When I was 16 my sister arrived at our house one day with a surprise Father’s Day present for Dad. A Siamese cat.
He had always loved Siamese cats and they had a few back many years before when we lived in Victoria. However it was an unexpected gift and at first we worried if it would perhaps not work out.
The cats’ name was Villain. She came with her name… yes I did say ‘her’. It didn’t take long to see that it suited her perfectly. She had a very unique personality right from the start. Initially that personality was antisocial, as she was too scared to come out of the corner of the bathroom and freaked out when we pat her. But she warmed up fairly quickly.
We were a 1 cat family before Villain and her arrival put our other cat Felix in a bit of a bad mood for a while. But she grew to accept her. I wouldn’t say she grew to love Villain, but they both knew who was boss and so it worked. Every so often we caught them snuggled up together back to back, pretending the other wasn’t really there.
Villain became my shadow early on. I left a room… she would be right behind me. I sat down… she would be curling herself up in my lap. She was not adverse to being carried around like a baby either, on her back, snuggled up in my arms.
She loved to play. We had one of those cat toys on a string attached to a stick which would send her flying across the room and high in the air in an impressive form of cat acrobatics. There may have been a couple of furniture collisions at times… but she would shake it off and be straight back at it.
We once trialled life as a 3 cat family. It didn’t work. Villain couldn’t cope with the extra competition her new pure white fur ball roomie created. She stalked her at every opportunity and on more than one occasion we had to rescue Kira from Villain’s wrath (I did say her name was appropriate.. but she was rarely cruel). Kira went to a new home and peace was restored.
Villain was a little bit unique. When patting her she would stick her rump up in the air, head down near the ground. We used to joke that she was a tad bit ‘horny’ as she also went on heat every couple of weeks and would love rubbing up against anything she could find. Turns out she had 2 sets of reproductive organs… 2 uteruses etc, so when she was de-sexed, she ended up with a big saggy belly from all the parts they removed. It added to her quirkiness… a chubby Siamese.
A couple of years later when my now husband entered her life, Villain almost traded me up in his presence. She had a new lap to snuggle in and she became the ‘other woman’ in his life. I won’t lie… we did at times compete for her affections! But she still left the room when I did… so I took that as a win, regardless of where she went for snuggles and pats.
Many years later we moved out of home. The cats came with us. Villain because everyone knew she couldn’t stand to be without me and Felix, because she liked to claw the furniture and Mum wasn’t impressed! We all lived happily in our miniscule rental for a couple of years.
In 2009, we moved into our own home. The cats came. All was perfect in our world.
My husband plays in a heavy metal band in his spare time. When he would travel with the band on tours, I had my two fur babies to keep me company. It helped a lot not feeling so alone. Particularly the tours soon after an attempted break in. I even let Villain sleep on my chest for months after that, feeling more secure in her closeness. She thought she had it pretty good too.
Then a tour came along back in November 2012. Felix was 16 and her health had a sudden sharp decline. That night Villain and I laid beside Felix for hours, watching her chest heaving and struggled breathing. Villain slept in the doorway that night, her eyes drifting between me in the bed and Felix in the front room it opened into. She wasn’t letting either of us out of her sight.
That next day we farewelled Felix. I have written about that sad experience recently. One of the hardest things other than the actual goodbye was making the decision to let her go on my own, with my husband away on tour, feeling guilty in his absence.
Move forward a year, we had a baby. Villain had never been fond of children or babies. We believe it to be one of the main reasons her previous owners sold her, as she was 1 when my sister brought her for Dad. We always knew the day would come when we may need to consider our options as Villain wouldn’t cope so well with our changing household.
She was also not very fond of her new brother – our very crazy Devon Rex boy, Dexter. Too much energy for an aging Siamese. So back to Mum and Dad’s she went.
It was okay. She got spoilt rotten in her 1 cat household. Maybe a different type of special treatment than she got with us as there was no sleeping in Mum & Dad’s bed. But suddenly she had cat beds with her own heat packs in winter, to help the aching bones as the arthritis kicked in. And due to her own deteriorating health with age, expensive renal cat food along with cooked chicken breast and steak. Yep, she was okay!
When we visited, she would cry for days after we left apparently. Drove my folks a little crazy. But it got better. She did still love the extra big cuddles and kisses she got from us when we visited though, and my parents even moved 5 minutes away about a year ago, making those visits more frequent.
Recently her health got worse.
Mum had told me of occasions recently she thought we were nearing the end. The aching body that became an effort to move sometimes. The fading volume of her meow. And just a couple of weeks ago, a day of vomiting and mystery illness. Overall, things were getting more concerning so it was time to have her checked out.
9AM this morning she went to the vet. Early this afternoon the vet rang to say her kidneys were failing and there was not a lot they could do…
My parents were here when we had the bad news. I went with them to say goodbye as I couldn’t bare not seeing her once more. Villain was such a big part of my teenage years and beyond.
There were a lot of tears… even watery eyes from Dad. So rare my Dad shows his emotions. A sign of how loved this family pet was. The tears are still flowing.
I chose to hold Villain as she went to sleep forever. I guess a part of me is guilty I couldn’t bring myself to do the same for Felix. She was in my arms, wrapped up in a towel for warmth when I gave her a final kiss on the top of the head and told her I love her and I’m sorry we have to say goodbye. She was gone so quick. I felt her go limp in my arms, hoping drifting off to peace and comfort after a long and happy life that had more recently turned to discomfort.
No matter how much you know they are in pain and potentially suffering, it breaks my heart to have to make the choice to say goodbye to them like that. It feels so cruel… but it’s also cruel to prolong suffering. I didn’t have to make the decision this time. It doesn’t make it much easier though.
This weekend my husband is away on tour with his band. Again I farewelled a much loved pet in his absence. I’m sure he has some guilt that it’s the second time. And I’m sure I have a little bit of resentment too. But no one predicted the timing for either of these farewells.
I maybe doesn’t help he just sent me a text message with a photo of char grilled ramen he is eating for dinner… while I sit here blubbering my eyes out
I sincerely hope it is a long time coming before I have another goodbye like this. Sometimes it makes having pets seem like a scary choice, but for every tear that is shed on their passing, there are 1000 happy memories making it all worth it.
Goodbye Villain, you beautiful and funny friend and family member. I will always treasure you in my heart!