We've had some terrible news. Last week we took Dave (our cat) to the vet because he was feeling unwell, and they found lumps in his bowel which scans confirmed was bowel cancer. Scans showed that the cancer had spread to his kidneys so surgery isn't an option. Instead we are treating him with steroid injections and lots of love at home. With any luck he might make it to his 12th birthday in December, but it doesn't look likely.
We are devastated.
Yes, Dave is our cat. But he's not just a cat. He's our best friend and chief work-overseer. He's a leg-rubber, food-taster and knee-breaking lap-warmer. He's the bringer of a hair garnish in every cup of tea and a head-boop whenever you're feeling sad. He's been my shadow for nearly 7 years, following me around the house and keeping me company at my desk while I work. He's like a flat-mate best friend. And we will miss him fiercely.
But not yet! For now he is still here, by our side, giving us love and accepting it in his turn.
Strangely, we are feeling lucky that we have this time to treat him like the king he is, with roast chicken, salmon, beef and cod dinners every night - all fresh and home cooked - and as many cardboard boxes as he could wish for.
He's currently enjoying spending his day times outside in a cardboard box, which we move to the open back-door when it rains. At night we keep him in now, to better keep an eye on any vomiting or unusual litter-box activity. He's still very wary when we shut the door at night - in case it is another vet visit! But he's slowly getting used to it.
Dave came to us from the Sheffield Cat Shelter. We saw him online and he looked like a proper dude, so we decided to make an appointment to see him in person. As soon as we arrived we could see him through the glass, sitting on a shelf by the door. And he was MASSIVE! Not fat, just BIG! Especially compared to all the other cats. He looked like their king! But there was nothing to be concerned about, because as soon as we went in he came straight up to us, purring and head-rubbing and even laid on his back to show us his belly! It was love at first sight for all three of us. I did, however, get a scratch down my arm for stroking said belly: but that was just a misunderstanding because we didn't know each other well enough. Now he even lets me kiss his belly - such a softy!
We decided then to take him home, but we had to come back the next day. That gave me time to buy him his own cat box. I went and got him the biggest I could find from the pet-shop. But when I arrived the next day to pick him up, it wasn't even big enough for half of his body! So the cat shelter and I did a swap for a bigger one.
When at the cat shelter I learned of his background. His microchip showed he had started his life as a kitten as a street-cat who was then adopted. Mysteriously he then ended up back at the cat shelter. From his chip, they found out where he was adopted to and went to give him back. But his previous owners had moved house. After finding their new address, they said that the new owners of the house had agreed to take him. Something the new owners knew nothing about. So that's how he ended up on the street.
I don't know how neither of them could want him. He's not a dick. He's brilliant and laid-back and chilled. And the best friend that anyone could ever wish for. But their loss was our gain, and we've had nearly 7 brilliant years with him.
I've immortalised Dave's memory with his own children's book Our Dave, that I wrote and illustrated all about his real-life journey through the cat shelter to finding his forever home with us. Thank you to everyone who has bought Our Dave: you are helping to keep his memory living. It makes me so happy that children all around the world know his name and love him almost as much as we do.
I know some of you know Dave in real life, and some of you know him through his book or seeing him on my social media. A little while ago I set up a donation page when he was having his teeth out, to help with treatment costs. His treatment costs are low at the moment, but just incase you wanted to buy Dave a nice treat to make his end of life as tasty as possible, you can do one-off donations at his Ko-Fi page here: https://ko-fi.com/ourdave