Sunday, 25 September 2011
Cats' Tails (3) Billy
For some reason I scanned all four cat pictures together and cannot now seperate them.
From top left clockwise we have Footsie, Billy, Mitzy and Sam.
Some time after the demise of both Sam and Mitzy, when we were feeding ferals both down in the town centre and in our back garden, one morning an 'extra' appeared among the back garden ones. He was thin and bedraggled, black and white (mainly white), and with a very long thick tabby tail.
He was too friendly to be a true feral, so, as we were catless at the time, we made friends with him until he was confident took him to the vet to be checked over, got the all-clear and adopted him, or were adopted by him.
After two or three weeks he was much bigger, with a thick short-haired coat and a fabulous tail. No-one in the area had seen him around, and we had done all the usual checks to try to find his owner to no avail, so we concluded he had been dumped,
This foul practice was very common at that time. Jobs were few and far between, Aylesbury was not then the size it is now and many people were losing their houses (negative equity), and their first callous action was to dump family pets.
Billy was a big softy, with a purr which was audible at a hundred yards. He had though, one odd habit.
When he lay in the sun, or when we switched lights on he would cover his eyes with a paw and sleep like that for hours.
Eighteen months after we took him on he got into a fight one night. We were woken by a tremendous racket from downstairs, feet racing and the cat-flap bashing shut. We tore down to find Billy huddled in a corner, lumps of fur strewn around the floor and a strong smell.
We never discovered who or what his opponent had been but, from that day on, Billy became less and less well. He had after much TLC recovered his nice soft coat, but his eyes looked paler, the colour had changed and he was lethargic and losing vigour.
Thoroughly alarmed by now, we took him for blood tests and a check-up to try to discover the cause.
Twenty-four hours later, Robin, our lovely Aussie vet told us, grave-faced, "I'm afraid it's bad news, Billy is FIV positive".
For anyone who may not know, this is the feline equivalent of Aids. There is no effective cure and only cats who are housebound and have no access to outdoors and contact with other cats can be kept until their immune systems finally fail.
We were stunned, but sadly had to make the appointment for him to be put down, just as we were really getting to know him.
I held him, and kissed his lovely little furry face as Robin gave him the injection. A few seconds and he was gone and John and I were yet again stumbling out of the vet's surgery with wet faces and aching hearts.
Once again, as so often before, we swore, never again, it's too painfull, why do we do it?
Billy was with us for such a short time, but he left an indelible paw-print.