Just Passing Through

He was found wandering

South of the city

Some time ago


Taken to the pound

No chip

No one looking for him

That’s where our neighbour found him

Nameless and alone

I heard him arrive home

A Cat’s desperate cry

Brought me to the garden

Certain some poor creature

Lay injured

Needing help

We smiled as she held him

And so it began

Two weeks later

He was on the way back

To the pound

To a fatal end

Some among his rescuers had

Developed serious allergies

We had been cat people

Katy our Calico

Lived to the grand old age of 22

Before her kidneys failed

For a while she shared us with William

A longhaired black and white stray

Adopted us when he was 7years old

He was an insect collector

Specialising in cicadas and stick insects

Living a further full 10 years

From a moth-eaten infected stray

He emerged; a prizewinning longhair

With a plumed tail and an attitude to match

Recently we had been cat-sitting

For several family members

We’d rediscovered the pleasure

The unique company cats bring

So when told of his fate

Words slipped off my tongue with ease

‘Bring him over we’ll have him’

So a 7 year old Tokenise

Came to stay at Hilltop

That first 24 hrs was a nightmare

We, intent upon keeping him in

He, just as intent to escape

More and more desperate until

Pushing out a fly screen he took off

Certain we would never see him again

It was all astonishment when

24 hrs later to the same window

He demanded to come in

We felt it was then that he chose us

We bumped along together

Learning each other’s ways

He surprised me so many times

Teaching me a great deal

Sitting outside the shower

He’d howl loudly, desperately

Until I emerged safe and sound

At night he’d pace a circuit

Around and over our chairs

Until we went to bed

Where he would curl up at our feet

Whenever company arrived

He’d disappear

So when the grandchildren came to stay

We expected to see little of him

How wrong we were

The kids are small

Their arrival is noisy

Clumsy as they drag

Suitcases, coats and teddies to their room

They are arms, legs and laughter

One vigorous ball

That rolls in like the circus

And right there in the middle of it all

Jasper, tail up trotted along with them

On their last visit he sat at the bedroom door

Checking we’d settled them in properly

He didn’t sleep on their beds

Taking quiet body warmth for him self

It was their wide awake company he craved

Next morning there he was

Sitting on the pew at breakfast

Not begging for food

Just watching and listening

Lapping up the busyness of family life

His naming was typical of the opinions he expressed

Our neighbour’s children had started to call him Ziggy

He wasn’t responding to that

We all thought perhaps Oscar might suit

Not a whisker twitched

He was pacing when I suggested Raj

He stopped and gave me a withering glance

As if to say you can do better than that

So when I spoke the name Jasper

With body language and voice peculiar to him

He made it clear I had found his chosen name

Jasper loved to help in the garden

Sitting close by

In danger of being weeded with the rest

I’ve been trying to think how he did it

But he gradually eased me into an evening walk

Around the house and garden

A gentle stroll

Jasper stayed with me the whole time

Keeping company

Like most Oriental cats he felt the cold

He would have loved the log fire we are planning

However events have over taken us

Now Jasper lies in a garden grave

Near the rocks where we’d sit

A few oh so short months

And he’s gone

During his stay

When his character began to change

I thought him depressed

In need of company perhaps

Turns out he was ill

Critically ill

By the time we realised, his infections where numerous

Slow release antibiotics enabled the real Jasper to re-emerge

For a little while

Then we could see how very ill he was

I made the heavy decision to have him euthanized

I held him as he drifted off into the peace for which we

I still agonise over having to draw his life to a close

Perhaps we could have done something more

But once diagnosed

The vet declared

‘Keep him in at all times’

He would have hated that

Even with our netted enclosure

For years he’d clearly had the freedom to roam

Though we kept him in at night

During the day he’d go out

Visit the neighbours

Many of whom knew and loved him

Or he would lounge in several select sunny spots

The effect of antibiotics would not have lasted

It was a serious virus ravaging his immune system

He was not with us long

Eight Months

It might have been eight years

Such an impact he made on both of us

He had been well loved by others

His pages were not blank

What was written there was a delight to read

I am relieved God has the final say

Over Human Life and Death

I hated that terrible burden

Even for a Cat

I am content to leave it to the Master

Not all is meant forever

Some Joys

Some Blessings

Some Loved Ones

And Friends are…

Just passing through

Vale Jasper

Word and photographs © Denise Stanford 2011

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a virus that destroys
white blood cells, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline AIDS is passed on
through a bite from an infected cat

The Vets tell us very likely he had been infected long
before he came to us

After an initial infection the virus can remain dormant for
several years

But once reactivated the virus debilitates the cat leaving
approximately one year before the body fails altogether

Testing and Immunisation is available

Though not yet perfected it is better than nothing

Only responsible pet ownership can contain this terrible

Cats cannot pass this virus to humans


~ by Denise Within the Vine on 20/08/2011.

One Response to “Just Passing Through”

  1. I never thought of it that way, well put!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: