Valerie, is my cat, a beautiful grey/black tabby British short-haired stray to give her full title! We already had a cat, a male rescued cat called Charlie, who had been kidnapped by some teenagers, had a firework tied to his tail and set alight, following which he ran into the path of a car and suffered head injuries. Apart from his ‘sob story’ Charlie was a happy cat and was quite happy to be a lone cat, enjoying the peace of sharing a house with 2 middle-aged fogeys.
Then 2 years ago, Charlie brought in a small Ferrel cat, probably about 6 moths old and we joked that he was sitting on the wall outside singing the Amy Winehouse song, Valerie, as in why don’t you come on over Valerie? We resisted feeding her or making any fuss as we thought she was just lost and would then ‘go home’ when she felt like it. Valerie had other ideas.
She wrecked our Christmas tree, ate all Charlie’s food and despite all sorts of advertising in the local papers, posters in shop windows etc, nobody came to claim her and she did not leave! By the end of January, we decided she was here to stay and booked her into the Vets for a checkup and some vaccinations. Nothing could be easier we thought…but not in Val’s case. “I think she may be pregnant” the Vet said, my worst nightmare, no way did we want a litter of kittens! Eventually, after long deliberations, we decided to let her have one litter and then get her spayed.
Then suddenly on Valentines day, poor Charlie got killed on the road. Needless to say, we were devastated and I didn’t stop crying all weekend. People said that Charlie knew he was not long for this world and that Val came for a reason? That, we will never know but she was certainly a comfort to have around at that time.
Valerie’s pregnancy went well and we prepared for the imminent birth. One day I arrived home from work and Val was in her hidey hole in obvious distress and I kept watch from a distance in case she needed help. One stillborn kitten later, she was out of the box, in the garden and eating food as if nothing had happened but there were obviously still more kittens to come. We called the out of hours Vet and she had to be admitted for an emergency caesarean. She had 3 more still born kittens and was spayed, the Vet called in the morning and said, she’s ok, we will transfer her to your Vets to recupperate, that’ll be £460 please! A bit expensive for a stray cat, but hey ho.
I got a phone call later while I was at work to say Val had once again been rushed to theatre, the sterilisation did not go to plan, one of the ligatures had come undone and she was losing a lot of blood. She was operated on immediately and I rang back later to hear that she was ok, the operation had gone well but she had lost a lot of blood. The Vet had saved her life and all due to the very observant Veterinary nurse, (to whom I shall always be grateful) noticing a swelling in her abdomen which we now know to be a ‘bubble’ of blood….Poor Val! Poor me, the bill had now gone up to £850 and she still hadn’t had those vaccinations!
Four weeks later she went back for her checkup and got the jabs, total cost since arriving and wrecking the Christmas tree, £967 and it was only May.
Valerie is now fully integrated into our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way. She is now fully insured, she rules the roost, has all her own way, sleeps on our bed and is a big part of our lives and our family. We are so glad that Charlie brought his friend home, even though she was expensive!
R.I.P Charlie 2001 – 2008