Patrick has gone

Sadly, on Sunday 30 January, my cat, Patrick, went on his last adventure. He popped out through the cat door around 9.30pm, and never came home. I later learned that that he had been found dead in the neighbour’s yard upon their arrival home from holiday a couple of days after his disappearance.

I looked for him, of course, when I awoke in the morning and there was no sign of him. It was completely out of character for him to spend the night away from home. He just wasn’t that sort of cat. Nothing to do with superior cat morals, or anything, he just liked being at home. His adventures in his latter days mostly consisted of going down to the nephew’s garden at the back on the same property, and doing his business there. The nephew’s flat was Patrick’s and my old home. I knew that if I found him it probably wouldn’t be pleasant, but as it transpired I was unable to.

Then a few days later the nephew brought a flyer into me, which had been left in his letterbox, about a cat who had been found dead in someone’s yard. It was Patrick. The neighbours had posted their find on the Lost Pets Register, and a kind person had picked up on that post and decided to do a small leaflet drop locally about it. It didn’t occur to me to look on the register myself – duh! I contacted her, and she was able to let me know the address where he’d been found.

The neighbours had already buried him by the time I got in touch with them, but they assured me that he was in a place he wouldn’t be disturbed. They said there was no blood or injury on him that they could see, which might indicate being hit by a car. It was as though he’d just walked into their place and lain down and died. Patrick was 14 years old and had recently been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which isn’t an uncommon cat ailment, and I’d been giving him medicine for that. It’s possible that some medical event related to his health issue happened quickly and unexpectedly, and he died as a result of it. That’s the scenario I’m going with, anyway.

Naturally, it has been upsetting, but I was also very, very grateful to my neighbours and the considerate leaflet-dropper, and thanked them a million times over for their kindness and thoughtfulness. These are the same neighbours I’ve had the odd contretemps with since I moved here. I ate some humble pie that day.

I inherited Patrick from my mother (since passed away) when she went into the rest home five years ago, so he’s been my companion for a while. His real name is Paddy, but ‘Patrick’ somehow fit him, too, and that’s mostly how I referred to him. I’ll miss him, even though he had a bloody great attitude on him (which I secretly admired, actually). Patrick was a bastard of an ambusher, too, and I don’t think there has been any stage in the last five years when my feet or ankles haven’t had a scratch on them. I confess I won’t miss that. Or maybe I will.

Losing one’s animal companion may not hurt the same as losing a human who is close to us, I realise. I say that from a place of knowing what it felt like when we lost our youngest brother in a motorbike accident 25 years ago – but we still invest a lot of our lives and emotions in our animal companions. They’re our buddies and fellow travellers in this world, and it’s a hard wrench to our hearts when they leave it. The gap they leave behind can be very big. I won’t get another cat while I live on a busy road, though. I knew Patrick was road savvy before I brought him home to live with me, which was why I was comfortable doing that.

Goodbye and RIP, Patrick. It was good to have known you – attitude, ambusher, and all.

The last Friday afternoon at our place.

29 thoughts on “Patrick has gone

  1. Frances Sullivan

    Aw, he’s a gorgeous prankster! My condolences, Katrina. You are spot on when you write about their leaving as a “…hard wrench to our hearts.” These creatures push, prod, and “ambush” their way into our lives. We feel responsible for them, take care of them, and miss them horribly when they go which is always too soon.

    I applaud your neighbours, btw. It seems they might know the angst of missing/losing a pet and went out of their way to help. As for his end, I’ll embrace your choice of explanations, hoping the little fur guy just went to sleep one last time.

    Sending a big old hug to you via the ether. x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Katrina, I’m very sorry to hear of Patrick’s demise. He will certainly have left paw-prints on your heart.
    Please note, though, that we have lived on a busy road for 35 years, during which time we’ve had a succession of cats, and none has met their end in traffic. You might eventually reconsider getting another furry companion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Our condolences to everyone who knew Patrick.
    A family cat is just that, family. Each one brought a wonderful presence and a great loss. Just to recall their names from memory since 1987:
    Pockey, Lilac, Socks, Sticks, Miss Kitty, Jiffy, Blackie, Mr. Ralph, Monty, Loki, Nibbles, Jasper, and Fozzie. And I’ve likely forgotten one or two.
    Most are buried in the property here.

