In memory of Pickle

pickle_mem

Pickle died on Friday 18 May 2012 aged 17.5 years. He was put to sleep to save him suffering from the effects of old age.

Pickle was Min’s brother and they were my very first Burmese. He was a loving and much loved soppy brown boy; a typical Burmese.

I have so many memories of Pickle, it’s difficult to write them all down. But the over-riding ones are how gentle, loving and tolerant he was. He loved being outside in the sunshine, and as he got older he followed the sun around, from garden, to armchair, to window ledge. He was amazing with kittens, and I shall miss that aspect so much. He was like a mentor to them, allowing them to play with his tail, snuggling up and sleeping with them, and chasing them around.

On the few occasions he was allowed to sleep in the bedroom, he would snuggle down under the duvet and sleep in the crook of my knees, then gradually work his way up until he had his head on my shoulder. In his final months, this was the pattern every night.

He seemed to know instinctively when I was due home and I would draw up to the house and see him watching from the window, even when I got home at a different time.

As a kitten he loved to play with kitchen roll, and I regularly arrived home to find one shredded in the hallway and up the stairs. He and Min had a little hidey-hole cupboard they could get to from the stairs, and would peek out from behind the curtain at guests and visitors before deciding whether or not to come down. He liked to climb trees and sit on the ledges in the cat run. He would have his mad five minutes when he’d hurtle around the house from top to toe, and jump around with his tail all fluffed up at nothing in particular.

Pickle wasn’t a show cat but from the age of 11-13 he won Best Pet Burmese three times consecutively at the Burmese Cat Club show. One of these was the club’s 50th anniversary and Pickle won a rose, which still blooms every summer.

Everyone who came to the house loved Pickle. I’m sure he helped reassure visitors who had come to choose a kitten. A friend once said that if he’d been human, he’d have been the mate from up the road that you could leave the children with at any time in an emergency and know they’d be looked after. And he’d have been called Dave.

But the memories I shall always hold dear are those when he would curl up next to me, or on my lap, his purring a soothing, constant background noise. The times when he would climb up on my chest and head-butt my face, oh so very gently, then settle down in my arms. The times when I’d see him lying in the sunshine.

Pickle was generally a very healthy cat but in January 2012 he was diagnosed with congenital heart failure. He lost weight and for a few weeks Gerard, his vet, and I were very concerned. But we got the condition under control, the fluid stopped accumulating around his heart and lungs and he began to eat well again, resulting in weight gain. However his body was old, and began to let him down. I always said that when he could no longer manage the stairs, or his appetite failed, or he could no longer manage his toileting habits, than I would have to consider the options. At the end the muscles in his back legs had wasted to the extent that he would occasionally fall over when getting down from the sofa, or when shaking his head vigorously. It was clear that his body was failing, even though his heart condition was under control. So in order to save him from any distress, the decision was made.

On his last day, we went out in the garden. It was quite dull, but warm. He wandered around the grass, watched the birds and lifted his head and sniffed the air. That day will be a lovely memory for a long time. We made our trip to the surgery and Pickle was in my arms the whole time as he slipped away. He’s now with his sister Min, his nieces Suki and Sharni, and Bengal friend Looney at the Rainbow Bridge.

Thank you Pickle, you will always be in my heart.