Thursday, 6 January 2022

Kavli

Continuing reading ancient diaries and opening up old history I came across an entry for March 85, which made me cry all over again. For many years I had a cat, a female called Makarios (like the Cypriot Archbishop of the time), picked up as a tiny kitten on a building site in London, probably the runt of a feral cat's litter, abandoned and still dependant on the mother. After great efforts on my part the tiny thing survived, and as she grew we gave her all sorts of nicknames, Mac, Kavli, Fav, Kav, among others. This is how the entry went:-


Sunday 31 March 1985

Start of British Summertime today. Not that it makes any difference, the weather is still foul. Rainy and windy. Kavli is a little better again. She eats and drinks, she moves about a little, she washes and grooms herself, but I think the heart has gone out of the brave little fighter, literally. Our tough old boot is being knackered by her worn out heart. She breathes laboriously and sometimes she makes a whistling sound over and over. And still she seems happy and grateful for everything I do. The Vet also said that she must be able to see very little now. I can't quite believe that, she doesn't seem to have any difficulties negotiating her way around the furniture. Be that as it may, the signs of extreme old age are abundant: few teeth, loss of weight, shaggy fur, ill-health, etc. And still she manages to look beautiful and arrange herself absolutely adorably. Just now the silly baggage tried to climb on to my window sill through the open window. It broke my heart to have to stop her because I think she might slip off; her footing is very unsteady.

Oh, I do love the beastie very much and when she's gone there is nobody left for me to  love and cuddle and stroke. And there'll be nobody to show me, over and over, how much she loves me. Kav comes running to the front door when she hears my step; she follows me up and down the stairs - often two or three times in a row; she says good morning and good night in her own inimitable way by purring loudly and winding herself round and round my legs, thumping her head on my feet and finally rolling over in front of me for a tickle on the tum. Every time I touch her lightly she purrs with happiness. She insists on being in the same room with me at all times; her eyes follow me about when she's not sleeping. She follows me into the garden like a dog at heel, but when I stay in, she stays in, no matter how nice the weather. If I am sitting out there, however, old Kav quite happily trots around the plants, tearing them up to cover her toilet.

Kav has been with me for fifteen years. She sat on my lap, night after night, when the children were in bed and P off on his nightly travels. Kav and the bottle were my only company for a long time. I gave up on the bottle but Kav didn't give up on me. She turned cross and cantankerous in her middle years with everyone but me. Like any proud and beautiful creature Kav always knew what was due to her but she paid back the homage with undying loyalty and great affection. So many people think only dogs love you; cats may not accept you as their master, but their love and loyalty can be as great as that of any other creature on this Earth. I swear old Kav knew when I was sad or when I was crying, she would come for extra rations of stroking and tickling at such time. And I also swear to it that she knew how to make me feel better.

I will miss her so very much when she dies, I am crying at the thought of it. She is a part of me in a way nobody and nothing else is. With her I've always been myself, never ever have I needed "to put on a front". Maybe I didn't want to hurt the children, so I'd pretend to be ok. With Kav that wasn't necessary. There were times she sat on my lap, my hands playing in her silky fur and tears would stream down my face.

With Kavli gone a whole chapter of my life will close, I will not be able to show weakness to any other living creature. A and Mum would rather not know, they want me strong; S would be deaf and blind to it and P would exploit it. Darling little Kavli, you have been a truer friend to me than any human being.

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Kavli died on 6th of June 85, just over two months after this entry. The Vet had been on at me for weeks to make an end. All treatments only worked for a few days, then she deteriorated again. I wish I had gone sooner than I finally did.



20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the poignant reflection of your cat ... made me shed a tear for our Sassy who died in 1998.

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  2. The toughest day in life in my opinion.

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  3. She was a true companion to you, Friko. I think part of the reason I waited nearly 25 yrs to get another cat (actually, two) was remembering the pain of loss when my last one, dear Vichon, died at age 15. Thank you for sharing your dairy entry. x

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  4. Thank you for sharing this with us. How necessary she was to you at this time in your life. Somebody you could count on to love you, no matter what. And you returned the love. I am sorry that you felt so alone. Now she still lives in your heart. Always.

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  5. Tears here too. Reminiscent tears.

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  6. Crying here as well. A beautiful tribute.

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  7. She sounds very much like my Mimi, the cat I raised from 12 weeks old and who was entirely mine in the best of senses. She lived to be 17, and I still think of her often, in spite of her being gone for nearly 19 years now. Like you, I am sure she knew when I was sad or unwell.

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  8. Hi Friko - always so sad to lose these special friends ... always there for us at all times. Beautifully told and amazing that all those years ago you wrote these tender words for Kav and have found them once again - memories indeed. With thoughts - Hilary

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  9. What a deep love you had for the cat and she for you Friko. And the more painful it is to lose a faithful friend.

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  10. Beautiful recount of a true love story. You were both so lucky to have had eachother for so many years.

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  11. Oh, Friko. This post made me cry, reminding me of my Marmelade Gypsy and the devotion and love your cat can bring. They were and are our greatest Secret Keepers. Your writing, as always, is so eloquent, powerful, and so from the heart. You had a relationship built on love and trust. I believe that more often than not, our pet family comes to us, knowing they will be with us at times when we need them most. We "think" that they need us, to nurture and heal. But I suspect that the nurturing and healing goes both ways. This is lovely and I'm grateful you had 15 years together.

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  12. Loved this post, Friko. I think the memories and experience we've had with pets that live with us as part of our family is a gift - especially with those who bond with us and show us unconditional love. The memories hurt, but the love we felt remains. Sometimes I feel that their love/spirit is still here in the house. We lost our last 2 cats who had been with us for over 15 years at the beginning of the pandemic. We miss them so, but I've been hesitant to bring another into the house... mainly because I don't want to feel that loss again. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Beautiful written, bitter-sweet story that all us animal lovers can relate to. Makes me wish I could get another dog but I probably won't....

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  14. Brought tears to my eyes. Our fur babies are so accepting of us and the love is unconditional. Bless you!

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  15. I remembered Dixie Rose while reading this, of course, but I also remember a stray that became my outdoor cat. I named her Calliope, and wished she could come in, but Dixie was having none of it. As the months passed, Calliope gradually went downhill, and eventually I took her to my vet for a consult. It was kidney disease, and since she'd been living with me as a feral 'stray,' the vet offered their usual service: to give her a death that would be more loving and kind than a lonely death in the woods or streets. The bonds form fast, and her death was as much a grief to me as Dixie Rose's.

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  16. My condolences, Friko. I see it has been many years, but condolences still. Bless you. ­čĺÖ

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  17. OMG what a Tribute, I Cried. We've had many Beloved Fur Babies, mostly Cats that Adopted us and were strays. Rat Boy reminds me of your Kav... Rat Boy was with us 20 Years and she {yes, not a Boy as it turned out} was a truer Friend to me than any Human Being as well, you never cease Loving, it is eternal, transcending even crossing over. Very glad you shared this intimate Tribute as Kav lives on in your Heart and Memories.

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  18. Tears Friko. Our adored companions carry so much of our pain and seem to understand its depth more than any other living creature. I've lived your story at one point in my life and I applaud your sharing it. Your writing jumps off the page.

    XO
    WWW

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  19. Hi Friko, I am sure the creator of the universe, real or imagined, made a giant mistake in assigning the too brief lifespans of our beloved companion pets. A loss never gets easier, all that love. I'm sorry to read this fine piece of writing, and as always I wish you a space and place where you are not alone. love kj

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