A tribute to Sir Springer the cat


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Get a pet, lose your heart”…perhaps that might replace the “a pet is not just for Christmas” slogan. We happily accept the exchange where we look after our pets’ needs and in return are given un-judgmental acceptance and affection. Cats are of course a different matter –if you’ve ever loved a cat you’ll know that there’s a fair bit of truth in the statement that cats have staff. Cat lovers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Helping Mum with Congress 2006 work.

Helping Mum with Congress 2006 work.

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All this work is just too tiring.

It wasn’t always an amiable relationship on his part, as Springer thought he belonged in the house and should take priority over mere small humans. It wasn’t uncommon to find him stubbornly sitting in the midst of the toys plainly making his residential status clear.

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They only think it’s their play tent…it’s mine as well.

As the other grandchildren have come along he’s often looked askance at them and retreated to a safe position away from them. On one or two occasions he’s given them a nip of warning to their dismay but despite that they too have been enamoured of him and have learned to watch his tail for impatient swishing. When they turn up on an unexpected day, and he seemed to have a good sense of when it was grandchild-day, he was known to give a very disapproving look at their temerity for disturbing his peace. At the end of each visit he would follow us all out to the gate, then roll on the driveway looking smug with a distinct attitude of “na, na, na..I live here, you don’t!”

Sometimes you just have to chill out!

Sometimes you just have to chill out!

As you can see, a cat of definite opinions! He’s never been a cuddle cat, tolerating only small doses of cuddles, but he always loved to be near us wherever we were. He was oh, so predictable in his habits: when breakfast was due (as soon as someone woke up), when it was time for an afternoon snack (between 4 and 5); when it was time to reluctantly come in at night (about 10pm) and when to annoy Mr Cassmob to let him out (the earlier the better from his point of view). When he wanted to come back in he would yodel loudly to get my attention and then need to be dried off if he’d been caught in a storm.

This is what we called his "mad eyes" look when he was fired up for mischief, including his tendency to kick himself in the ear...silly boy!

This is what we called his “mad eyes” look when he was fired up for mischief, including his tendency to kick himself in the ear…silly boy!

In short, his staff were perfectly trained, and in return he mostly did what we wanted. He accepted that when we went on long holidays he would have an excursion to his fancy cat resort complete with an enclosed aerial walkway where he could sun himself, a hammock to snooze on and his mummy rug brought from home. On the way there and back he would talk loudly and put his paw through his travelling cage, to be reassured. He knew full well the difference between the route to the resort and that to the vet, which generated a much louder conversation.

I wonder where they'll go on holidays next?

I wonder where they’ll go on holidays next? Among Mum’s family history papers in the study.

Within our complex he seemed to be popular especially with those who love animals but can’t have one for various reasons. He would trot around, fluffy Persian-like tail held high, looking like lord of all he surveyed. This earned him our aka of Mr Trotsky. His daily name, Springer, came from his youthful mischievous habit of leaping out and kung-fu-ing you at hip height as you walked by.

The most recent photo of him we have - in Pavlovian mode.

The most recent photo of him we have – in Pavlovian mode. Where are the mussels Dad?

Pavlov would have been impressed with him when he flew down the stairs at the smell of Thai food preparations, because after all, those activities and smells went with Thai Mussel fritters, and he liked nothing better. In fact on a recent occasion, when Thai was being prepared but not mussel fritters, we offered him freshly cooked prawns. From his response you’d have thought we offered him cat food, and the cheapest version at that! Our previous cats looooved prawns and for them we made a dish of prawns their last supper.

What are THEY doing here again? On an unexpected grandchildren visit.

What are THEY doing here again? On an unexpected grandchildren visit.

Ever neurotic, he was utterly terrified of strangers and was a better stranger-early-warning system than a watch dog. If you saw him fly up the stairs, belly to the ground, tail down, you could guarantee there was someone walking through the complex, and far too close to our unit. We ultimately concluded that he had perhaps come from a cat farm (something we hadn’t known about previously), as we could never quite get him past his fear of anyone other than family.

Now which one should come off next?

Now which one should come off next?

It was only last Christmas that his increasing maturity became evident and he resisted the temptation to climb the Xmas tree, and carefully (or madly!) remove the baubles as he’d done every other year. From time to time he’d indulge in fits of craziness flying up the stairs like a bat out of hell, doing wheelies with his legs spinning out from under him. Hilarious to watch.

Nearly two weeks ago Mr Springer disappeared from home and hasn’t been seen since. We’ve tried everything under the sun to find him but reluctantly we’re very slowly accepting we’re likely not to see him again.

We can’t (won’t?) accept that someone might have catnapped him for nefarious purposes because he was just too speedy to be caught. He doesn’t appear to have been hit by a car as no body has been found. We hope that if he has gone to cat heaven that it wasn’t too terrifying a trip for our little nervous Nellie, and think that being bitten by a snake or poisoned by cane toad, rather than attacked by the dingoes or wild dogs that are in the reserve across the road, are the likeliest possibilities.

