RIP sweet puddwing


Pudding my love

Day 1

Pudding, I will always love you and you will be in my heart wherever I go and what ever I do. I've loved you being here with me, bringing me comfort, joy and happiness. You made the world seem safe and comforting even when bad things where happening in the scary outside world. By my side you helped me with my crazy projects, and without you they wouldn't have been the same, or they may not have existed at all. I will cherish the gardening times we had together and the comedys we watched on the couch while I cackled away and you snored through them.

You had a hard life with mixed luck. It breaks my heart not to have been able to have helped you in you first 9 years of life, and not entirely knowing how you survived. You were luckily adopted from the SPCA in Newtown as a kitten despite already having at least some back feet deformity. You were given the name Koha (gift in English) and maybe adopted by a Maori family. In those 9 years you didn't appear much in the system just a few times in Brooklyn vet as I recall where it was noted that you had seizures. 9 years later in September 2016 and somehow you had found your way to Paekakariki school where you were howling and going round and round in circles in a terribly distressed state. I bent down to pat you, upon walking away you started to follow me, I ran but you started to run after me, all the way home. I gave you some water, food and a blanket to keep you warm but you howled and scratched on the back door all night. Your mix of giant and tiny back feet initially horrified me but I quickly become to find them endearing. After being scanned by the vet they said they could not contact your old owners, my heart dropped as I knew you were now my baby and eventually you would unavoidably break my heart.

Upon taking you in you only wanted to use an indoor kitty litter tray and eat dried food. You had obviously had had a few hard nights of ruffing it and were very exhausted, hungry and had a bit of iffy poos. The outside world seemed to frighten you and you would follow me everywhere never letting me out of your sight. Wondering why I had found you howling at the school I looked though the obituaries, I found an old Maori lady who had died just a few days before finding you. Her husband had died many years ago. There weren't any other people who died around the same time here so that seemed to fit. Then my head started to imagine what might have happened, maybe some family in Wellington adopted you for their children. This time may have been tough. They noticed that you had seizures and probably knew you lost bladder control when having them. Maybe during one of these you had a very high fall or a dog bit you in the back thinking you were playing and broke your back fusing three vertebrae. Maybe at this time you were sent off to Paekakariki to live with the old lady? I think this might have be a nice quiet time for you, sitting on the old lady's bed, watching TV, eating dried food and using an indoor kitty litter tray, never once seeing a vet. Then she died leaving you without an owner. Maybe then the kids kicked you out just wanting to split up the house. That breaks my heart to think that and makes me what to give you the most love in the world to make up for the cruelty of others you may have seen in your life.

When you first arrived here with me you did not go outside on your own for months. When you finally did you would sit on the grass looking back inside the house at me. We started gardening and you would be fascinated as I pulled some weeds or picked some crop. Down the side of the house I did some fence building and we enjoyed many a day there. When inside you liked to hang your head off the couch and looked very silly indeed. Your snoring was adorable. Boy were you a deep sleeper, even calling your name and lifting your head would not always wake you up. Your pads were so soft your thumbs looked so sweet on you. These deep sleeps turned out to be when your seizures were most likely to happen. When I saw your first few seizures they were terrifying to me, so violent and shocking, you would come to after after some fast clockwise running then howling and looking very scared. Every 4 ish weeks you would get them and I would try and prevent you from hurting yourself by making sure you wouldn't hit you head on something. It would take a day to fully recover from them. They seemed to last for ages but in reality probably only a minute. One day in your life you had 8 in one day, that was awful, you looked so scared and I was scared. Fortunately after that you never had more than 1 in a day as I recall. Although I got accustomed to the seizures the seizures made me very attached to you, I had be with you all the time, any thump and I would come running in case I had to help you. One day I realized I hadn't seen you for a few hours; I went out to look for you but couldn't find you. I spent all day walking the streets calling your name but to no avail. Finally at midnight in the pouring rain I heard a growling cat down a pathway but it didn't seem like you, but it was. I came closer and you screamed with the loudest sound I had ever heard from a cat. You were pooing and screaming It was terrifying. I knocked on a neighbor's door for him to help me. I had to throw a box over you and slip a plastic sheet under the box to retrieve you. At that point I realized you could easily get lost and would become panicky and terrified. One you got lost down the side of the house where you had fallen asleep in the sun and had gotten confused, again you screamed and it was very difficult to get you back in the house and out of that terrifying screaming state. You also had issues with itchy head, super sensitive back and sometimes you would attack your back ripping out your fur. Vets didn't know why you had these issues so we just learned to live with them and love these quirks. Certainly all these quirks made me more attached to you than if you were more independent. Because of your need for extra care and vigilance I avoided travel and going out of the property and instead looking after you turned into my world. I really enjoyed looking after you and doing my best to take the best possible care of you, it's funny but it really make you so much more important to me than you would otherwise been.

