I was 14 when Felix joined our family. We got back from a holiday visiting relatives in Victoria and that same night we got to go pick up our new little bundle of fluff. And that’s really what she was. A tiny grey fluff ball.
Felix could almost fit into the palm of my hand back then.
Felix was a girl. But there was little wonder why everyone assumed she was a boy. I have no idea why I chose to give her a boys name.
While Felix was an only cat, we would play a lot. Her favourite was hide and seek. Who needs siblings when you have a cat that cool! (I do have siblings… they had more interesting things to do by then).
Felix would sleep on my chest most nights, tickling my face with her whiskers and at times filling my nostrils with the foul stench of fish breath. But it was worth it, because I loved having her close.
She also spent a lot of time kneading things… digging those paws… and at times claws… into anything and everything. Soft blankets, pillows, my stomach. She wasn’t fussy! That was in between licking anything furry, like her toy mouse with catnip. She nearly licked it bald.
She had a loud, rattly purr that could be distracting if you were trying to sleep. And she was fussy… loved raw pet mince over anything in a tin.
When Felix was maybe 2, we got Villain the Siamese. She was a gift for dad from my sister and had ‘issues’. Took her a while to warm up to us, but she was soon a much loved part of the family too… except by Felix. They had some little tiffs here and there. Nothing too serious, but things changed.
Felix was not so affectionate after that time. She refused to sit on anyone, but would happily take up the spot on the arm rest of a chair and purr like a chainsaw. She was not really playful anymore either, taking on the ‘elder’ feline role. But she was always nearby and still just as cherished!
For a while we suffered 3rd cat syndrome (yes it’s a thing) when introducing Felix’s niece into the house. It didn’t last long. Villain lived up to her name and spent a lot of time trying to hunt the poor kitty down. Felix wasn’t fussed in the slightest about cat 3 during that time, but was equally un-phased by being a 2 cat family again too.
After a few years, Felix was not as agile and youthful as that playful grey puffball. She wheezed a lot and drooled a little. A couple of times over the years I thought I would lose her, but she plodded along.
Felix was around 15 when she went to sleep forever. By this time she was living with my husband and I and Villain. My husband was away touring with his band for a month. Being on my own made it even harder.
One night she just seemed to struggle to breath and lay under the futon sofa with her chest heaving. I spent the night nearby, crying my heart out because I knew in the morning I was going to have to say goodbye… if she even lasted that long. Villain stayed close too. I did what I could to make her final hours both comfortable and filled with love.
The next day the vet told us Felix had fluid on her lungs and there was nothing we could do. She said the best thing for her was to let her go and not prolong the suffering. I couldn’t bring myself to be in the room for her final moment, but mum was there.
Even now, 3 years later, I can still picture her clear as day when I gave her the final hug and kiss and told her I loved her. Even now writing this post I am sobbing like it was only yesterday. She was and will always be part of our family.
We had Felix cremated. The wooden box with her ashes now sits in a glass display case beside this memory box I made the week she died. Let me tell you… it was hard, but perhaps therapeutic also.
I am so grateful for the many years I had with Felix in my life. Pets have a magical way of coming along and stealing your heart.
Do you consider your pets to be family? We are a 2 cat family now still… but Villain lives with my parents, and we have 2 Devon Rex boys.