Today we allow our friend Nuala and her family to remember their dear cat Splat. -Rumpy
I want to say a big thank you to RumpyDog for agreeing to my request and for giving me access to his blog as a way to pay homage to Oom Splat that passed away recently. For the people that aren’t South Afrcan Oom means Uncle and is a sign of respect for people (or cats) that are older than you, and Oom Splat was a cat you treated with respect. You may have read a little bit about my oldest furrbrother – Oom Splat – in the interview that that Rumpy did and then later during Rumpy’s Gotcha Day celebrations. Unfortunately on the morning of the 28th October 2011 our household received news from the vet that Oom Splat had passed away during the night. Paw wanted to put something into writing that talks to who Oom Splat was, what he meant to us and what a giant amongst pets have moved on across the Rainbow Bridge. So, without further ado, I hand over the pen and paper to my Paw…
Splat, Oom Splat, die Ou Man (the Old Man), Da Smurgler, Sales Platform. All names and nicknames that we used for you. People would look at us askance and sometimes outright ask why we called you Splat. And to explain you, to explain what you meant, to pay homage to a little tabby cat that wormed his way into everybody’s hearts that had the priviledge to know him I will have to start at the beginning, to fifteen years ago when Margs saw a tabby kitten in a pet show window fast asleep on top of a cat tree. The others were at the bottom, but this tiny independent creature caught her attention and she convinced me that Wambo – my cat at the time – needed a companion. As a kitten you couldn’t be left alone and luckily the manager of the team where we worked agreed that you could come in to work with us. So you ended up becoming an office / team cat and got your name – ‘Sales Platform’ after the project or rather Splat for short. And even here, at an early age and in a strange environment you started to show your ‘Splatness’, that unique, memorable streak that would define you by running from where Margs would sit to where I was sitting. Under chairs, over cubicles and tables and even taking shortcuts via people (I still remember a bemused comment of ‘your cat just used my head to jump over the partition’).
At home when Wambo passed away and the two boys came to join the family you quietly just became the alpha cat, the one that kept the others inline but that also defended your territory, the other cats and us ferociously. Your spirit, your tenacity, your ‘I will not stop’ would last right to your very last breath. As much as you were ‘our’ cat, as much as humans can own a cat, we were your humans to be protected from ferals, strays and nocturnal visitors.
I loved your adoption of ‘human strays’ of the people staying in the cottage. You would simply establish yourself as if to say ‘I am here, I will look after you and you give me atention, bed and water *Meowmie Note: the water needed to be in a glass on the night stand and you trained us to do that for you as well*’. The people renting would fall in love with you, often asking us when they moved on whether you could go with them. We would say no for how could we part with our ou man that have crept into our hearts and taken firm hold of it? And how you simply adapted to the latest feline arrival, whether it was Socks, Raistlin, Nikita, Nuala or Carus – as long as they did not challenge you for that alpha male spot.
The little habits that you developed over the years. Fetching Margs when she would be up late at night to take her to bed. Going to her, looking, then a headbump on her foot and a soft, insistent meow. You would walk to bed, and if she wasn’t behind you would go back to insist that it is now time for sleepies. The smurgling of t-shirts, sweatshirts and jerseys, to the extent that even now we still have old jerseys strewn on desks, drawers and even scattered on the floor. Hiding in a cupboard when there was thunder or fireworks, you got us to always leave cupboard doors ajar to ensure that there was a bolt hole somewhere *Meomie note: it was very hard to train Paw to leave a cupboard door open but you persisted*. Not meowing, but just ‘presencing’ us when you wanted food. Your reputation at some of the vets as an ‘aggressive’ cat (well, if he hurts you, then you will defend yourself). Your headbutts of happiness, causing you to sometimes make a slow-motion somersault, always followed by a look of ‘I wanted to do that’. Walking up the garden path with your tail curled high in a ‘Hello, you are home and I am happy to see you’ sign. Sleeping in the front garden on your back with your tummy shown to the world telling everyone that you are happy and comfortable in your surroundings. Waiting for me to get home after work, watching me pull up to the gate. Fetching a human to switch on the heater during winter when you wanted a warm space.
Margs and I watched you getting older. The grey in your face and whiskers. The runs that slowed to a walk. The jumps that got shorter and shorter until you started to climb onto things rather than jumping. Your war wounds from fights that came back to haunt you. The diabetes that took hold your body and for which you endured daily injections without complaint. We knew that one day we would have to say goodbye, but even with this list of strikes against you, you still had such a joy for life that it just does not feel right to not have you around. You still defended us from a visitor by ‘stiff-legging’ him off on the Monday night. You still controlled the others, reprimanding Socks when he stepped over the line or playing with the little whippersnapper Carus.
Even on the Thursday when you were at the vet we looked at you and thought that our old trooper would win this battle as well. I now look back and know that you fought, you fought long and hard to remain to let Margs hold you in the towel, to let me straighten your ear and give you head scratches. To hear your soft meows one last time. Maybe the vet was trying to tell us something when he commented on how low your body temperature was (the lowest he has ever seen of a cat still alive) but the two of us thought our old man will pull through and we will pick him up the next day, getting head butts and commentary from you on being left at the vet. Instead we got the news that you had succumbed and you lost that battle.
You may have ‘only’ been a non-descript tabby but you created a legacy, a memory, a hole in our hearts and will not be forgotten. Fifteen years ago I would not have expected nor predicted the effect that a little tabby cat would have had on us. We cherish the memories you gave us, we miss your habits *Meowmie note: who will wee on the kitchen cabinets now?*, we mourn your passing and we remember you with fondness (even the ‘wee on the bed on our wedding night’ event). We were truly privileged to have been your humans and to have shared your life with us. We are grateful for the fifteen wonderful, memorable years that you gave us. And while we know that you are in a better place OTRB, Margs and I miss you so terribly much.
A phone call, quick and short
Words are jumbled, spoken in a hurry
Disbelief, shock, anger and even guilt
But above all, aching loss
I think it only fitting to end off with a letter from Splat that found its way to me.
I am very happy Over the Rainbow Bridge. I am at my young ‘big boned’ best and ALWAYS win against anyone that may have tried to take me on in the past.
Paw it was my time. I was getting very old and my back was getting quite sore. I appreciated (well not always) the tablets you were giving me they helped. And I just couldn’t retire, it is because I am a type A purrsonality but it just took so long to recover.
You were the best Paw in the world. You loved me and looked after me and gave me breakfast in bed. You did everything you could to look after me and I really appeciate that. You made my house a pleasure to live in you built me ramps you gave me comfy sun puddles. And an electric blankie and TWO heaters in winter to keep my old bones warm. And you always let me smurgle.
When you’re ready you’ll find another purrfect companion to lavish love on or you’ll keep being the best Paw in the world to the three that love and appreciate you as well.
Lots of love and gratitude for an awesome life with you.
Wif Luvs and Head Bumps From Oom Splat.
PS Your Dad says Hi and to give loves to the other cats on his behalf.