I have thought about writing this post, because it may make things final, which I don’t want them to be. I have tears in my eyes as I type this, so forgive any typos I cannot see the screen well.
We bought this little bundle of fur home just under six years ago. So so tiny but the toughest of all of our five cats. Daisy, our black and white cat had been bullied by our rag doll cat Diddies ever since we had bought her home six months previously. It was so bad that I had to carry her everywhere with me (they are good friends now!) Then along came Tilly. I had been warned by the person who was trying to home her that she was the naughtiest of the litter, and when we bought this little bundle home we put her on the floor and she literally ran at Diddies screaming, she looked like a devil banshee all mouth and ears; and Diddies turned and ran. Daisy was watching her and marveled at her courage and confidence and from then on they became inseparable; our Black Hand Gang, and Daisy was bullied no more!
She was not viscous just didn’t want to be handled by children, and she loved cuddles and would lay on my lap most nights being stroked and shouting at me to stroke her some more. Always the most vocal of our cats she would sound as if she was shouting Oh! or Yeah! at you as you stroked her, when you asked her a leading question she would say “yeah”. She was so naughty I caught her hanging from my dress on the washing line as if it was a swing! She was a prolific hunter.
Always one to find an additional home she decided to adopt our friends and neighbours Jo and Mike, and would saunter into their home on a whim and just look at them and shout as if to say “What are you doing in my house.” If their door was shut she would sit at the window and shout at them until they let her in.
When we walked in the door with fish and chips (a common Friday night occurrence) she would smell them from wherever she was and be in the door in minutes to share our fish with her; if you dared to not give her a bit after you had some she would put her paw on your hand to stop you having any more until she had got hers! Jo and Mike loved her so much they asked us to leave her with them when we moved to France; but we couldn’t, she was our baby.
Sadly we lost Milly our fluffball the year after Tilly joined our house so when it came to putting the cats into the cattery we had only four. The man at the cattery fell in love with the ‘Black Hand Gang’, they made him smile every day when he let them out for a play in the run. So much so he let them out for longer.
By this time we had adopted Harley and he and Tilly rubbed along together okay, he is a terrier after all so he did chase her sometimes but never did anything other than make her run. She soon learnt to turn around and front him, making her tail big, but still looking tine, but Harley knew she meant it and would just run past her.
When we moved to France Tilly was in her element, and would spend hours at the edge of the pond of the house we had rented longing to catch a fish; and she did!! She came running across the lawn with this huge fish in her mouth to show us what she had caught, the fish was bigger than her because she always stayed tiny, she had been the runt of the litter, with the most personality.
I remember one morning very early, I was sitting in the sunshine with my cup of tea and over the lawn she came with a mouse in her mouth; when I looked at her and said “I don’t want it!” she looked at me with disgust as if to say “And I caught you breakfast as well, you ungrateful cow!” and spat the mouse out on the lawn.
But Tilly being Tilly she did wander and would sometimes not return for a couple of days. Last year she disappeared a number of times and one time she did not come back for six days; Rich found her running down the drive of the Chateau that is down our lane, where children go for holidays with their schools. She was clearly being spoilt by the kids and probably the staff because she still looked like a kitten, but she still came home after Rich called her.
But the problems started when we adopted Wiglet! She is from hunting stock and decided that Tilly, being the smallest, was prey and she would not leave her. I wrote back in 2015 how our Christmas day was ruined because she nearly killed Tilly who then ran along the open shelving we had then smashing everything in her wake along the way. We bought cupboards after that!
After that Tilly had her camp on top of our fridge, and we have carried her in when she has called us for the past two and a half years; but over the past few months she has wanted to be with her mummy and daddy and wanted to be part of the family. We tried, we put the Welshies to bed at night and called Tilly in for cuddles. She has always been at home when the weather is wet or cold.
Now we have not seen Tilly for a week., and this has been the longest time, and it has been generally wet and chilly; and I have a bad feeling. I reassure myself that she has reveling in living in France, and going off into the woods and across the fields. I suppose you could say,she has had a wonderful life for a cat, and that she has been luckier than most. I tell myself, we tell ourselves, that she is back in the chateau that has just re-opened its’ doors to holiday makers. I imagine her in front of a radiator or fire, or snuggled on someone’s bed saying “Oh!”
But she loves us you see and I know that she would not be able to not come home for any great length of time and I am afraid.
I tell myself that this is life, better to have had a free life, chasing all the wildlife that is out here, safe in the knowledge that she is loved by us. I know that we all go back to whence we came, and as I said recently ‘change is the only constant there is.’ But it does not stop the tears welling up in my eyes, or me looking at her bed on the fridge, or missing her sitting on the island in the kitchen every time we got chicken out!!! It was her entitlement after all!
So come home Tilly, because we love and miss you. But if you cannot then fly free my baby until we meet again, it has been a fantastic adventure with you.