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  4. Oh no, how sad. Yes, the loss of an animal companion isn’t quite the same as losing a human family member, but I think the grief is hard felt by any cat mom or dad. They may be of a different species and consider yours the lesser one in so many ways (mine loves sleeping on my head while I’m in bed and grabs my hand firmly when she thinks I’m looking at the phone too much) but they do become part of your household, and in most cases, a part of your heart. I’m glad Patrick received a decent burial from caring people, and you at least were told of what happened to him. I had an ornery boy cat who disappeared, and we never found out what became of him, which still bothers me to this day. But who knows, perhaps someday another cat will walk in and decide you’re the perfect human for him/her. Though I do understand, it’s a bother when you enjoy traveling to have to find a caregiver for a supposedly independent cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m glad that he was found and I got closure. It’s true that it’s easier to travel without having a cat that needs taking care of when we’re away, but then we get so much from their companionship when we’re not travelling, as well. Life’s all about juggling our conflicting wants and needs, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I sometimes wonder if she’s the reincarnation of some ancient queen, the way she behaves! She certainly seems to believe she is another human, or I am just a large and rather stupid cat. (I think there was a scientific study that actually found that cats regard us as other cats, only not as smart or as light-footed.) She is a great companion, however, and I am grateful for her presence, especially during the lockdown days of the pandemic.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. No, it’s not nice at all. Even though we know that it will happen one day, we’re never really prepared for it. I do believe he was happy living with me, so that’s something.


  5. lettersquash

    My condolences, Katrina. I’ve had two cats, and I missed them both for a while after their demise. The first I found outside my rented cottage in the country, virtually skin and bones, and I fed and stroked her. The back door to the cottage already had a cat flap, and access to the house from that door was via the cellar, full of my junk and that of previous tenants, and a few days later I came down from the kitchen to find about 12 kittens running riot, presumably why the mother was so thin. I then regularly found she’d dragged a rabbit in through the cat flap for the kids’ education. It was a nightmare trying to feed, neuter and then find homes for all of them, which I only managed with some help from the local Cat Protection League charity. I kept the mum, ‘Flopsie’, due to her wonky tail. Injuries (a broken leg), vet’s bills, food and environmental costs made me vow not to have another pet after she choked on a fish bone in front of me and died before I could do anything.

    Then my current partner and her eight-year-old son nagged…so we got a rescue kitten. Years later, early on in the pandemic, this posed us the difficult assessment of his quality of life at his advanced age, and when to take him for his last visit to the vet. He was having increasing difficulty walking, then started getting incontinent, he’d lost most of his teeth over the years, and he’d lost his zest for life. I handed Ozzy over to the vet’s assistant in the car park due to social distancing (a small reminder that people were losing human relatives without being at their side). They sent a condolence card through the post, which was nice. It was months before I stopped expecting to see him behind the door when I came down to the kitchen.

    Be the focus of the love you used to give Patrick (but don’t ambush yourself).


  6. Thank you. That was a bit of a hell experience with cat #1, Flopsie, but I probably would have done all I could for her, too. What are the environmental costs you refer to? I can empathise with the awfulness of watching a cat slowly ‘disintegrate’, and having to make the decision to take them to the vet. It really cuts us up – and that’s without having the social distancing requirements of Covid in the mix. I had to take my previous cat to the vet to be euthanised when she got old and it was crueler to let her carry on, so at least I was spared that with Patrick, I guess.


  7. You do feel a lot of grief when your friends of other species pass on. My daughter was devastated by the death of her cat Grey, and I still miss my beloved dog Coffee. In some ways the more quirky their personality the more you miss them. It’s warming though that the neighbours took all that trouble. People are not so bad after all…a lesson that for me needs constant reinforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

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