I miss terribly the morning scratching on the bedroom door to wake me up. The funny talking you did after the door scratching as if you were saying "yes yes yes". Even though you always had a food smorgasbord on the floor you liked the morning ritual of having a "pinkims" and "a few greenims", you would walk around the table and my legs in some sort of strange walk/dance. You would always leave one or two greenims for later after having a look at the outside world. I tried two times having you on my bed at night, and although both you and I love it you had seizures both times falling off the bed so we couldn't do that. Instead the tradition was when we went to bed you would go to bed too. You chose the hallway in front of the heater or in the pink room on the couch or seat or maybe the kitchen on the couch; it varied but whatever choice you made you would take the same location for days a a time. On the few occasions I would go out I would usually visit a supermarket, I would pick up a different bikkie flavor wondering what you would like for a change. When getting back home you almost expected me to have a new bag of bikkies and loved the taste of a freshly opened bag. I would then have a susi and chocolate milk while reading some emails or such. After work we would usually watch some UK comedy.

In April this year (2021) things started to get scary. I noticed you were peeing too often and took a pee sample to my horror there was blood in the pee. It was a Sunday and I rushed down to Petone to get it looked at. After hours of waiting they said there was no infection and was probably just cystitis and game me some temgesic. The blood didn't go away over the next few days so we got an ultrasound done. You had a growth in your bladder; I was really scared. Getting a biopsy seemed not possible and it might still have been just a polyp. A moth later and we got another ultrasound done; the growth hadn't changed in size, whew, let's just monitor it in a few months time to make sure it's not growing and take some more pee samples. I got sick with RSV virus and that hit me hard so the pee sample was delayed by another month. 10th of August and they said highly suspicious cell were detected, my heart sank. The vet made a referral to Massey who is the only place that does surgery for cancer down here as far as I know. Lockdown then happened, the oncologist wasn't in the country and we had to wait a month for lockdown to go down to level 2 before we could see anyone. I kept asking what was going to happen and could I have a telephone consultation first and was repeatably told no. Taking her on the long car drive in the rain to Massey and the way both her and I were treated up there was terrible and I think that unnecessarily stressed her out and shorted her quality of life as well as her life length. She stayed there in hospital for 2 days starving as she was to frightened to eat, they did nothing that required her and when I finally could talk to a surgeon I wasn't allowed to bring a support person in with me due to covid, I was then told 80 to 90% of her bladder would have to be removed, that it had never been done before but the chance of dying just from complication might be 50% ish mark for an extension of life of maybe 6 months. They gave me 10 minutes to decide, I said no due to the risks. I opted for chemo but was suddenly told that the oncologist still wasn't in the country so I should go home and wait. They never needed you to go up!!! As some of the people in the room exited one person said ok well lets put an otube in her today as shes not eating and she can go home with you today. I was left with just the student. I didn't know what an otube was at the time and wasn't given any time to think about it, I just wanted my baby back, so I said ok but if I had known what it was and what it involved I would have said no. He said it was a tiny plug in the neck; it was nothing. I felt they had given me no choice; if you want your cat back alive then it's getting an otube. The otube they give a general anesthetic and put a hole in the neck then put a tube in it. They kept her in another night due to her reaction to the general anesthetic. When I got her back the otube looked terribly placed by some amateur, I was shocked, it was way too long and wasn't well held in place. It would get stuck on the kitty tray and she hated it. The only reason she wasn't eating at Massey was because she wasn't at home and was scared. I felt terrible. To rub salt in the wound the night before going to Massey they had instructed me not to feed her; in the morning of the day going up to Massey she so wanted her morning breakfast but I said to her that "Massey says I can't feed you today", seeing her eyes looking up into my heart and her confusion as to why she wasn't allowed to eat that morning will haunt me. Now with the tube it her it caused her pain when catching on things and she seemed to have difficultly eating bikkies which is the only food she will eat. I would have been able to syringe food into her with much less stress for her if she needed it. Anyway that had to stay in her for a week before we could get it out else the wound would not heal. After that she still had issues eating dried food and swallowing seemed to be painful but the wound at least became less sore over time. Really angry with Massey!!! Finally the oncologist got back to NZ and said there is a place in Wellington that does chemo and try mitoxantrone. Great we could have done it in Wellington weeks ago, that pissed me off as I knew time was running out. We got her in and mitoxantrone was put in IV on the 17th of September (5 months after the first blood was seen). Initially the pee and her seemed to both improve but then after a week she seemed not be doing so well again. Mitoxantrone gets done every 3 weeks for cats. On the 6th week the tumor was rescanned and it had gotten bigger I think by about 30% as I recall. She started to vomit from time to time and looking at my notes seemed to get worse. So we switched to vinblastine a once a week IV drug. After a couple of days the pee was totally clear of blood and I was super happy, she didn't have any issues with peeing anymore. I thought she was cured. However the nausea was getting very bad and I was having to giver her a lot more antiemetics. Her hyperthyroid medication was changed and increased as she was still loosing weight and her T4 was too high. She then suddenly got terribly weak and shaky. I held her paw that night and stayed with her for longer than usual; she purred and I kissed her on the head. I took her to the vet in the morning the next day on Tuesday ( yesterday 9th of October 2021 at 11:15am ). Blood was taken. I got home opened the cage but she didn't get out so moved her onto a some memory foam while I started to prepare for her next meal and wait for the blood results. Within a minute or two I heard a strange noise and she started madly running but on her side and couldn't get up; something was seriously wrong. I ran to her and she died in seconds. That will moment will haunt me forever. I don't really know what happened and how it could have happened so fast. I am grief stricken and cry all the time I don't know how to continue living without her. The vet then rang up she said her electrolytes where all over the show with Sodium way too low and Potassium way too high. Her kidneys had totally failed but the vet was still very surprised with the speed that she died. She only had her blood work done 5 days ago and they were fine except the T4. So something really bad happened really fast. The vet said she had no urine in her but she had had about 20ml a few hours before going up to the vet. I tried my best to help her but feel I still failed, I'm so sorry Pudding.

