So Long Little Friend

by Val Richardson

The kitten’s name was Robert J Splat Cat, alias Bobcat, but affectionately known to the family as Bobby. He was with us only a short time - 3 months - but brought to the family a happiness that cannot be described in words.

To my 2 grandchildren Michael and Nicola (aged 5 & 4) he was their baby and they proceeded to carry him everywhere. He was so flexible he could be slung over the shoulder or around the neck.

He could be cuddled like they were when they were babies or he could just curl up on their laps and be stroked - I think he loved this best. Nicola was his own personal stalker as she found him even in his best hiding places.

He never lost his temper and went along with all the games a 4 and 5 year old could imagine. Truly a remarkable feat in one so young.

To my husband who is not a well man he was a friend who was always there to listen when things went wrong or be loved when no one else seemed to care about the hellish pain he has had to live with for the past 30 years.

They would read the paper, tinker with the engine of the ute and potter around the house and backyard filling in the day together.

At 11.30 am they would head inside for crib and I would be horrified at my husband cutting up last nights roast lamb for himself - and the cat!

little black cat

To my darling daughter he was the recipient of all her affections. At age 30 and unmarried she decided that as a "good spinster" she should own a cat.

Bobby would sleep on the end of her bed of a night and wake her in the morning with a tap of his little paw against her cheek. He always made you smile in the morning as while preparing his breakfast he would throw himself at your feet and purr.

I was there when she picked him out of the litter - he was the quiet one in the corner. The other kittens were climbing curtains and generally running mad, while Bobby just sat watching.

He was jet black except for the tiniest tuft of white under his chin and his body was only the size of our palm, his tail was his most noted feature as it was unusually long and covered with really thick fur.

To me - and I admit that I did complain sometimes - he was another mouth to feed and another member of the family to clean up after, but I would happily continue if we could only have him back. I loved that I only had to whistle and he would come bounding up to me - who knew a cat would do that!

I surprised myself and the family when we found him curled up in my prized crystal vase and instead of being upset I laughed. I had never allowed a pet inside of my home before. We all had lessons to learn.

Bobby seemed to know exactly what was required of him by each member of our family and always gave as much love as he received.

He was happy to stay inside the house most of the time but when he wanted to go out we let him explore but he was always home and in bed by 8.30.

As a person who only ever owned dogs, I was amazed at how little effort was needed to care for a cat. From when we arrived home with him he knew how to use the kitty litter and I am happy to report there were no " little accidents". We often joked that he was a "self-cleansing" kitten.

Two nights ago our little black kitten went missing - as we had never owned a cat before, others who had owned cats told us this was normal and he would probably return in a couple of days. We searched high and low but to no avail.

My 5 year old grandson told his mother that it was her fault Bobby was missing as she had not written our address on him - to his way of thinking no-one knew where to return him.

In desperation my husband decided to check the neighbor’s bin. You guessed it - there was our bundle of joy in a plastic shopping bag.

We surmise that being a kitten he would have been no match for a pack dogs. I know our neighbor does not like cats but he has 4 dogs that we, and all the other neighbors have to be wary of - the Doberman especially is quite vicious and the constant barking of the others is a constant annoyance. I ask the question - In a quiet suburban area why does anyone need nasty vicious guard dogs?????

Now we are happy that this little life had such an effect on all of us, but sad it was taken away in such a tragic and cruel way. We cannot replace Bobby, as we would not like the same fate to happen to another little kitten.

All my family is hurting and I feel sad that I cannot right this horrific wrong.

So long little friend.

Sadly, there always comes a time when we have to say so long little friend to the pets that we love.

Nobody wants to have to do it under those circumstances though. What a horrendous thing to happen, I'm sorry that you lost Bobby in that way and I hope that you were able to get something done about your neighbor. Nobody needs four large dogs as guard dogs.

Larry (editor)

So Long Little Friend