What can I tell you about Garfield? He was a beautiful big ginger cat with the loveliest nature you could ever wish for.  He and his brother Biggles were the last two of a litter of kittens that were left in a pet shop when my son, David, came in and said, ‘Mum! You’ve got to come and see these kittens!’  So we rushed back to the pet shop where these two adorable little ginger boys were amusing passers-by with their antics in the window. 

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Garfield - beloved cat of the whole world holds the world in the palm of his paw

We had intended to get A cat but when we saw both of them, we couldn’t choose, and so both of them came home with us. And thanks to Biggles and Garfield, our lives changed irrevocably forever.  I’ve since learnt that it’s always better to get two kittens, or two cats, at the same time because they’ll keep each other company while you’re out of the house.  David was still at school and I worked at a hospital a fairly long bus journey away.

Stories of their shenanigans are detailed elsewhere on this site, but they have given so much pleasure over the years that I’ve never regretted the decision to get both kittens.

In the last few years of his life, Garfield had more than his fair share of ill-health but he bore all his ailments with a stoicism that puts me to shame.

In his last few weeks he was struggling with the intense heat that global warming had inflicted on the British summer and it was painful to watch him at times as he struggled to walk down the garden, resolutely refusing to use one of three litter trays put out with a different grade of litter in each one purely for his own personal use. He preferred to do his business in a couple of spots in the garden and he would stand there for ages sometimes with Timmy hovering alongside him, or nearby, yapping little yaps of encouragement.

In the last few weeks it was necessary for me to assist him and I’m sure, although he might have been a bit embarrassed at my having to massage his abdomen, he was grateful because he always licked my face afterwards.

Garfield knew instinctively when I was sick and would always come and lie down alongside me to keep me company. When I came out of the hospital in November 2004, I was on strict bed rest for about a month and partial bed rest for a further month and each morning after their breakfast was finished, he and Timmy would sit on sofa and wait for me to join them. They would lay either side of me while I slept, their gentle purrs caressing my mind and helping me dream.

The day that I decided I would stay up after breakfast instead of going back to lie on the sofa both cats just took themselves upstairs – back to their old routine pre-operation days. I hadn’t said anything to them about not going to lie on the sofa – they just knew in that uncanny way cats have of knowing things before we know them ourselves.

I’d had abdominal surgery and none of the cats ever tried to sit on my lap and ‘knead’ with their paws as they would normally do. I didn’t have to protect my stomach – they just knew. If they did sit on my lap, they just sat there gently.

Garfield mentored Charlie and Ollie and I’m sure that his amazing friendship with Timmy was due, in part, to his laidback attitude and tolerant nature. Timmy loved Garfield, I have no doubts about that, and he selflessly ministered to every need without Garfield having to mention anything – Timmy knew in advance what Garfield needed, even alerting me when Garfield had the occasional accident and wet his bed or when he wanted to come downstairs.

Life will never be the same again without Garfield. Anyone who ever met Garfield really loved him, and he always spoke to them, or kissed them. After his surgery in January this year, when he went back for his check up, he walked out the back of the consultation room and went up to the various members of staff and meowed at each one. He had a kind word to say to everyone and we believed that he was thanking them for taking care of him during that nerve-racking day.  

He was truly a cat in a million – my once in a lifetime cat – and although I have 5 other beautiful cats, each with their own personal characteristics and personalities, Garfield was a cat above the rest.

He will be forever loved and missed.

For more tributes to Garfield, please click here:

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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