Woody, 2009-2024

It was a cold dark evening in early 2010. Lu and I had only been in our first house for a couple of months when we were heading over to Mirfield to look at some kittens.

We got there and the living room had a bunch of little furballs prancing about and climbing stuff. We'd said we were looking for two kittens and the woman picked up the two who would become known as Buzz and Woody and told us Woody had been picked out by another family already because of his distinctive white patch on his chest. She said, however, out of all of the litter, these two stuck together like glue. Played together, slept curled up at night together so she felt it would be quite cruel to split them up, since we could offer them a home together. We brought them back and got them settled in.

We spent a lot of time handling them while they were young so they quickly lost interest in attacking people for fun and that set the precedent for the two friendliest cats anyone could ever hope for.

Buzz passed away a couple of years ago now, and Woody changed overnight. Where once he was a cat who enjoyed company on his own terms, only seeking a lap to sleep on very occasionally, he became a very cuddly lap cat for his last couple of years. He was visibly depressed by the loss of his brother so we were only too happy to accommodate his new found need for cuddles.

Last week, he didn't come home for breakfast. This wasn't particularly uncommon for him to not show his face first thing. During Summer, he often went out as soon as it was light. Then lunchtime came, no sign of him. Later in the afternoon, Lu found him in the garden but when we tried to get him, he ran off. He didn't turn up again for another 6 or so hours. This time he brought himself home and we quickly realised he wasn't doing great.

He had cuts, grazes and was so dehydrated he had thick saliva hanging from his mouth. We ran him over to the vet who found he also had swollen saliva glands, preventing him from eating and making drinking incredibly difficult. We took him home and for the next couple of days we syringe fed him fluids but he showed no signs of improvement.

Within days, he quickly lost weight and became very unsteady on his feet. The vets weren't sure what was wrong with him, so therefore couldn't guarantee any sort of cure or that he'd return to how he was previously.

We decided he was an old boy, he'd had a good life and we didn't want to put him through the stress of undergoing however many tests at the vets.

We made the hard choice to put him to sleep.

Naturally, we were very upset and made this choice very reluctantly but ultimately, it was for the best. He was so weak in his final hours that he'd passed before the vet had even finished the injection, even she felt that he'd sort of given up.

We brought him home, and laid him by the fireplace until the kids got home to say goodbye. Twice I walked into the room and expected him to life his head...

Our living room window overlooks the front garden where we have a bird feeder in a tree. Buzz used to love sitting at that window watching the birds so when he passed, it felt appropriate to bury him under that tree. And now he's been joined by his brother.

Together again.