I Love you so much and my heart breaks in pain to be here without you. I wish I could have cured of the cancer that took you away from me too soon and that caused suffering to both you and me. I know it must have been scary, but I'm so proud of you for battling on for the last two months in the hope that surgery or chemo might extend or improve you life. I'm so sorry I failed to save you. You will always be a part of who I am and I will love you forever. Be a good girl, da da loves you, and loves of kisswings; kiss kiss kiss.


One of the early photos when you were still recovering from being lost

Yes? What are we going to do now?

Peekaboo I see you

I had forgotten. When I first met you there was a bed in the hallway and I would play peekaboo with you; really funny as you ran from one end to the other as I hid.

Day 12

Hi Pudding,

It’s now been 12 days since you left. As we stay stationary in space we are being inextricably ripped apart in time at the speed of light; that’s 311 billion kms for the physics nerds. My heart bleeds without you. I can’t imagine how I can continue without you, and I don’t want to continue without you. Part circumstance and part who we were meant we I was always going to bond with you as deeply as a mother would with her child. Through our eyes we could read each other like the book. Your eyes told me you had been through pain and loss in your life; I wanted to make up for it by giving you all my love and doing everything I could do to make your life as happy as it could possibly be.

I would regularly say to you that you are such a brave girl much braver than dada, dada’s a wimp. Your broken spine, your mutant feet, your seizures, ability to get disoriented meant I had to be on hand every minute of the day to protect you unlike I have done for anyone before. You were so brave to have these ailments and yet still able to put a smile on your face and run around and play as if everything was normal. Anything I could do to help you brought me great joy. Although your seizures were harrowing for me to watch and I dreaded when the next one would strike, preventing you from hurting yourself, comforting you after, and even cleaning up your pee from the carpet brought me such joy knowing I could help make such a terrible thing a little bit better for you. One thing about nursing sick and dying loved ones is that it brings you closer than you can imagine to one another. I’m not sure if anyone will ever truly know how much I love you and how much you mean to me, it might be something that we take to our graves. The last five years have been a very complicated story, the first three years was relatively plain sailing, but the last two years has descended into hell. First there was the pandemic, and then the fucking noisy neighbor started to ruin our lives. It’s he who is to blame for my mum breaking her hip, us having to give up the garden, being too scared to go out, and having to move into the kitchen to live. I wish he had got the cancer and died not you. That fuckwit taints some of the beautiful times we spent together; that both saddens and angers me. Currently I’m going through all sorts of emotions and I’m struggling. Emotions come through in waves and I have short reprieves when I have spent all my energy. Dada is not a hypocrite and he forces himself to eat giving me enough energy for another wave of emotions to batter me. Initially after your death the emotions were quite simple, but recently I have also felt times of being very scared when my blood runs cold; this is very unpleasant and makes me feel nauseous. Yesterday and today I have had episodes that can only be described as panic attacks; it’s all very confusing.

I didn’t know what your history was before me and it’s something you never told me much about in detail. I wanted to know a little about it and maybe even get a photograph or two of you before me. You’ve seen me when mum has had injuries and I’ve had to pause my emotions so as to be able to logically nurse her; well, I did the same thing when looking for your history over the last 12 days. Due to the privacy act getting information about people is difficult. Cats on the other hand have very little rights and obtaining information, even detailed medical about them is easy. In a just world cats would have the same rights as humans, but fortunately in this instance an unjust world helped me in my search.

I managed to track down the children of the lady who died in Paekakariki that I thought Pudding had been living with all these years. They said she never had any pets. I was shocked, what I had thought for the last five years that happened never did happen.

In New Zealand we have a pet chip register that pudding was on. I’ve never seen what’s written on but I think there are a couple of phone numbers, two addresses, two dates, and some sort of location maybe adoption location; I’m not really too sure. Although it’s now five years ago when we got you scanned and found out you had a chip, I remember it quite vividly and some of the details remain in my brain. If my memory serves correctly, in the distance I remember something like “something to do with Paeroa” I heard the receptionists muttering to one another. I also think I remember them saying to one another “didn’t we see a cat called Koha before?”, then the other one replied something like, “no that was years ago and it was someone else anyway”. They like me were too fixated on getting in contact with the registered owner. As you know they were unable to contact your registered owner, the phone numbers had been disconnected and the emails must’ve either bounced or got no reply. If the receptionists had searched their system for a cat they saw years ago called Koha you may have never got to live with me as now I think you were that cat. With hindsight I think when they said “it was someone else”, they were referring to the name of person that brought you in then did not match the registered owner’s name. I had always thought it meant you were a different cat and didn’t look the same. They also said something about SPCA in Newtown and I thought that you were adopted from there but I’m not too sure that’s what they meant now.

