Missing

It’s 1.30am and we’ve just returned home from a gig.

I’m sitting on the landing floor talking to Joe as he calmly tries to stem the bleeding. I realise that this moment right here, is strangely poignant and as I watch my husband bleed into the toilet bowl this situation just sums up how our lives are at the moment.

It’s not unusual for me to be awake at this hour these days. My mind is full of static and panic so rest doesn’t really feature that heavily in my routine at the moment. I’m not sure when I’ll rest easy again, for right now I’m living out my worst nightmare.

Neko is missing.

He disappeared on March 19th sometime between 8pm and 10pm. This is so out of character for him, especially as the night was rainy. He hates the rain and comes rushing home as soon as he feels raindrops. If you open the door to the rain, he’ll hiss at it as if he hopes this will make it stop. At first I thought he may just be sheltering somewhere, but when he still wasn’t home the next morning I knew things weren’t right.

We went searching as soon as it got light enough to see, but no joy. We scoured the length and breadth of the golf course which backs out onto our garden, we even donned the old clothes and went climbing through bushes, but nothing.

I’m afraid we’ll never know what happened to him. The night he went missing also happened to be bin night. If something bad has happened, he may have been taken away before we even had the chance to look for him, but still I’ve leafleted houses, put posters up, shared in all the local animal groups, called all the local vets and shelters, but nothing.

We’ve tried every piece of advice given, and with every day that passes, the worry just gets worse. Most people have been hugely supportive and sympathetic, which gives me some faith. I look for him whenever I can, I call for him every time I step outside the house and my heart sinks a little more every time he doesn’t respond.

Add this on top of everything else that’s happened lately and it makes for a very dark mood indeed.

Firstly, my Uncle died. He was the best. I come from quite a large extended family, and I’ve always been the oddball I guess. He understood me and never made me feel I had to put a face on to please everyone else. He was there with me when I was first told I would go blind, and attended many of my subsequent hospital appointments along with my parents. He was one of life’s good guys and I will miss him so much. The funeral was awful, but in the most beautiful way. Everyone was in tears and it was lovely to see just how much he meant to everyone.

I’m being bullied at work. I have a new manager, she took over around the same time my most recent spate of poor health began, I’ve needed a few days off over the last few months due to illness or infection, but anyone would think I’d been trafficking children with the way she likes to make me feel about it.

When I first started the job, I declared my health condition on the medical form I was issued and have never hidden it away or lied about it. I’m sick of being made to feel bad about something I have no control over, I’m sick of being made to feel like I’m a slacker, because I’m not. I’m good at my job, I work hard and I take three buses to ensure I get to work every day, how many people would do that for a part time job?

I’m resentful of the fact two of the best things in my life have been taken from me already this year and I’m left with this. I’m tempted to make it easy for her and just hand my notice in, but I’m tougher than that and I will not be beaten over something I can’t control. No, there is nothing I can take to stop the side effects from my meds, no it can’t be controlled by my diet, and no, there is nothing you can do to stop it interfering with my life, this is the hand I was dealt and I play it to the best of my abilities.

So, that’s where we are right now. I’d love to be able to write a happy blog on here one day. Today is not that day. Until I know what happened to Neko, I just don’t know when that will be.

Take care of yourselves, and give your fur babies a massive hug. Tell them how much they mean to you, hell, take a day off and spent it with them. Just don’t take them for granted.

For now, I soldier on for little Yumi, who misses her big brother terribly.

PS:- Neko is microchipped and neutered.

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Neko

It was never our intention to end up with a kitten. At least not when Neko came into our lives.

We were living in rented accommodation, with a no pets clause in our contract, just as many rental tenancy agreements do. Having recently got engaged, we dreamed of one day living in a house which would allow us to keep a cat. We’d go to a local shelter and pick up a nice little moggy or two, probably older cats as they’re so much harder to re-home, then we’d all live Happily Ever After.

