Today would have been Mr AJ aka Angelous’s 18th birthday. It’s been a year and 3 months since he crossed the rainbow bridge and you’d think I’d be okay. The tears still flow. I miss that boy. I miss his brother Diesel or D just as equally and as much.
AJ was the runt of the litter but he was a huge cat. 7kg. A colleague at work asked if we’d like a kitten. I was against it as I knew it’d would be a lot of work. P was yes. End of June we picked him up. I think his dad was a rolling stone, all black. His mama was a slender ginger and white cute little thing. He fitted in the palm of my hands coming back in the car. A year later he was massive!
His first 3 years were spent in London. He always wanted to be outside. He worked out how to open the back door climbing on top of the old spin dryer my Mum got me. We had foxes at the end of the garden in an old shed I swear he was friends with. Some nights he wouldn’t come back no matter how much I called for him. The following morning opening the back door, he’d sprint down the path from the shed to walk inside like nothing happened scary that night. I remember one snowy evening looking out from upstairs along the line of terraced garden fences. There was a fox going under the gaps under the fences with AJ hot on his tail jumping them!
I gave up on collars with him. Every other week for about 4 months I was buying one. He’d come back with it missing. I gave up and let him be collarless. The same expression all grown up!
Right from the start he was never a lap cat. He never sat voluntarily on my lap. But that wasn’t to say I was not his. I remember the first evening I knew I was his hoomin. I’d let him in one night and carried on with what I was doing writing my list. He wouldn’t stop pawing at my pen. I looked at him and he had some other cats ‘dead skin’ claw by his eye! He knew who to ask to help! The first time I was ill with him around, he slept by my side when he could have gone out. He once gave me a present of a half alive massive spider all proud. I screamed and he never gave me presents again!
Well, he did. One brunch he decided the litter tray wasn’t clean and started to scrabble around in the paper recycling. We were WTF’s he doing. A big poo!!! He fell down the toilet too. I was outside in the garden and heard a crash. Thought nothing of it or a slightly wet cat until I went to use the toilet and found water around it. He loved to balance on the x shaped washing line and run along fences.
He never slept on the bed in London apart from when you were ill or out. He preferred a chair. He got the 3 year old tom crystals in his bladder. He hid it until it was almost too late. He had to stay in cat hospital for a week. I went to visit him and left a confused cat. But I think he understood. He understood a lot of situations. Mama upset, unhappy or crying, a gentle head butt and walk around me. He did that until his later years when he let D take over. I think he was himself in too much pain which I didn’t see. He was also a cat flu carrier but that didn’t stop him. He had 2 bouts of it came out fine.
His, it’s hot pose
Just before moving to Spain, he made a friend with next doors cat. He’d let her in the house and I’d find them snuggling on the sofa! She use to make a run for it, but I knew he liked her! He had an issue peeing on the hall rug I think a seagrass rug. I don’t know if he was marking his territory or he though the rug was better as litter rug.
The day the pet courier can to take him for Spain was the worst. The noise he made as the guy put him in the box a cry I’ll never forget. Confusion and a look on his face what you doing to me? I’ve done nothing wrong! We had no time to say goodbye, no it’ll be okay. 2 days later after I arrived in Spain I went to pick him up from the airport. He came in his new big box on the back of a forklift truck like nothing happened!
He hid for a while in the new place until the boxes arrived from London. He settled as they smelt right. He help me unpack getting in all the boxes. He found hiding places up in the kitchen cupboards from the vacuum.
I knew he was missing his girlfriend so we decided to get another cat, Mr D! I swear he knew. The night before he sat next to me on the sofa arm by my head. Something he never did. No touching! Ever since then on his terms we’d snuggle. Never on my lap. That was for D. He’s curl up next to my side sitting or if lying down, we’d ‘spoon’. He’d let me give belly rubs with his front paws flexing. He’d press himself so close to me purring away. He also started sleeping on the bed after Mr D came. Competition!
