Farewell His Gingerness

It has been a really hard week, a couple of days ago I said my final goodbye to my beautiful Bruce, the wonderful, the placid, the great and mighty His Gingerness.

Gosh, where do I start....?  I know, ten years ago almost to the day Bruce was a gift from some good friends.  He had been living rough around their nursery for a while; they named him Bruce and made sure he had food but he would not approach them.  After a couple of years he suddenly decided he wanted to go into the house and they called me to see if I wanted him.  I had told them some time previously that I wanted a ginger cat.  A couple of days later he had moved in with me.  I worried at first as he was a stray and I had no idea how well he would settle in.  My dearest Bruce sniffed the air, found a cozy corner and decided there and then to retire.  For the first few weeks he ate everything put in front of him voraciously.  When he realised that food was going to be routinely provided he decided to get a bit more picky about what he actually liked.  
Bruce quickly became an integral part of my home and garden.  When I was out in the garden he usually was as well.
Bruce quickly realised his regal destiny:  he believed all property was theft because it had been stolen from him.  He knew what he liked and where he liked to be and there was no discussion possible.
Despite being the most placid cat ever, his face settled at grumpy and if you tried to question his choices you would get frowned at.
He was a seasoned poseur, he knew where to be to get the right cute photo.
The Portmeirion bench was his favourite bench and he often could be found snoozing there.  I would look out of the bathroom window and I could see him curled up on this bench, happily overseeing the garden (he could oversee the garden with his eyes closed and looking like he was asleep, he told me this.)
He also liked to laugh....
.... a newly washed car bonnet was always just begging to be walked on.
His Yoda impressions were legendary
and he was not too hung up on dignity.
He would help me when I was sewing by demanding fuss.
He developed a serious love of candlewick bedspreads,
and cannot resist a crochet blanket, especially one whose colours complemented his colour.
Above all though, he was my big gorgous boy and I thought the world of him.  Followers on Twitter/X will know that in the last couple of years Bruce's health has been declining.  As he had been a stray I did not know how old he was when he arrived with me, I had thought he was 3 or 4 years old but I now think he was probably between 6 and 8 years old.  He developed arthritis and this impacted on his mobility.  Regular trips to the vets became our lives.  Firstly on one medication, then on a series of monthly injections.  Some months he was not in the mood to go to the vets, but most of the time he put up with it.  Just before Christmas his decline was such that the vet and I started to discuss his end of life care.  We talked about when it might be clear he had had enough and that medical intervention was not going to radically improve his quality of life.  What felt like a gradual decline suddenly picked up pace in the last couple of weeks.  On the morning of his monthly vet appointment he did not eat his breakfast and he went and hid before I had even fetched the travel basket.  He had not been eating well for a while and this was not the Bruce I knew.  A couple of tests at the vets and it was clear that he had multiple issues: none of them that he could recover from and the combination meant that all the medicine in the world was not going to make his better or even more comfortable.  It was time.

So farewell my beautiful beautiful Bruce.  Your brother and sister cats are feeling the vacuum of your loss as am I.  I keep looking for you where you usually sleep and expecting you to appear for your evening cuddle.  I miss you.

Take care and be kind.

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  1. I am so sorry to hear your news. Losing a beloved member of the family is always so difficult and it is never an easy decision to make. It sounds like he had a wonderful life with you.
    Best wishes

  2. Oh Alison, I’m so sorry to hear this, a sad time for you. Sending much sympathy for your loss. The decision to say goodbye is so painful for us, but the kindest thing for our animals. He was a handsome lad and you gave him the best life any cat could wish for. Marilyn Roses UK.

  3. I have only just come across this. Me and my husband were not cat people at all until we moved 3 years ago, and the neighbours cat Smokey (21) decided she’d visit every day. She’s become part of our routine now, and we love her dearly. Bruce looks magnificent, and the photos are a wonderful tribute to him, he looks such a character. He was obviously very much loved and lived a terrific life. I hope the great memories help ease the pain, I can only imagine what a loss he is - Nigel

  4. I'm so sorry, Alison. What a darling Bruce was. My own dear ginger boy, nearly 18, had his final trip to the vet five months ago, and we are missing him terribly. My husband had never been a "cat person," but this one won him over completely and he soon became a "cat person."

  5. Alison, Just read your post, a moving tribute (*something in my eye...) to a very fortunate, well-loved character. It's so hard to make these decisions for those we care about so much... hope memories of Bruce's companionable grumpiness, garden oversight, culinary pickiness and overall presence will bring comfort in the days ahead.


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