A few days or weeks after you arrived and had just had your first seizure I saw I was really worried. I asked the receptionist at the time if they could find out if you had ever had seizures or was it something recent and was a medical emergency. The receptionist was very kind and rang up all the vets around the Kapiti/Wellington region reciting your chip number to them 978101080156865. You see the medical records are not linked to the nationwide chip register. Yeah, I know, how stupid is that, but that’s humans for you. Time and time again she got the answer “no”. Then suddenly she got a hit with the Brooklyn vet; that was the vet we used to go to with sweet Bafra and Snoopy in the 1990s. That’s when the receptionist told us that you had only seen that vet a few times around 2009 and 2010 and there was indeed mention of seizures. Although a terrible thing to be having seizures for at least seven years and breaking my heart, it was such a relief to know that these were not new and weren’t a medical emergency.

So with my leads I set off. SPCA in Newtown was a dead loss as they had changed their system and had thrown away all the information from their old one. Some people who were privy to the owner’s information sent of emails again after five years and tried to ring the owner but the phone numbers were still nonexistent and again the owner wasn’t contactable via email, I don’t know if the emails bounced or there was simply no reply. I presumed the emails were bouncing but unfortunately the people sending the emails weren’t tech savvy enough to tell me. I tried reverse image searches of you but got nothing. It’s really hard to search for a name like Koha as the word Koha just means gift and I might as well have been searching for the name John. I managed to get a hold of an owner who had had a cat called Koha and had gotten her from the Newtown SPCA. I was super hopeful, his partner even lived in Newtown; but no such luck it wasn’t you. However, due to some fortuitous events I got a street address in Newtown that you might have lived in. The house was last sold well before you were born and it was obviously a rental property. After that the details of your registered owner slowly trickled out one by one but I was never sure if they were entirely correct or not. I got a name Ms H who I thought must’ve been your registered owner. I thought with such an unusual spelling of her last name it would be easy to find her; boy was I wrong. In New Zealand the spelling of her last name seem to be rather common. In Australia on the other hand it seemed extraordinarily rare and doing a quick Google search only revealed one person that I could see. I got a phone number and email combo that seemed to match Ms H. The phone number was a prepaid, had been activated in September 2009 and I think it might have last been topped up in May 2011 as the phone had been cut off in May 2012. Those times matched perfectly with your vet visits I knew about in Wellington. What happened before 2009 after 2010 still remained a mystery.

