Today would have been Mr D’s, aka happy go lucky, ray of sunshine, loves life, Diesel’s 16th birthday. It’s been nearly 10 months since he said his last see you later, joining his brother Mr Aj aka Angleous. Everyday I miss him. I miss both of the them.
Everyday he made me laugh. Whether it was up to no good, answering me back, demanding food, hugs, exploring he was always full of life. I always say he chose me. After moving to Spain we decided to to get AJ a friend. He’d gone from a garden to an apartment, didn’t have next door’s cat to invite over to nap on the sofa. The first Sunday we went to the shelter it was closed due to a festivo. This was to be fate. We went back the following weekend which was around this time of year. He’d only ‘checked in’ the week previous or was just up for adoption. I can’t remember. Thankfully a British girl was volunteering. AJ and I had only been in the country less than 2 month, I spoke hardly any Spanish. P was drawn to a grey tabby in the neutering recover enclosure. She kept hissing and batting any other cat that came to the fence. I thought she’d be too strong a cat for AJ. Even though he came home with blood on him sometimes, shed claws in his head, he was a sweet gentle cat. The volunteer suggested going in the main cat enclosure.
One little black cat about a year old up high on the short pylons kept pawing at me. Head to one side as he did, which he never stopped doing when about to do something naughty or play. I think he thought she looks stupid enough to take me in. The pawing worked. I picked him up, hugged him in my arms and he never stopped purring. That’s how he go his name Diesel for the non stop purring. He knew was he was doing. 20 minutes and €14.20 later, he was off to his new life. He kept putting his paw through the transport box to get my attention. It was also the easiest car journey with him ever. All subsequence car journeys if you went over 70kmph he sang, he needed to pee, he needed the car cool, he needed to be out the box (illegal in Spain, but for your ears, he was), he needed to poo and he let you know loudly.
Neither of us had a clue how to introduce cats to each other. AJ was more concerned a door was shut. Open it please. D was just happy to be in a house. We left them to it and went out. Thankfully they didn’t fight blood. They never drew blood. I knew they wouldn’t! They’d play fight. Chasing each other through the apartment(s) from the sofa to the bed and back wrestling. Aj hated it if he lost and would want to continue the fight. D walked away. I never knew who was top cat. D would try to get him to play but it was only when AJ wanted to. That didn’t matter. D would happily chase and play with toy mice, balls, play fetch, hunt and jump for feathers and mice on strings. AJ looked down on them. When Aj played on his own you watched in surprise. Catnip time D always wanted AJ’s!
He brought with him cat flu, which aggravated AJ’s born with it strain. While he didn’t have as many vet trips as AJ, he was still expensive. I always wondered why his blood test bills were more than AJ’s. In France they were the same price. Returning to Spain and the same vet, it clicked. If I was there he was cool to have blood tests. If I wasn’t he had to go under. I mentioned this to the vet, he was keen to test the theory out if I was there. He couldn’t believe it was the same cat! D liked his Mama with him at the vets.
Everyday day he made me laugh. Always up to something. He taught himself to pee in the toilet. Later drink from it. He let you know if the litter box wasn’t up to his standard. If he wanted to wake you up, he’d start making noises. Meowing or knocking things off surfaces. If that didn’t work he’s paw at my mouth. I’d wake to a face with large eyes, as if to say I’m hungry, paw pointing to his mouth. He even jumped front paws first to wake me up once. It worked. The hairdryer he hated. I had to wash his fur once attempting to dry it with the hairdryer. I gave up. The next time he saw the hairdryer he swiped it hard and ran off. I didn’t use it much. When I did he gave me side eye and ran away. His first poo he did the day we got him was in the bath. A runny one directly above the plug hole as he didn’t know where the litter box was.
He was always up for playing. He loved to play! He loved to bat at Aj’s tail to get a response. He loved toy mice, balls, screwed up pieces of paper. toy mice on elastic, thumper kick toys for aggression. He never stopped exploring or playing. Even now I still put things out the way I think he might chew. Plastic bags, paper shopping bags as he’d stick his head in through the handles and run off. Everything you brought into the house he had to inspect. He loved boxes and scrunchy paper sounds. He had a box filled with paper to paw and sleep in. The only way he could be brushed was with distraction on his chaise lounge cardboard scratching post. He’d rip pieces of cardboard off as you brushed him. Sometimes you got a swipe. He only hissed at me once, Aj many times. When he decided enough brushing but I was there’s loads more in moulting season I had to do what his cat mama did, holding him by the scruff of his neck. Aj you hardly said stop it at him. D, every day up to tricks being where he shouldn’t.
