Our beautiful Bengal cat was disabled, or whatever you call it for cats. The vet thought he had probably been hit round the head and brain damaged. We took him in and built up his confidence. He was beautiful, gentle and sweet - a miniature leopard - but he couldn't walk or run properly and his co-ordination skills left a lot to be desired.
He was out in my parents garden last week when a neighbour's dog broke in. It attacked him, mauled him and broke his back. My sister found him, covered in blood, the dog still chewing him. Yes, chewing him - I can barely bring myself to write it. Our beautiful little boy, a family member. It was an undignified, agonising death and it quite literally broke him. He was put down and now all our hearts are broken too.
The past two Friday afternoons, I've lumped my way back to my family home to spend time with my parents and sister. I don't think having me there half drunk helps much, but I'd feel bad being half drunk somewhere else. I'm in touch with them constantly too: checking in and helping with legal cat-admin. We're all up to our eyes in catmin.
Leopold was a very unique, very special cat. When my sister had major spinal surgery and was rendered sofa-ridden for months, Leopold walked in, sat down next to her and stayed with her for the duration (he did leave to eat and poo, mind). The rest of the time, he played in the garden while my mum watched from the kitchen. Sometimes he'd sit with her as she ate breakfast and then he'd wee up her leg, because he just didn't understand it wasn't cool. He should still be there, emptying his bladder on mum. When he first found us, as a stray, he lived in my dad's studio in the garden, watching him paint, because he was too scared to come down to the house.
He didn't stand a chance against this dog; a dog we have since learned is a hunting dog. Leopold's nickname was "Plod" because, as the name suggests, he plodded around. Had the irresponsible owners of this dog kept it inside or secured their garden or muzzled it when it went outside, this wouldn't have happened. And irresponsible it was: they were well aware their dog killed a neighbour's cat a few months ago. A plea to dog owners, especially those with potentially dangerous dogs: please be responsible. There's really no need for your dog to tear apart other people's pets.
Any animal lover knows pets aren't just pets. They are part of the family and our friends. I'm wild with rage that Plod met such a grisly fate and I'm livid that my family have lost their lovely little friend. I now know how Miley Cyrus felt when her pet, Floyd, was killed by a coyote: that coyote ruined everything and so did this dog. We buried Plod in the garden with his three tiny toys, which he found himself, under my bed and which he took everywhere with him.
I went to Poundland and hit up the Valentine's Day section, not to pick up something naff for my partner - although she'll get something crap too - but to buy some heart-shaped lights to put around a picture of Leopold sitting by my sister after her operation.