However, as ever, life had other plans. We weren’t in a very good place on June 23rd 2013. A lot had happened in the first half of that year and we were both feeling very low. A mixture of health problems, which led to financial difficulties, mixed with break downs in friendships had led us down a dark path. We desperately needed a light at that time, we were newly engaged, in the early stages of planning a wedding, but one thing after another just kept sucking the joy out of everything.

I had been playing over the recent events in my mind as I walked the last leg of my journey home from work that evening. We lived on an unusual street to say the least, an eclectic mix of neighbours made it a rather colourful place to be, for better or worse. There were always children playing in the street, something which never really bothered me, in fact it was actually quite nice to see that some kids still had some parts of a traditional childhood. The children rarely spoke to anyone and kept to themselves, but on this occasion, I noticed two small girls, going door to door with a tiny kitten in their hands, trying to offload him after their mother had said they were no longer allowed to keep him.

This was unusual, even for our street. The girls must have seen me walk past and called after me. There he was, a tiny little ball of fluff by the name of ‘Fluffy’ tucked up in the arms of one of the girls. ‘Do you want my kitten?’ she asked. Of course, I enquired as to why she was giving him away, and the simple answer was, their parents had had a change of heart and they no longer wanted him in the house. He didn’t have any food or toys, a bed or a litter tray. On reflection, I wonder if he ever had any of those things. I agreed to take him for fear of what might happen to him if I didn’t. It just didn’t bear thinking about. As soon as I took him from them, all I could think about is what if we were found out? I toyed with idea of taking him to a rescue, but decided to ask Joe his thoughts first.

Unusually, Joe was home from work before me that day. I opened the door and asked if he was in a good mood – he wasn’t until he saw what I was carrying. That was it then. I knew we couldn’t give him up, he was ours and was always meant to be ours. The fear of being caught didn’t even bother me when I saw how much this little ball of fluff had brightened Joe’s mood. So we simply decided to find a place that would allow pets. It really was that simple.

 

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We had absolutely nothing for him. Including the name. Fluffy did absolutely nothing for him – especially after he’d widdled all over the front doormat the second I put him down. Generous people provided us with the basics, food and bowls, a litter tray and some litter, even a nice big scratching post, but we struggled with the name. We thought about giving him an emo name on account of his very distinct eyeliner, however nothing seemed to fit.

After a couple of days, we’d had time to reflect upon what had just happened. Luckily, Joe was an experienced cat owner so we’d managed to settle the little guy in well and he seemed pretty happy. We both love Japanese culture, so the quest for a name took a turn from the normal names we’d been throwing around thus far. I’d always been a big lover of Japanese Maneki Neko. This little cat hadn’t solved all our problems but he’d sure brought some happiness back into our lives, things started to seem brighter all of a sudden, so with that in mind we decided to call him Neko.

 

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Little Neko had a thing for shoes and socks when he first joined us. Especially socks, well at least until he adopted the stuffed lemur that hung from our stair handrail.

He’s such a great little character. We love him so much and I’m super glad I was in the right place at the right time that day. I’d feel completely lost without him now!

Neko is fully grown now and will be 3 in a couple of months. He likes chicken, dreamies, sleeping in bed with us, chasing the red dot and playing in the garden. He hates baths, bin bags, deodorant cans, the hairdryer and going to the V-E-T. He’s also just become big brother to our new arrival. They’re still getting used to each other at the moment but he’s such a lovely little chap, I’m sure we’ll get there.

It makes me so sad to think about what could have happened to him, especially when I read about all the awful things that happen to animals, usually very young ones at that. Too often I hear stories of kittens being dumped in bushes or bins, sold to homes that may not be suitable – and of course abandoned. Yup, it happens more than you’d think, people move home and can’t take the pets with them for whatever reason so they just up and leave them behind.

I’m going to try and make it one of my goals this year to do more for the places that do so much to take care of these babies. When we went to collect Leica, in addition to her adoption fee I donated two big bags of food for the shelter, it didn’t feel like a lot, so I am determined to find ways that I can do more.

Neko’s story has a happy ending, he is loved, spoiled and lives in a home with a nice big garden for all his kitty adventures, but I want this to happen for more fur babies.

Do you have a story about how you got your little one(s)? I’d love to hear it.