One of these days I am going to switch on my little laptop and type a little good news, but Sweethearts today is not that day. Though it seems as though the universe is having a rather extended joke at my expense, today, here at chez Brocante, we are in mourning for our Darling little Jimmy cat, who died this weekend after a devastating run-in with some anti-freeze we can only surmise he discovered while out on his travels in the neighbourhood.

On Friday morning he took his usual ten-minute morning constitution around the back-gardens of our four little cottages and as always, came running back with a mad jingle of the bell on his collar, when I called him. But then instead of jumping on to the windowsill and straight into my arms as he would ordinarily do, he sat staring at me, looking for all the world as if he had supped a bottle of Scotch and couldn’t quite figure out his next move.

And we laughed and I fed him and then normality was resumed and our little Jimmymeister, as Finley called him, curled up in a ball and went to sleep and seemed fine until later that night when he cried out, vomited and went back to sleep. Putting it down to a hairball I popped him into his bedtime basket and went to bed, but by the next morning our little kitty man couldn’t walk without staggering and falling down in a heap, and we got him to the vets as fast as we could, certain that there was something very wrong, but absolutely astonished by the vets almost immediate diagnosis of anti-freeze poisoning, a matter confirmed a few hours later after a barrage of expensive tests.


For two nights our darling pet clung on, but by yesterday morning it was clear that his kidneys had almost failed and that it would be nothing short of cruel to allow him to endure a slow and extremely painful death. And so on Easter Monday, I took one heartbroken little boy to my Mums, while I drove with Richard to say goodbye to the darling little cat we had bought together.

And there he was, his body stiff with pain, and his eyes wide with fright. Though the surgery was closed, the vet had come in specially to help our teenage cat go to sleep and was kind enough to leave us alone with Jimmy for half-an-hour while we said goodbye. And then while Adele’s Skyfall played on the radio behind us, (This is the end, Hold your breath and count to ten, Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again –  Let the sky fall, When it crumbles, We will stand tall, Face it all together) she injected a little sleep into his veins and he was gone in seconds.


Readers, I have been sobbing for days.  Jimmy was an angel. A darling, funny little cat, so affectionate he liked nothing better than to put a paw either side of my neck, jam his head under my chin and purr so loudly I couldn’t hear the tv, he was also polite,well-mannered and didn’t mind being the puppy Finn has never had, playing fetch and generally being more than a little man-handled by a child who absolutely adored him.

We bought him shortly after the cancellation of my wedding, and now, shortly after the resolution of that which caused it, he is gone, as if we were only allowed to borrow such affectionate joy to see us through our troubles ~This is the only way I can make sense of something so awful, for it has no other explanation~ He was a blessing. A cheeky little gift and when we didn’t need him anymore, he was gone.

I have never thought of myself as a cat person. Truth is I have always been able to take them or leave them. But I was a Jimmy person and I will miss him terribly. After the initial trauma of losing his first pet had passed, Finley has been dignified in his grief, recognizing with all the sense I would expect of him, that Jimmy could not have been allowed to suffer: but heavens it’s a tough lesson for a little boy to learn.

Having spoken to the vet and agreeing with her view that it is better to replace a pet sooner rather than later for a child, for we do not have to teach them to mourn an animal when life is so terribly hard, this morning I rang around all the local animal sanctuaries in search of a tiny kitten and found that within a radius of forty-five miles there was just one tiny, five week old jet black kitten available for adoption.

One little kitten. I think he must be ours. So I took my little boy to see him and I was right: he is ours. Or at least he will be in four weeks time when he will be big enough to leave his Mummy cat and come home to fill the hole in our hearts Jimmy has left.

I don’t know whether this was the right thing to do or not: I went with my instinct and watched Finley as he snuggled this little black kitten under his tweed coat and christened him Storm and instead of crying for Jimmy, giggled as he remembered him for the fuzzy ball of fun he was until the day before he died.

This then is how it should be.  Jimmy, you were our very own little bit of wonderful and we want to thank-you for the memories. Night, night, sleep tight Darling.x