Your Ms H didn’t seem to leave much of an impression on the Internet. I opened up the phone book and started ringing all the people that matched your first and last name I could find. Everyone I managed to talk to was “nope that’s not me”. One person in Palmerston North I couldn’t talk to as she had died around the time I found you. She had been a nurse. She had one daughter who I talked to. She sounded a strange but friendly person. I told her about you and she said she wasn’t sure if her mother had owned a cat like you. She said that she had friends on the Kapiti coast where you were found and vaguely thought that there was some sort of posting on Facebook of a lost cat called Koha around 2016 but couldn’t really remember. She said she would ask her dad and have a look on Facebook if she could find the posting she so vaguely remembered. I never did hear back from her. I have never had an account with Facebook or have used it; I said I would never join Facebook as I think it is garbage. I got RSI from IRC in the mid-90s and I knew all too well something like Facebook could be addictive and counterproductive. I tried searching for posts about  “Koha cat” on Facebook but Facebook is garbage and won’t allow you to do pretty much anything without signing up to that evil pile of garbage. Still desperate times call for desperate measures and I signed up so I could continue searching; I got nowhere. It took me a while to figure out how to do anything on Facebook. Sheesh, people like to use it, they are crazy. I sent messages to all Ms Hs I found, I think there were two people as two of the accounts were owned by the same person. I got a response from one of them and said it wasn’t her and had I tried the other one; I said I had but hadn’t gotten a response back, still no luck. Then I went on to LinkedIn which I have been a member for ages but don’t really use it. I found only one person with Ms H’s name; the profile page had almost nothing on it, no picture or anything. The only thing it said was NSW Australia and did a course in veterinary nursing a few years back. I sent a message to this LinkedIn account but got no response. Could this LinkedIn lady be your Ms H I wondered, as I was starting to see a pattern of minimal information and no response. However, I didn’t dwell too long on any dead lead and was quickly back to Facebook again. This time I realized there are things called groups and some of them have restricted access so unless you are a member you can’t look through posts that people have written. I wondered if the daughter of the Ms H had seen a post for a missing cat called Koha in one of these locked groups. I looked for groups around my town and asked to join it. When I was accepted I started searching that group for posts about a missing cat in 2016 but it seems you can’t search for things older than when you first joined so; geez that’s stupid. So that being the case I would need someone who had joined that group before 2016. I thought about finding a person like that who would be willing to search but instead put up a post. Later that night around eight I got a couple of replies; one said it looks like the cat of a lady who died around that time, the other one from Mrs R however said “Did Koha have epilepsy by any chance and extra claw pad on one foot?”, bingo. My heart was racing and I my head was all over the place, I didn’t know what to think, say or do first. This was the first person I ever found who recognized you and I knew who she was. She said they had been looking after you for the last year and left you with a babysitter while they went off to Turkey. She said that the babysitter saw you have a seizure and took you outside as Mr and Mrs R had told him that you like to go outside after a seizure. That advice seems crazy to me, someone after a seizure is incredibly disorientated, never do that; you were bound to get lost. It would always take about day for your head to settle after a seizure, until then I was always very careful to make sure you stayed inside or watch you like a hawk. Certainly it would be a couple of hours before I’d allow you outside after seizure. You poor girl got disorientated and lost. In a bit of a fluster I rang up Mrs R. The Rs didn’t seem particularly attached to you but made sure you had food, water, kitty litter and a roof over your head; the important things of life. She said the previous owner a Mr T had left you with them a year ago in 2015. Mrs R said that Mr T said that don’t bother taking her to the vet, if she gets something she will either get over it or she won’t; sheesh that’s not quite my style as you know.  Mrs R said before that you lived with Mr T next door and would like to sunbathe on the R’s decking. Mr T decided to give you to the Rs as he was moving into town and thought that you wouldn’t be able to survive in an industrial area. Poor girl from your perspective it would have seemed as if you had lost Mr T and your house with him; it must have been a lonely year for you. Mrs R said her phone had a message on it from 10 September 2016 from the babysitter saying you had gotten lost and he couldn’t find you. The Rs were in Europe at that time so that could have been the 11th New Zealand time. I found you on the 15th so you had been lost for 4 or 5 days by the time I found you. Imagining you being lost for four or five days just breaks my heart, till now I had thought that you had only been lost for a day or two, you were never able to cope with the big outside world on your own; no wonder you were so distraught when you first arrived with me. I’m sorry I didn’t take you into the house right then and there but I didn’t know. I knew who Mrs R was as her husband had done work around our house. Mr R framed our sleep out that you would like to visit from time to time; I wonder if you knew and were inspecting his work. Mrs R said she had put a post on Facebook, presumably on one of the groups that you have to be a member of to see the post. However as I and nobody I knew used Facebook and was also a member of one of these groups I would have never have seen it. If she had just used the standard New Zealand way of registering a lost pet at you would’ve been sent back to the Rs. I’m glad she didn’t though as living at the Rs wasn’t the right environment for you and I wouldn’t have been able to spend the five precious years with you that I hold so dearly. Also I think most likely you would’ve got lost again as after a seizure you would walk back and forth along a set path; if this path included roads that would be a problem. With me that path was up and down the hallway and back to the sitting room. I’m not sure what that path was with Mr T but as far as I know it didn’t get you lost or onto the street. Sounds like the layout of the R’s place might’ve led you onto the street. After talking to the Rs they seemed pleased that you found your way to me and that I was indeed the right owner to take care of you.

On the other side of the communication divide in 2016 the Rs had told Mr T who in turn told Ms H that they believed you had had a seizure and gone off somewhere to die. They all grieved to some extent and then moved on with their lives unbeknownst to them that you had moved but a few hundred meters and were being treated like a God like you so rightly deserve.

The Rs didn’t seem super concerned on the phone and didn’t know Mr T’s contact details but they gave me the name of Mr T and that was enough. I did some googling and found out he is reasonably well known in the Wellington region so it was super easy to find his email address. He said it was very emotional and bittersweet to have received my email; understandably so. Mr T seemed a laissez-faire kind of owner, you brought joy to his life but were not the main event, you had free reign to do whatever you wanted to do around the place, play in the garden, sunbathe, or have a deep relaxing sleep. However, he seemed to me to have the style that if you got sick you would either live or die and not intervene with vets or take you to vets for yearly checkups. At the time that was probably wonderful for you and stress-free. I know how much both you and I dreaded seeing the vet, it’s a scary place, your paws would sweat, and I could see in your eyes that you were scared; I hated to see you like that. This year in particular vet visits have been very scary. I had three options this year, do nothing, intervene, or kill you. I couldn’t kill you without your consent, you would’ve had to written it down on paper or said it to me verbally. Doing nothing is what I saw you want in your eyes but I know that would lead to death. With intervening I had hoped to save your life, make it longer or to make it a little bit happier. I failed to save your life and I’m not sure if I made it any longer or happier as I have nothing to compare it with. There are certainly things I regret deeply in particular the whole Massey affair and the way I was sucker punched and coerced when up there into doing things I wouldn’t of done if they allowed me to talk to my mum or even allowed me five minutes to think. If you were human what they did in Massey would’ve been taken very seriously and heads would’ve rolled. I have written in detail about what happened up there but it pains me to talk about it as I know you know what happened and it can only be described as horrible, I’m so sorry for that. Although I wasn’t to blame the regret mixed with the should haves turns into guilt. Even rewinding life and doing Massey again I’m not sure if we could have avoided the harm that Massey did to us. I’m very angry with them; they had all the information they needed before we went up, you should’ve never needed to have gone up there, I think it’s criminal. But I’m getting sidetracked back searching for your history.

