A little story about my very first cat, Azrael.
I got him when he was 3 months old and I was a student aged 20. We lived on a flat first, five stories high with 2 other students. I had fenced off the balcony, so he couldn't fall down. Every once in a while I would take Azrael on a lead, down with the elevator and outside to do 'walkies'. He loved it and didn't mind his lead at all.
Later we moved to a downstairs flat with a large lawn outside and shrubs and plants and other cats. Azrael could go out at his own leisure. When he didn't return the first night, I couldn't sleep, but at 2am he came miaowing at the door. Back at last!
Then we moved yet again to a flat three stories high and in a busy shopping street. Again Azrael was allowed to go out. He and I would take the elevator, I let him out into the backstreets and after a few hours I would take him back up again. One night he wasn't there, but I heard him miaowing from inside the flat building. Apparently some other resident had let him in (perhaps even into the elevator!) and because he knew it was his flat he went in. Another lucky find!
One day when I was back up in my flat I looked out of the window, seeing Azrael going into the shopping street! So, I rushed back down again to find a disturbed cat and some very amused shoppers. He was such a character.
When JP and I lived together, JP came to me looking rather disturbed, saying Azrael had a huge wound on his side! So, I had a look and came back with a smile on my face, holding a large lump of pink chewing gum in my hand!
Azrael also once came home with his tail encrusted in ice. Apparently he had climbed onto the ice and sank through it. He trusted me so much, I could easily rub his tail dry and warm again.
Then JP and I went to Scotland to do voluntary work and Azrael and Desnor (our other cat) couldn't come with us. But we didn't want to give them up, so through a collegue we found a host, who would like to look after our two cats while we were away. For nine months Azrael and Desnor stayed with the two girls. Whenever we were back in Holland we would visit them and the cats were over the moon with our visits. Wanting to lie on our lap, stroked and petted.
Then we made the big decision to move to Scotland. With the two cats! The ferry took 16 hours and all that time Azrael and Desnor had to stay in the van. I will never forget the look on Azrael's face when we came to comfort them two hours into the journey. He was so frightened! Desnor was hiding and didn't want to come out at all, but Azrael being Azrael did want to come to us. But we had to go back to our cabin.
As soon as we disembarked the ferry, he looked out of the window all happy again. To him it was all one big (slightly scary) adventure. (although he would never admit that!)
Unfortunately we couldn't enjoy Desnor very long in Scotland. After only 1.5 year Desnor very suddenly died. We were heartbroken. Azrael was very confused too.
There was however a small black and white cat out in the cold looking for a home, so I suppose it was lucky for Miso that Desnor made way for another cat.
Then one day I found the litter tray all filled with pee and Azrael not looking very healthy. He was diagnosed with diabetes.
Azrael really trusted us so much, it was really easy to give him his insulin injection every day. We even developed a word to remind him he still needed his insulin before going out to play.
He lived for another year or so with his diabetes.
Then the diabetes won; at night time he was very poorly. I gave him honey, thinking he was low in glucose. In the middle of the night he got seizures. I held him down and comforted him. He wanted to stay with us. In the morning he was almost comatose.
We took him to the vet where he got his final injection.
We buried him in a beautiful location in the Perthshire hills, next to Desnor, his pal.
Good Bye my dear Azraelletje. We will never forget you!
I'm sure heaven has got a cat flap!