Houdini the tortoiseshell

 Shortly after we got married, my husband and I adopted a beautiful dark tortoiseshell from the Cats' Protection League and called her Shelley. Shelley was about a year old and had been abandoned when she was pregnant. Her kittens had all just found homes and she very quickly settled into our house. She always had a very quiet, gentle nature but right from the start dribbled madly whenever she was happy! 

The passing years brought different houses and 2 babies but Shelley coped with all the changes and very rarely ever strayed off our property, remaining a real home-body. She grew to really love our children and realised that they had come to stay so she had to learn to enjoy the changes around the place! From time to time she had the odd kidney complaint but as she was no fighter, rarely saw our vet except for her annual check up. Realising that she would not be around forever (as she was now about 12 years old) we decided to get a kitten and give Shelley a friend in her latter years. 

Subsequently Houdini arrived at our house - a 6 week old tabby with an enormous zest for life! Poor Shelley clearly thought we had lost our minds and divided her time between incredible tolerance and gently cuffing him around the ears when his antics became truly annoying! Houdini (despite the many rebuffs) spent all the time he had Shelley in his sights, desperately trying to make friends with her and it amused us to see her begin to tease him by twitching her tail for him to chase and becoming more accepting of his antics. 

Nearly a month after we brought Houdini home, I found him one afternoon grooming Shelley as she sat in the sun. At 10 weeks he was still very much smaller than her and could not reach more than half way up, but he meticulously worked his way around her and groomed as much as he could reach. Amazingly, Shelley sat and let him do this and we were thrilled that they were becoming friends. 

Early that evening we saw him do the same thing and again marvelled at the closeness that had developed. An hour or two later, we realised that Shelley appeared very weary and seemed to be struggling to walk. We put her to bed by the heater as it was a very cold night and found by morning she was extremely unwell. Shelley spent the day at the vets and sadly we had to put our precious cat to sleep that afternoon as she had developed acute kidney failure and was extremely sick. 

Houdini is now 4 months old and terrific fun to have around the house. He has become as much a part of the family as Shelley was when she was with us and we will never forget his incredible intuition and compassion for the friend he knew was not well before any of us realised.


Rating: 43 paws up 

Fiona Newell
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