Goodbye Mo xxx

Written by Avril Kealy on 19th Jan 2020

When you find a stray cat and name her Moses, it’s because you don’t expect her to stick around in your life for too long. With a name as silly as Moses, you assume that this stray cat is just some tiny little creature that will hang around in your back garden for a little while, eating your scraps, before fecking off and begging from one of the other neighbours instead. That’s what we thought was happening with Moses, the scraggly, skinny, injured stray cat out the back of our old house. Little did we know what a massive part of our lives this tiny little cat would turn out to be.

 

As aforementioned, Mo’s entrance into our lives started out when we spotted her in a field behind the courtyard of our old house. She couldn’t walk due to a massive injury on her back legs. She only had one eye and (we would later realise) no teeth. She was tiny and skinny- horribly malnourished with dull fur and too-long nails. As massive animal-lovers, Craig and I couldn’t bear to see this tiny, helpless creature go hungry, so we decided to start leaving out food for her. She was totally feral, and I never expected to get close to her, but Craig was determined. Every day, after giving her a bowl of food, he would sit near her until she was brave enough to eat it, assuring this little cat that he wasn’t the enemy, and that he wanted to be friends.

 

After weeks of trying to gain her trust but getting nowhere, I had my first close encounter with Moses. I was cooking in our kitchen with the door open and the sun shining in. I turned around to throw some scraps into the bin and gasped- Moses was sat in the door. In an attempt to keep her calm, I sat down on the couch and, much to my surprise, she followed me. I held my breath as this little feral cat walked behind me to the couch, and nearly lost my life when she jumped up onto it beside me. Honestly speaking, I was terrified- this cat was totally feral, looked like she was crawling with diseases, and definitely didn’t know how to interact properly with humans. Was she going to attack me? Hesitantly, I put my hand out to pet her. Unsure at first, she cowered. I gently stroked her head, and much to my surprise, she began purring. A deep, loud, tractor-engine purr. To say my heart melted would be an understatement.

 

Before long, Mo became one of us- a housemate just as important as the rest of us in our tiny, dingey, damp Maynooth house. People often say that animals come into our lives exactly when we need them, and Mo’s entrance into ours absolutely confirmed this. I was stuck in a job I absolutely hated, and totally terrified of the future. Craig had just dropped out of college and was trying out a new course while working crazy hours and commuting over two hours a day. Our other two housemates, Ash and Ell, were both stressing in final year of college and struggling with personal issues of their own. All in all, our little house needed some sunshine, and it came in the form of a tiny little one-eyed cat.

 

Soon, Mo was an important part of everyday life for all four of us, fitting in and making herself at home as though she had lived there all her life. Every morning started off with her yowling for breakfast, before snuggling up for a day-long snooze on the couch or one of our beds. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with her sitting on our laps or mooching around the house, and she immediately warmed any friends, handymen or one-night-stands that were brought into the house. Even during any of our infamously wild, loud house parties, Mo would be in the middle of it all, happily sitting on the couch and accepting drunken pets from anyone who would give them to her. She was the beating heart of the house, always happy to just be there.

 

After our lease in Maynooth was up, Craig, Ash and I decided to move to Dublin, which brought plenty of Mo-related anxiety. Nowhere would accept pets, and we were not prepared to give her up. Mo had been alone for most of her life, and abandoning her or giving her to someone else was simply not an option. After many long emails and a long, stressful, teary phone call with our new landlord we were overjoyed to hear that we were allowed to keep Mo in our new apartment. Our beloved little baby was going to be okay.

 

Moving to Dublin was strange, as Mo’s life changed from one that was indoor/outdoor to being totally indoor. At first, we were anxious that this would stress her out but in true Mo fashion, she adapted instantly. Our new flat was warm, modern and airy and Mo loved it. She had two cat beds, a couch and our own human bed to lounge around on and she relished in every moment. Having an indoor cat was funny, as she was constantly around, and gave off an aura of owning the house- which she did, in a way. The flat was adapted to suit her needs, and was covered in the tiny plush toys that she was obsessed with. Visitors to the house would often comment on the number of tiny, green plush lizards that would be scattered around the house. Funnily enough, she would carry these little toys around in her mouth like they were her kittens, and sleep snuggled up with them. Adorable is not the word.