Chilling out on his chair and his mummy rug (sarong)

Chilling out on his chair and his mummy rug (sarong)

They say it takes two weeks to create or break a habit, in which case we may soon stop looking for him everywhere and come to terms with his empty Ikea chair without his furry little face looking at us. We’ve found it surprisingly difficult to come to terms with his absence –there’s something much “cleaner” about eventually having to have a very ill cat put to sleep, than the everlasting wondering about what happened.

Through it all we’ve been so grateful for the kindness of friends, family and strangers who’ve responded to our distress. The take-home message from this experience is very much about the goodness and kindness of most people, and how much most people love their pets. We’ve also been so impressed by the people at the Top End Lost and Found who coordinate information on lost and found pets.

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20 thoughts on “A tribute to Sir Springer the cat

  1. A beautiful tribute to Sir Springer.

    I don’t know about 2 weeks to create or break a habit. Lily our cat used to love to sit on the top landing just under the small (and fairly useless) Victorian window where she could be dry (inside) and extra warm from the sun rays coming through the window. Even now 6 years later every time I walk up the stairs I for a fleeting moment wonder where she is….then I remember.
    You can read and see a couple of photos of her

    http://anglersrest.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/blogging-z-april-challenge-l-is-for.html

    For beings so small they find a place in our hearts and never really easy. Hugs x

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    • Thanks Julie…I know exactly what you mean about being caught unawares expecting them somewhere in the house. They certainly do carve a place in our hearts and lives if we let them. Thanks too for the hugs and support here and on FB from all my blogging mates.

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  2. Sir Springer indeed. What an impression you have left on so many hearts. We have wished and hoped and prayed for your return… if is not to be, at least you will always be much loved and cared about and very much a part of the family history. If you are in cat heaven, please say Meow to our much lived Fifi who left us many years ago… our window sills have never been the same without her wandering from one to the other as I moved from room to room.

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    • In some small corner of my heart I’m still hoping but I guess this post reveals I’m coming to terms with his departure. He was a much loved cat and will remain in our memories, just as Fifi does in yours -I can imagine her moving from window to window. I can also imagine Springer, Fifi, Bigby, Tiggs and Sarah having a fine old play.

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  3. A beautiful tribute to your handsome boy, but I dearly hope Sir Springer is just on an extended holiday and will soon miss his ‘staff’. If not then, my cats Bigby and Tiggs, and my sweet silky dog Sarah will welcome him on the Rainbow Bridge. Hugs to you Pauleen.

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    • Thanks Jennifer -I like the idea of the Rainbow Bridge and yes, if he has gone on to the other place, then he will have so many friends of friends to play and romp with. I appreciate your hugs and thoughts. Pauleen

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  4. So sad Pauleen. Having had two beloved feline family members “disappear” in the past 15 years and then, more recently, another two needed to be “put down” to relieve them of their agony… I’m not sure which is worse but the loss is indeed excrutiating.
    Such a beautiful tribute to your boy and may your hearts soon be healed.

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    • Thanks Catherine for your empathy. I feel so sorry for you to have lost two into the ether. We’ve had to put several others to sleep with cancer but this has been the hardest to come to terms with. We’ve had a couple of days away and thought we were reconciled to him being gone, but returning home has proved we’re not even close to that.

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      • Pauleen, I woke up in the middle of the night remembering that I think my “Baryshnikov” may have curled up on blankies in a removal truck, or maybe someone’s car… but more likely a removal truck. Understand that this is very common and is clearly what happened with the cat that turned up at my brother’s after new neighbours moved in.

        Not trying to give you false hope, or anything but… just maybe nothing too bad has happened to your love and maybe if he got accidentally transported far away then survival instincts have required him to accept another family to feed him, but never to replace his mum and day and their love.

        Trouble is that… like with my “Barysh”, we’ll never really know :-( xxx

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      • Thanks Catherine (though sorry it woke you up!) and yes I’ve wondered if somehow he did something silly like that. Luckily the guy across the road left here a few days before Springer went awol. As you say, we may never know :-( I’m wondering how you called him in at night -that’s a long name…did he get Barysh for short or sometimes Barry?

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  5. “Baryshnikov” was a bit of a “sooky boy” Pauleen. He never needed to be called in and slept wrapped in my arms every night. He was named after the Russian Ballet Dancer, who abdicated to the West (USA), because of the same elegant/ autocratic way he held and turned his head. Therefore the name “Barry” would never suit… ha ha ha! Always his full name or “Barysh”… :-)
    Thanks to you too, for the caring.

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    • I knew the ballet connection but thought you might have occasionally felt the need to go Dinkum Aussie with him:-) He sounds gorgeous…if Springer had slept curled up with me I’d be even more devastated, and we’re already being pathetic.

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