I am not joining in the weekly celebrations post this week because, well quite frankly, I'm not in a celebratory mood. It has been a sad week in our house. Our beautiful, loving cat, Buttons, died suddenly. Now I know she was a very good age, she lived a full and happy life, but you are never ready to let go. Buttons had been part of our family for over 17 years, my youngest daughter was only a few months old when we rescued her. And it was rescued in the true sense.
At the time we lived in a very old farmhouse with several run down barns outside. A feral cat (Buttons' mum) gave birth in the roof of one of these barns to five kittens. Tragically, the mother cat was run over and killed when the kittens were only about 4 weeks of age. As they were a totally wild family of cats we didn't realise straight away and sadly two of the kittens were killed by a dog. Determined to stop the same fate for the remaining kittens my husband climbed up into the roof and, not without injury and numerous scratches, we managed to find the three tiny bundles and pull them to safety.
Our next problem of course was that they were too young to survive without a mother so we contacted a local vet for advice and before we knew it we were hand feeding three kittens with special formula in tiny pipettes. At that stage we didn't know if they would live or die but we had to try. We kept them in a utility room which was warm from a boiler. Naturally they were very scared to start with but gradually they got to know us and slowly started to gain weight. It was a pretty full on job! Young kittens can't go to the loo on their own either so part of our nursing job involved rubbing their bladders to encourage them to go for a wee!
We must have done something right because all three survived and were weaned. They were called, Holly, Ruby and Buttons. (Strange choices some thought because Holly and Ruby were boys but hey!) Sadly Ruby died aged about 7 from a tumour. Holly died a few years ago, also from a tumour, aged about 12. Buttons had always been the shy one of the bunch and it wasn't till she was left without her brothers that she craved our attention so much. She was a truly wonderful cat, never happier than when she was curled up beside one of us on the sofa. She would purr so loudly we often had to turn the TV up! If I was sat writing she would keep me company and she was always there waiting at the door when I came in from work.
If there is one thing to be thankful for is that Buttons was happy till the last. Monday morning she had seemed fine, ate some breakfast, then went into the garden for a few minutes for her morning stroll. She never ventured further than the garden these days. My daughter had seen her that lunch time and all appeared fine. But by the time I returned around 4pm she was obviously a very poorly cat. I rushed her straight to the vets but there was nothing they could do. We don't really know what happened but they think it might have been her liver.
So today's post is dedicated to Buttons, fat and furry and very purry. We will all miss you, you have left a hole in our hearts and a space on the sofa that will take a long time to fill.