 

Similar to Maynooth, Mo was an important part of the family in Dublin. Our routines revolved around her- feeding, cuddling and playing times were often the most important parts of our days. Like a baby, Mo craved constant affection and attention. The second I came home from work, she would clamour out of her bed and meow at me to pick her up. Sometimes, before I even had my coat off, she would be nestled in my arms, purring loudly and kneading her tiny, delicate paws into my chest. Many dinners were cooked while simultaneously holding her in one arm, which has made me exceptionally skilled at one-armed cooking!

 

Whenever a friend visited the house, at any time of day or night, Mo insisted on being involved, jumping onto the couch for snuggles whether there was room for her or not. Movie nights, pre-drinks and hangover days in the flat always involved Mo, where she would nestle her tiny body into anyone that was there- in a bid to give and receive as much love as she could.

 

As well as being a snuggle fiend, Mo was full of personality. She couldn’t jump or walk properly, so her way of communicating “I want to be there” was to sit beside whatever bed or chair she wanted to be on top of, and scream. Really, really scream. Until someone would pick her up and put her onto the bed, couch or chair that she wanted to sit on. Getting off her perch was a little easier, as she would simply throw herself onto the floor with a THUMP. I mean, it’s no wonder she could barely walk in the first place. Night times were full of screams, too- screams if she wanted more food, screams if she wanted to be tucked in tighter and screams if she just felt a bit lonely and wanted someone to pet her. One night, at around 3am, she started screaming just because she decided that she wanted to be lifted up. After picking her up and holding her for approximately 3 seconds, she quietened down and fell asleep again. To say she was a wagon who drove us mad half the time wouldn’t do her level of ridiculousness justice.

 

Toward the end of Mo’s life, she began to get very sick. One infection led to another, and vet’s visits were a regular occurrence. As she got older, her level of clinginess grew, and soon, pets and pick-ups weren’t enough. Every night for weeks before she left us, Mo would climb onto my chest and nestle her little face into my neck, purring and kneading her paws until she fell asleep. These moments were sacred, providing endless warmth, comfort and affection to Craig and I. Even when we went through our worst days, we could always rest assured that little Mo would be waiting at home for us, ready to snuggle up on our chests and show us that we were important to her.

 

After months and months of sickness for little Mo, we decided that we had to let her go to sleep forever and take her out of her pain. She fought like a little trooper, but we knew in our hearts that she would never get better. Trying to give a geriatric cat (vets estimate that she was 17 years old) sour-tasting medicine twice a day, paired with constant vet’s visits and a not-as-tasty-as-felix specialised diet stripped away her quality of life, tired her out and started to take some of the quirky personality that we had grown so, so, terribly fond of.

 

Yesterday, me and Craig sobbed and cradled our little gal in her favourite blanket as she drifted off over the rainbow bridge. It is the hardest and most horrible decision either of us have ever made, but in our hearts, we knew it was for the best. Our house is quiet, lonely and bare now. We’ve cried too many times to count, and we’ve been thinking of her constantly. But we’re so lucky to have had such an important little creature in our lives, even if it was only for a few years.

 

This week, so many people have commented that we gave Mo so much by saving her from that field. While this is true, I think that Mo gave us more than we ever gave her. From putting up with our constant partying and messy schedules in Maynooth, to embracing a more settled and quiet life filled with cuddles in Dublin, she slotted herself into our lives seamlessly. Even after countless vet’s visits, horrible-tasting medicines, drunkenly waking her up in the middle of the night after parties, sleeping in late and missing her breakfast, leaving her with strange cat-sitters while we travelled and sometimes not having the time to cuddle her, Mo had nothing but love for us.

 

 She showed us what unconditional love was and for that we will love and miss her forever.