When receiving Mr T’s I burst into tears there was a picture of you before we had met. I didn’t know if I would ever get to see a photo of you of before we meet; it was so emotional. To see you live another life made me so happy and sad at the same time, I could barely see you through my tears.

Mr T said he passed on our emails to Ms H. I then promptly got a reply from Ms H. After five years Ms H had attained a mythical status in our life. It was a bit unreal receiving an email from her; she’s the one that at least four people had tried to contact over the last five years without success. It felt like finding El Dorado or the Holy Grail; at times I wondered if she even existed. The first thing that hit me were the photos of you that she had sent; I burst into tears. Although there were just 4 photos, the photos had a very high resolution; I felt as if I was there with you. You looked so happy in the black and white photo lying on your back in the grass sunbathing; that was so lovely to see.

Looking at the sender address of the email I did indeed have her correct email address. Ms H said my previous email went to the junk mail folder. Although I don’t know, I would guess that the email address on the chip register would be the same as the one that I had. I wonder if other attempts from people to contact Ms H also went to the junk mail folder; wow, technology can be so stupid.

Reading through her email she described your history in great detail.  I like detail as it makes me feel as if I’m there. Even through the sad times you had I like hearing in detail as I hope me being there can comfort you some. The dates were a bit foggy so I’m not entirely sure of your age, I think you might’ve only been 14 when you died but I still hope that you were 15. So your birth date I guess is the end of the year in spring of either 2006 or 2007.

Your story was more complicated than I had thought. You had at least five owners in your life. Having lost so many caregivers and not knowing why or what happened to them must’ve been painful. No wonder you clung to me like glue, you must’ve been scared of losing yet another caregiver.

Anyway, the story starts with you up in Coromandel miles away from here in either 2007 or 2008. You would’ve been maybe one-year-old. Ms H doesn’t mention the town but the name Paeroa which I heard the receptionists talk to one another about all those years ago resonates through my brain as Paeroa is in the Coromandel. She said that you had been hit by a car and some concerned citizen had found you and taken you to the vet where you stayed there for months. She said they couldn’t contact the owners and even went up to the owner’s house but no one was there. A neighbor said that they had rushed off to Auckland for an emergency and left you without anyone to look after you. The car crash had broken your spine and presumably caused other injuries such as, nerve and brain damage. You were on the list to be taken to the pound and probably executed. You poor thing, time and time again you break my heart. I can’t believe humans have so much rights but cats almost none; unfair. However, that was not meant to be and a stroke of luck was about to befall you. Ms H walked into the vet asking if they had a cat to adopt. They said they didn’t have any cats to adopt but they did have you. Clearly your story even thus far touched Ms H. She decided right then and there that she wanted to take you away and love and care for you injuries and all. She gave you the name Koha, meaning gift as she had given you the gift of another life and you gave her the gift of joy and companionship. You had been with Ms H for a month or two when the vet rang up saying your previous owners wanted their cat back for their little girl. We know very well that your loving soul and extra caring requirements due to your injuries make people fall for you very quickly and deeply. So Ms H was not going to give you up to someone who had abandoned you for months on end and left you for dead. She got a job down in Wellington working in a restaurant. While she was looking for a nice house for you and her, you stayed with her mother up in the Coromandel for a couple months. When a suitable house was found in the suburb of Newtown she went up to the Coromandel to get you. You drove down the North Island sleeping in the passenger seat with the occasional kitty litter break and time to stretch your legs and explore a little. You’ve always been such a curious cat and love to explore new places; it sounds like your trip down allowed you ample opportunities to indulge you in this favorite pastime of yours. It was 2009 when you first entered the Newtown flat to take up residence. At that time I was unaware of your existence but I was near, over the other side of town going up and down to university on a regular basis finishing a few pointless papers at University to complete a pointless physics/math degree.

Then one night on Ms H’s bed, maybe the 2nd of September 2010 or March 2009 or August 2009 I’m not quite sure, but you had your first seizure that Ms H had seen at least. Understandably she was very scared that night. I too remember seeing your first seizure, I was so scared and didn’t know what to do apart from run to your side; I thought you were dying. Ms H said that once your seizure was over she spoke to you slowly and softly to comfort you until you started purring. I don’t know if anyone would appreciate just how violent and scary your seizures could be without seeing one. Your muscles would spasm with all the force they could muster. You would sometimes foam at the mouth. Later years you lost bladder control when having seizures. Sometimes when coming to you would howl mournfully as if to cry for my help. If I wasn’t careful you could easily run headfirst into a wall or fall off a bed hurting yourself when you started to come to. Although a harrowing experience to watch you go through, it’s something that caused me to bond with you far greater than if you hadn’t had seizures; I had to be there with you every minute of the day and would turn my life upside down to do so. To be able to help you and comfort you, to give you some kisses, to give you food and to see you start purring once again was always very touching. Just as I rushed to the vet years later, Ms H rushed you to the vet who said that the seizure was likely due to the car accident you had.

