In Memory Of Keats
As a self-confessed softie, I found losing my grey tabby cat a very traumatic experience, but despite what I went through, even knowing the outcome, I would go through it again. Life is about the enjoying new experiences, whether they are good or bad. I think we should cherish both equally, since one accentuates the other.
I’d had Keats, affectionately known as Keaty Pie, since he was just 7 weeks old. He disappeared a month after his second birthday, on the day it had been announced the world was to end. It was a curious choice on his part.
I acquired him and his brother, Blake, from a rescue centre having suffered the loss of two other cats. Two weeks before, I’d lost Tingle, the love of my life, having brought him back from hell. (His moving story is told in my novel ‘Shackled’) His replacement was Tennyson. Within 5 days of his arrival, he was hit by a car and killed. Despite being inconsolable (as I said I’m a softie) and announcing I didn’t want any more cats, ever, my husband, Doug, knew better. One day, he handed me two delightful and precious bundles of joy.
And so Keats and Blake arrived. They were so tiny that they fed from the same dish; they slept together with their legs entwined, and they played and chased, rolling around and squeaking until they fell into a sleepy heap.
They were beautiful. I appreciated their presence in my life every single day, and watched with amusement their new adventures. They would race around the garden, one chasing the other; they would climb to the top of a tree and cling to a slender branch wondering how on earth they got there; they would observe the chickens, not understanding those strange-looking feathered creatures or their purpose.
They were a pair, and did everything together. Gradually, though, over those two years, Keats became more and more aloof. He needed less attention from his brother and from us. He was growing up, and to our regret, he had become a brilliant hunter. It was May 2011. The swallows had just arrived, having just survived a difficult journey from South Africa, and were perched in the barn on low beams. Exhausted and hungry, they were easy prey.
Keats brought one into the kitchen, still alive but barely. Doug was furious with him, and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and shook him in a rage. You might say Keats was just being a cat. That’s what Keats thought too. He disappeared days later, never to be seen again.
I was devastated and searched the streets and roads for weeks and months. He was never found. I like to think he is living with a nice family somewhere, although I also fear he could have been killed by a fox since I have reason to believe my big ginger moggy recently survived an attack. It’s something I will never have the answer to, and perhaps in this instance, it is the preferred option.
Losing a pet is a fact of life, and despite the hurt he unwittingly caused, I would still go through it again. Without the negative periods in our life, we’ll never learn how to appreciate the positives. And those two years were a positive, amongst the best in my life. I tell myself I shouldn’t be too greedy.
God Bless Keats.