He accepted D form the get go. They never drew blood or fought nasty. D gave him cat flu or activated it but they were brothers until the end. I swear after AJ went I wasn’t enough for D and his missed his brother too much to live. D adored AJ when AJ as the grumpy one. They used to chase each other up and down corridors, wrestle it out on the bed or sofa. Aj used to swipe and hiss at D if he played too much batting his tail or bothering him to move so D could have a warm spot.
He’d OD on catnip. Ate so much he made himself sickHis catnip teabag he had since he was about 1. It still did it for him years later. I’m not sure if it was, but I placed with him for cremation
It’s amazing how you live life in segments. Those years feel like another person, almost a dream that’s forgotten. Moving to France they bonded some more. He got a bit fat, they both did and had to loose weight. He never lost the tummy sag flaps which wobbled as he ran. Given his name was Angelous I never noticed until he was about 7 the angel wing markings on both sides of his shoulders. Bad Mama. He was named after Angelus in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. P’s choice.
You can just make out his angel wing markings here
As they both got older, they settled into sleep, eat, poo, pee, sleep eat, maybe play. His allergies got worse to the point one vet removed his lower eyelids so they wouldn’t bother his eyes rubbing. P used to say I had 2 shadows where ever I went in the house. They’d either take shifts or both be around me especially in the evenings. He’d used to tell me to sit for a snuggle! Usually the mornings were spent in the sun and the afternoons on the bed or cool places in the summer.
Moving back to Spain is when I remember him the most as it’s most recent. AJ was a pro in the car. Sat quietly maybe mouthed at you. All you had to do was make sure the litter box was ready letting him out. D was the opposite. He hated travelling, sung over 70kmph, bitched and didn’t like staying in his box.
Spain the 2nd time they’d soak up the morning light in their cat tree. Aj claimed the middle tree house while D claimed the crows nest. AJ also liked the bottom of the cat tree. Blanket nest in the winter, linen pillowcase in the summer soaking up the sun. I used to put coolie blocks in tea towels in their various summer sleeping places in to cool down. I’d often find them pressed up against one. AJ never had a bed of his own. He preferred blankets or the sofa. D loved beds and has so many all over the house. In the winters I’d make blanket nests on the bed and towards his later years he’d let D curl up next to him. He’d even lick D’s head. For years he’d never let D near him unless it was the vets.
He loved brush times. So much if I forgot he’d come up to me later and just sit watching me. I’d be what? Then remembering I forgot to brush you! He knew I knew and walked ahead to the living room to be brushed. He’d always stand tall, looking up at you as you brushed him. Sometimes purring and his tail high with a little bum wriggle. I even bathed him! One year his allergies got so bad, he licked all the fur off his back legs. The vet gave some cream to apply under bandages. I was concerned about the cream’s toxicity level and switched to Moa Balm with thick soft trainer socks over his legs tapped at the top. He hated it as he skidded a little walking but I think he knew why. The cream worked. The following year he got bald patches bad on his neck in addition to his back legs. A spur of the moment decision I decided to bath him or rather shower him. I found the mildest shampoo I had, he fought for a bit but when the shampoo when on I felt he whole body relax and him look at me like thank you. The shower worked. He didn’t like it, didn’t talk to me for a few hours afterwards but I’m sure he appreciated his many showers afterwards. Thankfully it was AJ not D. If I ever bathed D I needed chainmail.
We worked out a towel at the bottom of the bath was better for himHis face of why’s
While D was the talker and the hug demander, AJ I only realised afterwards was the more social one. Whenever I’d eat breakfast on the balcony, 9 times out of 10 he’d come up rub my knee with his head or teeth (I hated that. His canine tooth rubbing along my knee) and do some neighbourhood watching. If it was raining, he come the door, take one look at me and walk away. They’d both greet at the door in the evenings. Both for hugs whether they wanted them or not. D used to tell you it was dinner or breaky time. AJ stared. He rarely meowed. When he did it was a light meow. Jumping he was elegant until the almost the end. He never knocked things over jumping despite his size.
Breakfast with AJ
When I got back in the evenings, take off my jewellery or to the blinds, he’d jump on the bed and ever so gently head butt my bum. Almost like Mama can we have a moment until D comes!