It seems around the time of your first seizure with Ms H you got disorientated, lost, and couldn’t find your home for a few weeks. She said that you returned very shaken and skinny when finally, presumably accidentally, stumbled across your Newtown property, as your spatial awareness was nonexistent. Maybe due to the car crash or just having the most caring soul, I don’t think you would ever kill a creature for food or sport. I wondered if you might be a vegetarian and think eating meat was wrong but considered bikkies vegetarian because they certainly don’t look like meat to me and I’m sure you thought the same. You refused to eat wet meat and were not interested in human food, bar one item. I don’t think you would kill a creature for food, so how you managed to survive two weeks without food amazes me, as due to the physiology of cats it can be very dangerous not to eat for even a few days. You always had a strange interest in chocolate and it was the one human food that if I accidentally dropped a flake on the ground you would eat it before I could pick it up. So I’m wondering maybe you found the odd flake of chocolate here and there that kids on their way home had dropped and that kept you going, preventing your liver from failing. Every time I hear you got lost due to being disorientated it fills me with grief and sorrow, as I know firsthand how scared you could become when lost, your inability to look after yourself and your lack of ability to find your way home. Under my watch you got lost once away from the property; I’m not sure entirely how it happened but I think you found a hole under the house that I didn’t know about which you followed to the main road and then got disorientated. I don’t remember the date but I think this was probably 2017 when you got lost under my watch; it was for half a day. I spent the whole day from around midday walking around Paekakariki calling your name and asking people if they had seen you. Just before midnight I was about to give up and go to bed but I thought I’d give it one more try. By this time it was pouring with rain and I had taken an umbrella as it wasn’t windy for a change. I walked past a gate and I heard a cat growled threatening me; it sounded like you but it was hard to see in the dark and the rain. Upon getting closer to the gate to have a look and calling your name you screamed. I say scream because it was not any sound I had heard a cat make before; it sounded like a human. At this point I could see it was clearly you but you had no idea who I was; something had gone in your brain and you were a totally different person that I didn’t recognize. You were scared beyond belief, were soaking wet and involuntarily pooing diarrhea making a mess. I tried to get close to you to pick you up, but before I was even a meter away from you, with the lash of a paw you screamed the loudest scream I have ever heard to the point it hurt my years. In a panic I knocked on someone’s door for help; he gave me a recycling bin and some corrugated plastic. Although scared beyond belief you somehow frozen and unable to move from your spot. You screamed as I put the recycling bin over you and more screams ensued when I placed the corrugated plastic under the bin doing who knows what to you as it passed beneath your feet. I rushed home with you in the recycling bin, after we were in the house I closed the back door, took the recycling bin of you, and although filthy you were instantly back to normal and went straight to food bowls. That was the point when I realized just how dependent you were and if you went out the house you needed supervision. I know you were younger when you first went missing in 2009/2010 but it seems like a miracle that you survived such a long time away from home.

Whether or not it was your brain injuries from the crash but you always had a very kitten like play instinct and you and would love to bat pieces of grass and run around the garden. If you were to go out of the house on your own you would make it to the lawn, turn around, sit down and look back into the house making sure not to lose sight of me. Only when someone was outside would you not look at the back door. On the very rare occasions I had to leave the house unattended, you knew you had to stay inside and look after the house; the outside was just too dangerous on your own. You would jump up on one of your couches and I would say “be good girl, dada loves you, missing you already, dada be back in just a minute, so looking after place and wu stay, kiss kiss kiss kiss”; that was the ritual. Usually it was just to go for a swim, or do some supermarket shopping which usually consisted of half my grocery list being cat related items. But my mind wanders; back to the story.

Your current caregiver Ms H chose to go to Sydney which is a trip of over 2000 km and is another country. Travel in and out of New Zealand for cats is more difficult than for humans. It can be done and there are companies that specialize in it but depending where you go you might have to be quarantined for a period of time which would’ve sucked. I’m not sure how difficult it is to get into Australia but getting into New Zealand definitely requires a quarantine stay much like it does for humans these days with this fucking pandemic. Anyway Mr T was a regular at Ms H’s restaurant and she randomly asked him if he would look after you for an unknown amount of time. He said yes and you moved into Mt Victoria with him in December 2010. It must’ve been hard not knowing where or what happened to Ms H. I know you wouldn’t have understood what was happening at the time. It reminds me when I was six years old with my mum at Roseneath School waving goodbye to all my friends. I knew we were moving to Palmerston North, but I didn’t understand at that age that meant I wasn’t going to go to that school anymore nor was I ever going to see my friends again. That was the first time Palmerston North crossed my life; I had a very lonely time and became quite introverted. The next time Palmerston North was going to cross my life would be years later with you when it would be so much worse. Again my mind wanders. Fortunately, by the sound of it, Mr T’s laissez-faire attitude suited you well and you settled in swimmingly, thus diverging sharply from my first experience with Palmerston North. Mr T doesn’t say much but he does say that you were always a beloved and healing presence in his life and it was privileged to be able to look after you. After half year or so you and Mr T moved to Paekakariki to little house overlooking the sea; so that would be mid 2011, winter. Being a cold time of the year and only just moving in I can only presume you wanted to spend a good fair amount of time initially huddled around the heater watching television and sipping hot chocolate to keep warm. To while away the long winter nights you would sometimes challenge Mr T to a game of chess or just fall asleep on his leg. Once the weather warmed up I presume you would go out exploring and snooze on the decking in sun listening to the waves gently crashing against the shore.

