose Moss

I can't recall exactly when Tom came to live with us, as his moving in was so gradual, that in the typical fashion of cats, we found we had one without being quite sure how! Our previous cat had recently died, so maybe Tom sensed that we missed her

My mother said that Tom used to follow her if she walked round the garden, so I imagine that was when they realised they were just right for each other.

Our next door neighbours, who've since moved elsewhere, had a tendency to acquire cats and quickly get tired of them. They had two at that time Suzy, a black and white female, and Tom, her grown kitten, who looked almost as if his mother had produced him from a negative, as while she was predominantly black, he was very much a white and black cat.

The two cats had as little time for each other, as their owners did for them . Suzy eventually moved in with another neighbour. When she and Tom met in our garden, they made a great show of pretending not to see each other.

Tom liked everyone, but was very much my mother's special cat. He was gentle, affectionate, intelligent and playful. On several occasions, we swore he said "Hello" to us, as his mew was no expressive!

I still laugh to remember an incident, when Tom decided he wanted to sit on a chair in front of the fire, which was occupied by my mother. He knew he was forbidden to jump on our antique sideboard, but that evening he kept doing so, until my  exasperated mother got up to lift him off. Quick as a flash, he was on the chair he wanted. We were so amused, that we hadn't the heart to deprive him of his "prize".

Tom loved Christmas, because turkey was his favourite food, to the extent of us having to rack our brains to find a place to put it to cool, when it was taken out of the oven .We decided the safest place to be on top of our high fridge freezer. Of course, he could smell it and took to sitting by the freezer staring up at the turkey, with an expression of devout adoration on his face, like a worshipper venerating an Icon. Occasionally he'd let out a plaintive mew, until my mother cut him a slice.

During the summer of 1996, Tom lost his appetite and began to drink huge amounts of water. We suspected kidney failure, but the Vet diagnosed an infection and dismissed our concerns, despite repeated visits. Two weeks later Tom died peacefully in his sleep. He was only about seven or eight years old.

My mother, whose health was already frail, was devastated. Tom had been her constant companion, who sat on her lap and greeted her every morning when got up. She outlived him by less than a year.

I have four beautiful cats now, that you can read about in my article "Four Furry Friends, yet I'll always have a special place in my heart for Tom.

During her final illness, my Mother repeatedly expressed a desire to write an article about Tom, once she was better, so I hope by writing this I'm making her wish come true, as she was a wonderful mother and my dearest friend too.

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