Not all angels have wings; some have Whiskers.
January can be a time of mixed emotions for lots of people. After the exciting highs or the deeply depressing lows of Christmas we start thinking about the New Year and the myriad of hopes that we have for it. For some, this feels wildly exciting. For others, it can feel deeply depressing.
I found myself in this very mixed emotional state when my partner Olivier died in 2017. We were due to get married the same year. His death was extremely shocking.
We were living together in France when Mimi, a beautiful, bi-colour, lynx ragdoll kitten came into our home following the premature loss of our first and only child together. Mimi was our world. We loved her from the moment we saw her.
When the time came for Mimi and me to leave our home in France, it was with bittersweet feelings that we crossed the Channel tunnel to begin a new life together on the South Coast of England. Complete with her cat passport and enough Feliway cat pheromone to make us both high for the first 2 hours of the 7-hour drive from France to England; we set off on our greatest adventure together.
I never bonded with any soul so much as that 7 hour journey. I was terrified. I was grieving. I didn't know the route. Olivier was guiding us the whole way. We left France on what would have been Olivier's 40th Birthday. We drove through the night my parents were waiting on the other end in an apartment we rented. The last stretch was the 30minute train journey across the English Channel where I let Mimi out her cat carrier.
Mimi was; and will always be so much more than a pet and an animal in my care. Mimi became my companion, my reason for living and we developed a connection that sometimes I find difficult to explain. The connection between human and animals can be profound; if you let it.
Mimi is an indoor cat, but she has the soul of a dog. We take walks together around the village where we live. Mimi loves walking on a lead. She enjoys chasing the birds that eat seeds in our garden, meowing at the seagulls who taunt her from the garden wall and catching spiders who run across the carpet in our little cottage by the sea. She likes to bring them in her mouth to me proudly; especially when I’m in bed! I don’t mind though. If it wasn’t for our delightful, playful, courageous little cat, I might not have been here today.
When someone you love dies, it feels like all the love in the world goes away. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep. The ringing in my ears lasted for weeks and some days I couldn’t even breathe.
Mimi slept on my pillow every night. When Olivier died and I had nightmares, she would lay across my chest until I was calm again. The first time I laughed, which is something I thought I would never do again, was because of our precious little Mimi. I will always remember it. Cats sleep with one eye open. She was napping on my knee when a large, blue bottle fly found its way into our apartment in France. When the fly buzzed loudly above Mimi’s head, two ears twitched and Mimi levitated into the air off my knee, catching the fly in her mouth! But as we know… what goes up, must come down… Mimi landed on all four paws, running after the fly and I laughed and laughed.
Mimi gave me the courage to face the world again. Every day without knowing it, her passion for life gave me a million reasons to live. We did everything together. We built dens, we chased feathers, watched the rain, played in the snow. Everything that Mimi did and saw for the first time, I was right there with her. I have worked from home for the whole of Mimi’s life. I have watched her grow into a playful and loving young cat. Mimi fills our new home with laughter and joy. It’s true what they say: not all angels have wings; some have whiskers. She fills my heart with happiness; we are our own little family and she’s my best friend. I understand her different meows now. She comes for cuddles in the night and she has become somewhat of a star in our local community.
Humans and animals can make very deep connections. If an animal feels safe and is given the opportunity to thrive, they will reward you with their love and insights into their secretive worlds. Adopt an animal in need today. Give them back their life and you never know; one day they might return the favour to you.