Chess anyone

Sleepy sleepy sleepy

Praise the sun

Mr T said he took you to the vet a few times in Paraparaumu. All of a sudden I understood what the receptionists meant when I had inadvertently heard them talk with one another all those years ago in 2016 when I got you scanned for a chip; “didn’t we see a cat called Koha before?”, “no that was years ago and it was someone else anyway”, they were referring to the owner. I rang up the vet and asked if they had ever seen you under the name Koha T. Yhey said yes; you had seen a vet called Warren Stroud. This isn’t the vet we saw but it is the same vet clinic that we have been going to see for years. How things would’ve been so different if they had looked up Koha T on their system in 2016 when I brought you in; the mind boggles. Mr T only took you for three visits, two in November 2012 and once in January 2013. It seems those three visits seem to be nothing much but a defleaing and a bunch of x-rays; very strange, I wonder what that was all about. I do know at least one of those x-rays was for an exhibition where an x-ray of your mutant feet was put on display. There is mention about referral to Palmerston North Massey but Mr T said no; thank God he said no. I don’t know what the referral was about. Mr T did say you started to lose bladder control during seizures around 2013/2014 but maybe his memory doesn’t serve him well and it was the end of 2012. Alternatively maybe you had a nasty accident during a seizure; I’m not sure. Mr T also doesn’t say whether or not you got ever lost under his watch. My brother knows Mr T. I said to my brother Mr T doesn’t seem to say much; my brother chuckled and with a smile said, “yeah, that sounds like him”.

Mr T says in 2015 he was going into an industrial building in Wellington and didn’t think you could cope there. Presumably as you already spent time sunbathing on the R’s decking he thought that it wouldn’t disturb you too much if he appointed them as your caregivers. At this point we are back to the Rs in the story. It must’ve been sad losing Mr T, not knowing what happened or where he went, it must’ve felt like another death. Someone once asked me what I was afraid off; I said just one thing “loss”. Everything bad or painful that happens to someone can be attributed to a loss. Every time you lose a caregiver in breaks my heart just that little bit more.

You were only with the Rs for a year before you lost them and the little piece of land on the peninsula too. It saddens me to think about how much loss you had to endure.

I do not know what your name was before Ms saved you nor do I know exactly how old you were. I don’t know where you were born or much about the family and events before Ms H. Just like you I am curious but I think it might be a little dangerous searching deeper in case I find out stuff that disturbs me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and can be easily hurt. So far I’ve been lucky with the people I have met and the stories I have heard on my journey; but I don’t want to push my luck. I’ve accomplished more that I thought and seen a glimpse of your former life.

Earlier in 2016 before you arrived in my life I had lost my hearing which also affected my walking. Watching TV or listening to music was unpleasant as I couldn’t easily understand speech. I became quite depressed. Slowly over time my hearing improved and I started initially listening to music without words; electroclash stuff like Vitalic, Fisherspooner and the like. Slowly more words started to creep in to the songs as my hearing continued to improve. I remember listening to Madame Hollywood by Felix Da Housecat featuring Miss Kittin and bells by Vitalic a lot of the time. As I recall I think I got muddled up and thought that Miss Kittin was also featured in bell but she didn’t. So, with you, a “puddy tat”, running behind me from the school on the 15th of September 2016 and the words “Madame”, “puddy tat”, “Miss Kittin”, and “Housecat” in my mind your name became “Miss Pudding” without me ever consciously trying to think of a name; my subconscious named you.

From here you know the story well. Initially you didn’t want to go outside but overtime you psychologically recovered and became once again curious in the outside world. We spent many a day gardening and exploring the backyard. Your favorite activity outside seemed to be watching me pulling the weeds from the veggie bed. Inside, we just loved wasting away the hours watching television on the couch. When here you comforted me so greatly and made me feel that everything would be okay. Being able to care and help you brought me so much joy and helped me return. I’m so grateful I had the honor of you being in my life. With all the words in the world I don’t think anyone will fully appreciate how deeply and how much I will always love you. The world has stopped without you; I miss you so much.

Just me and you on the couch; time well spent

An arty shot of you on your way back to the house

The simple pleasure of a sleep

Pretending to be a cat. Noooo you are a human.

Geez, some privacy please

Big yawn

Jonti. Last modified Fri, 26 Nov 2021 19:48:07 GMT.