Patch, our beloved first cat, and the reason why this blog is called "Thirty Pounces", passed away at 9.49pm, 4th of May 2018, in the company of her humans, my wife and and I.
We did not chose Patch: she chose us. She appeared on our doorstep one morning in 2002. More precisely, a pile of cat poo appeared on our doormat, with a sheepish looking kitten off to one side. We said, any cat that can make it up 17 flights of stairs to poo on our doorstep is a cat that can stay with us. Patch was a kitten that had lost her family, and she chose us to be her new family. We thought we were taking her in, but in reality, she took us in. We didn’t realise it then, but when we took her in, we became cat people: it’s because of Patch that we took in Iffy, and Twinkle, and Macavity.
Since 2013, Patch has been struggling with diabetes and, more recently, kidney disease. We cared for her as best we could, and once again, she had lessons to teach us - lessons about resilience and not giving up, lessons about struggling and not giving up the fight. And she did fight, long and hard, and we had a good 5 more years with her ... but in the last few months, she was getting worse and worse. Her tiny body, already slight, became more and more frail. She was clearly suffering, and became less and less *there*, as if she was already preparing to leave us. When the vets recommended euthanasia in 2013 after her first collapse, we thought it was the wrong thing to do, to deny her the chance to fight on and live a few more good years: tonight, we had to make the difficult choice to let her go.
I didn't want her to go in the company of strangers, or alone: I wanted her last moments to be with people who loved her. She chose us, so we made sure we were there with her at the end.
The Monday after she passed, the vet called to say that Patch's ashes were ready for collection.
The day she died we drove home with an empty pet carrier with Patch's name on it. All these years we've brought her to the Mount Pleasant hospital at Jalan Gelenggang for one emergency or another, and each hospital stay has always been rounded with a trip back home. I remember one time I was driving Patch home when I decided to take a detour to get some MacDonald's, and when I turned off the route home, Patch, who had been silent in her carrier all this while, suddenly piped up with a questioning miao. "Excuse me ... Isn't home *that* way?" I apologised to her and immediately made a u-turn. I could get my lunch later: Patch had to get home first.
My wife printed out a bunch of photos of Patch and we wrote thank you notes to all the doctors and technicians at Jalan Gelenggang who've looked after Patch these 5 years, and made a gift basket with some chocolate and two brushes to remember Patch by (she was famous for being incredibly grumpy at the vet until calmed with a soothing brush). When we got home, we were surprised by a delivery of flowers from the hospital: a thoughtful gesture. Patch came home in a tiny little urn, and though it sounds weird, we felt really happy to drive her home, completing her last trip.