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Socks, aka Soxy

Unknown DOB — 20 September 2007

Soxy montage

Socks, affectionately known as Soxy, was a gentle and gentlemanly cat; for the past 12 years a true companion until I had to let him go.

Soxy's age was unknown, but he must have been at least three when he appeared in the garden one very wet summer's evening, little more than a bag of bones -- a pathetic sight. We realised he'd been sleeping rough under a large fir tree (he retreated back there after first putting in an appearance), but unseen beneath its dense branches: he must have been keeping out of the way till hunger forced him out to beg. We didn't know how long he'd been around and could only speculate on his history, but he'd clearly fallen on hard times and was finding it tough to survive. I already had an elderly cat who would not have taken kindly to an 'intruder', so my brother Patrick (who writes all Purr 'n' Fur's material, and was cat-less at the time) took him in the following day, and he was duly christened Socks for obvious reasons. With care and attention Soxy soon blossomed into the fine animal you see. They formed a very close and affectionate bond; but after a year Patrick took a job abroad and Socks came to me, back to where he was found originally, my previous furry companion having by then died.

I was persuaded that Soxy should have a companion: enter Poppy from a rescue shelter, and the start of a double-act that kept me entertained and on my toes for ten years. They were like chalk and cheese, but inseparable. Boisterous, gregarious Poppy was always the boss, or thought she was, and the ringleader when it came to mischief. Quiet and well-mannered Socks wouldn't have started anything he shouldn't have been doing, but was often led astray! When they crashed out they could generally be found wound around each other in a furry feline heap.

With a unique personality and lovable character all his own, it would be quite wrong to say Socks was in Poppy's shadow; but she was 'in your face' and tended to be noticed more. When she was lost to a road accident two years ago a rather different Soxy began to emerge. At first completely lost, gradually he settled down and regained his equilibrium... and then he began talking. Poppy was always extremely vocal, but this had never been in Soxy's repertoire. He even became a little bossy! In many other ways too he 'bloomed' and came into his own, amply filling both sets of paws. We had a lovely couple of years together.

Soxy's appetite and particularly his weight were legendary -- he would polish off anything and everything put in front of him, and still look for more. We thought it became a habit after trying to fend for himself, almost as if he never quite believed he would get his next meal; but he was 'solid' rather than fat.

He had a character and temperament to match. Socks was a dependable and steadfast sort of cat: never excitable or wayward, always a comforting buttress, and he gave back in bucketloads the affection received. He was scared of the oddest things, like the sound of plastic bags, and despite his size wasn't very brave -- if confronted by another cat he would come belting through the flap at such a rate of knots it was a wonder he didn't crack his skull. He loved people, greeting and treating visitors very courteously if they showed an interest. A perfect gentleman in every way, and an extremely handsome fellow with beautifully symmetrical stripes and markings.

Unusually for Soxy, latterly he started being 'picky' with food, but the vet said it was often a trait in older cats. He was still in excellent shape though slowing down with advancing years: taking life at a more leisurely pace, sleeping more, and staying closer to home.

More recently weight loss was a real worry, but otherwise he was the same old lovable Soxy, his health and demeanour remarkably good -- glossy coat, bright eyes, an interest in everything, and still taking care of himself. Another checkup, and reassurance that he was in no pain, but there was nothing particularly treatable apart from giving him a tonic. Soxy was simply getting old and on the downward path.

Over the last few days he went down rapidly. And then the time came. Soxy became weak and very wobbly, and despite all the love and reassurance I could offer, he was utterly bewildered by it. It was miserable for the magnificent creature he'd been; and so the call was made. Socks was quiet, dignified and patient to the moment life left him, as solid and dependable as always, not letting me or himself down. I wish I could say the same of myself.

This sweet and gentle giant was a delight to share life with: an ordinary, unassuming moggy who asked little but affection and his keep, but made an extraordinary impression and became to his human a diamond among cats. Now he lies next to Poppy, and if there is any such thing as a feline after-life they will surely enjoy basking in the sun together again, and at night pricking up their ears at the tantalising rustle of tiny feet in the grass. Poppy could be surprised at the changes in Soxy in the two years since they were together last: I have a feeling she may need to get used to some back-chat!

Farewell, my lovely friend.

AJ, 20 September 2007

NOTE: a desktop wallpaper with a different image of Socks is available, and you'll find some more of our feline friends there too. Soxy has also been your guide through our Featuring Felines section since it was opened.

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