Ballerina leg! He had this thing where he’d only stretch his right back leg in this way. He got arthritis later in life too as you can see from his paws here
Around 14-15 his tummy issues got worse. The vet didn’t know if it was his allergies, pollution, radio waves or what. He had a biopsy done and thankfully it wasn’t cancer. He had irritable bowel disease. The medicine however was the same as if it was cancer. That gave him epilepsy. I hated it. Noises triggered it, like a keyboard, extendable tape measure or even a spray bottle. His head would start to twitch then he’d fall off the bed or sofa, try to run it out claws scrabbling the floor before going into a full on seizure. I used to try and hold his head gently or at least put my hand behind his head and between a wall or cupboard if it was near one. I knew he had 5 but I think he had more. I’d come home and he’d want to be hugged longer than 3 seconds before demanding to be set free. I never knew if each seizure would be his last. So he went on epilepsy medicine. The cheap one not agreeing with him, so he went on the more expensive one. We’d joke he was free but liked the expensive things as he racked up vet bills! Sometimes I’d thought he’d rattle the amount of medicine he was on. I never realised how on edge I was if I forgot the medicine or in general the chances of a seizure until he went.
He loved yoga mats or when I worked out at home. We’d argue whose mat it was. I ended up cutting up an old yoga mat for him for the bottom of the cat tree. He still preferred mine
January last year, he changed. He slept more but on you without moving much, breathing deeply. He lost his purr which hurt and slept heavily. He started not to be able to support his head. His last few days he was there inside but not physically. He’d try to find me, cry out getting stuck places as he couldn’t see. He didn’t want to be on the sofa or bed. He couldn’t control his bowel or bladder movements. He’d tried to find the litter box but couldn’t. The vet knew but that last weekend was bring him Monday to assess his medicine. He never made the Monday.
The holiday the year before he went. His fur never regrew 100% on his tummy from the biopsy. His nose bad from allergies. He found the wardrobe to cool off in and my shorts. Whenever you went someplace new with him for a few days he used to hide under a bed for a few days.
We spent the night snuggled up in bed, him in the crook of my arm sleeping peacefully until wanting to pee. I’d let him try to find the box but there was usually an accident. I’d clean his paws and belly of poo and pee so the pee wouldn’t burn him. He had an accident in bed so I was sleeping on the other side. I feel bad as I got a bit cross with him as he didn’t want cleaning so let him be and went back to sleep. While he couldn’t see where he was going, he knew where I was. I woke up seeing him trying to walk across the room. Maybe he was having a seizure I don’t know. He was so weak he could just about walk. But he knew where I was on other side of the bed. I picked him up placed him on my chest to calm him for a hug. I don’t know if it was 5 minutes later or an hour. I woke up to his back legs going, him breathing heavily, eyes dilated. I called the emergency vet but it was too late. He went in my arms. I’m forever grateful that night we had snuggled up. I have tears flowing writing this even now. Just like that he was gone. His presence gone. I think what’s worse is I never got to say goodbye before he went his last seizure to say everything is alright. All he got was if he was there, was me screaming and crying.
Looking back I never saw how ill or old he was getting as I was with him all the time. Only looking back I can see. There’s one photo I knew he was really ill about 4 months before he went. I have a photo of D a few months before he went with the same expression.
Thankfully I had D to help me get through it. He grieved too. For about a week after AJ had gone he slept in his tree house. I tried to be around him as much as possible. He later got similar tummy issues in addition to his hyperthyroidism. But I wasn’t enough. 10 months later he withdrew from life so quickly it hurt as he loved life. He didn’t want me near him. But I made a silent deal with him, he wasn’t going alone. He wanted to but Mama didn’t want him too. He died in my arms too. Brothers from another mother, bothers for life. They couldn’t be apart. I hope their cat spirits are together and their next adventure spirits have a better life than I could have ever have given them and that they’re together. I miss those two. The best ginger and white cat and black cat that ever were, was and to be.