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In memory of a much-loved companion whose luck ran out in 2001

Thomas, 1999

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
—Albert Schweitzer

Thanks for the memories, Tom, and rest in peace . . .

More about Tom . . .

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Thomas, known of course as Tom, was my first cat after my return to settle in the UK following years of working abroad and an itinerant life. It was March 1999 when I took him in. He was a 'rescue cat' and, as they always tell you to do, I was supposed to keep him indoors for a few days. Tom had other ideas and 'escaped' the first night! Good grief, I thought — how will I explain this to the rescue centre? But I needn't have worried; by 5.30 or so next morning he was back, having presumably explored the neighbourhood — a quiet one, away from main roads — and after that he never wandered far.

Tom was delightful: an affectionate, dependable and undemanding cat with a friendly and pleasant character. He made friends with the children next door and would go to visit them when I was out, but was usually there to welcome me when I returned. After some months I moved to a bungalow on the other side of town; I put him in a cattery while the move was accomplished, and then he joined me in sorting everything out. Again, as I remember, he almost immediately went on a tour of inspection of the surroundings outside; then it was as though he thought, 'Fine — this is where we live now,' and he didn't roam much. He would 'help' me in the garden, but when the sun was warm he liked nothing better than to stretch out somewhere sunny and sleep the hours away. I didn't know his age; he seemed neither young nor particularly old.

Not long after Tom and I had settled in at our new home, I thought to get him a feline companion, and so 'Rags' came into our lives in the August of 1999. He was a boisterous and energetic youngster, but fortunately the two of them hit it off and seemed to get on well. Life went on very pleasantly with the pair of them for two short years; then came one of those hammer-blows out of the blue (as they usually do). Thomas was run over by a car just outside the bungalow. What he was doing there I don't know, as he rarely went over the road, and exactly how he came to be hit I don�t know either — but mercifully he died instantly. It was the evening before my birthday and I was due to go out for a celebratory dinner.

It was with great sadness that I buried him in the garden, not far from the kitchen from where I can look out and 'keep an eye on him'. A small plaque marks his grave, and every spring snowdrops are the first flowers to bloom there. I remember him with much affection.

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