One of his favourites was the bath tap. He’d follow into the bathroom, jump in the bath look at you then the tap waiting for you to turn it on slightly. He’d then just sit and stare or paw at it. When it got too much he ran away. It got a bit of an obsession like with laser light but after a few years he wasn’t bothered. Another was the shower curtain game. Him in the bath, you on the toilet running your hand battering the curtain. He’d lunge for your hand! Once I was cleaning the shower he came in and sat looking at me then the shower. D! You’ll get soaked! He was daring me, go on, go on turn it on! I did, he ran! He was the toilet roll cat too. You’d come back to toilet paper everywhere as he’d thumper kicked the roll.
The most important times of the day were breakfast and dinner and snacks in between. He let you know loudly it was food time. If the bowl was too low midday you got told. The vet recommend for both in the last 4-5 years freshly cooked chicken. He used to watch the chicken cook and let me know when it was ready. If I cooked it mid morning ready for the next few days he had to have some, even if their bowls weren’t empty. Crazy cat logic. He knew he wasn’t allowed on counters but he jumped up anyway. As the hob top is electric we had to switch it off at the mains otherwise he’d turn it on. After dinner it was hugs. I couldn’t do anything for 15 minutes after dinner as we lie on the bed with him massaging and kneading my right arm pit. Always my right arm. AJ made do with being near my feet sleeping. Last year he developed under his right front leg pit lumps. The vet did tests but had no idea what they were. They didn’t hurt. They started as bald patch and grew as he licked them. Maybe he was trying to tell me something. AJ was the comfort Mama when she’s crying, sad or ill. He let D take over this duty gradually in his last 2 years. I think he was in so much pain he couldn’t take mine. D was okay at this until his tummy got hungry. I twisted my ankle on an obstacle race and he must have known in advance. From the moment he greeted me at the door his meows were different. He didn’t stop meowing until I was resting with him snuggled up.
He loved to be up high. He took the top crows nest on the cat tree with AJ taking the bottom floor sharing the mid floor. He used to jump up on the cabinets wanting attention but not hugs or food. AJ was a graceful cat never knocking things over jumping or exploring. D he didn’t care or look what he was jumping up onto or off.
He developed hyperthyroidism which bless him, he couldn’t help but was a little sh*t with.
Meowing wailing at the front door. Telling him to stop would’t work. Shouting at him he ignored you. You had go with energy force of shut up to the door or get the water spray bottle. It got better when he went on meds. Usually it was at night when you were trying to sleep. He lost so much weight it was scary. It was a balance with his fur being not right, to visually seeing the weight loss while he stuffed his face. So many vet trips every few months for one or both of them. He got irritated bowl problems later like AJ. I’m convinced both their multiple illnesses were related to pollution, wifi, radio frequencies.
While AJ let you pick him up for 5 seconds and only snuggle on his terms, D was 180. He’d have to have hugs when you got in, after a stroll patrol down the corridor in the evenings, hugs on demand. So many chirps, meows, purrs. He’d have a certain meow thought out the day for a hug. During the cooler months and occasionally in the summer he’d sleep between my legs. As soon as it got colder he became a lap cat. He’d kick AJ off his spot to get the warm. While AJ never cared for a bed, snuggling up in blankets or lying stretched out, D had a bed sometimes multiple beds in every room. His cat tree, the shared mid floor, box filled with paper, a hammock, 2 nests on the human bed, a bed by the radiator. Depending on the time of day he’d be in one particular one. He was a heat seeking missile. I remember the coldest day here, he sat on the hob after I’d finished cooking. It had cooled so it wasn’t burning. It was so cold I didn’t tell him off. He used to always try to snuggle up to his brother, who’d be pis8ed off until his later years when I’d find them snuggling up. He loved his big bruv, always following him, getting him to play. I think in the end I wasn’t enough for him and he wanted to be with AJ. He always looked up to AJ following him around. A week before he went his behaviour changed a little. Restless, eating less. In the space of 2 days he became withdrawn, hiding with his back to me in strange places. I knew but didn’t want to acknowledge it. It hurt as he loved life. He wasn’t eating not even his favourite sweet potato that he’d take off your fork as you ate it if he could. Sweet corn on the cob was another favourite. You had a to leave some for him to naw on. While AJ wanted to be with me when he went, D didn’t but I’d made silent agreement with him, he wasn’t going alone. Like AJ he went in my arms. The house in an instant became empty. My cheeky happy go lucky D joined his brother. I hope their cat spirits are together and their next lives are better than I could have given them.