Our holidays ended on a particularly sad note this this year as we lost one of our precious cottage 4 legged family members Trodaí cat (aka The King)
Not only was he the longest standing member of the original group of cottage animals at almost 19 years old but he was also the biggest character and he has left a bigger than normal cat sized hole in our hearts.
Trodaí is the Irish for 'fighter' and he lived up to his name right until the very end..
His story begins around 2001 when he was spotted by my best friend and her then boyfriend, chasing an empty crisp packet along the road in the busy town of Drogheda Co.Louth. My friend being a big animal lover herself of course saw the tiny wee thing all on its own and stopped the car to bring him home, to where myself and my late husband Joe were staying while renovating the cottage.
So she arrived in with this tiny black and white 'hissy spitting little thing' that was squaring up to her older cats puffing his tiny little tail up and bristling with fury if they dared move an inch in his direction..he was fiesty as hell and we loved him for it, he was definitely a keeper!!
The funny thing is Trodaí was a perfect gent with humans, he loved people (once they attended to his needs!) but he hated any other animal, he would tolerate them for a short period and then out of nowhere he would just lash out with a paw as if they had said something highly offensive 😂
Even our biggest dog Ceo (that actually looked more like a wolf) would lift into the air with shock and scramble as fast as his 4 legs would carry him away from the black and white crazy ninja that was moments before cuddled up purring sweetly beside him!
But then living with Trodaí was never dull.
He was a very intelligent cat and genuinely had that thing that you hear people say about 'he would talk to you' . He made himself very clear as to what he wanted. He would pat your face with his paw to get your attention and learnt to push his paws down on the handle of the doors!
He was so quick at getting out of trouble too, I think what he lacked in size and stature he made up for with intelligence and agility.
He did have a close call as a kitten though as he had to have an operation on his bladder due to a build up of struvite stones. The vets called it a bit of heroic veterinary as he was the tiniest thing they had to stitch up, but of course Trodaí the fighter came through it better than ever.
Mr. P is the one that started the whole 'The King' title.. this is the man that before meeting Trodaí had actually admitted he disliked cats, but few months in and Trodaí had himself wrapped around his little paw! He would lie on his lap every evening and had him at his beck and call.
We would make up scenarios of Trodaís life that he considered himself posh (always wearing his tuxedo!) spoiled and entitled with a royal accent, and though he was exceedingly handsome(I mean look at the jawline!) he was really hiding from his rough past..let's say Trodaí considered himself a Pierce Brosnan or apart of the Royal Family whereas in reality he was more of a Thomas Shelby 🤔😂
The King lived a life most of us could only dream of and it was really only in the last few months he deteriorated. He went blind about 6 months ago but he continued to get about inside without too much bother once we didn't move stuff. He found his way by touching his whiskers off the edges of the walls. He was still able to jump up and he was eating and happy in himself. But when he started to go downhill it happened very quickly.
He became skin and bones and he was finding it hard to get out of bed at all.
I had hoped I'd be spared making the decision for him. I have done it so many times over the years for other animals and each one breaks my heart a little more, some more than others and this one I knew would be one of those.
I hoped Trodaí would go on his own terms but it wasn't meant to be.. unfortunately his fighting spirit was keeping his little emaciated worn body alive and it was cruel to watch. The one thing he deserved after all these years was a dignified end.
Our vet came out 30th January to the house so as to make his passing as peaceful as possible, I felt a trip out would have stressed him and that was the last thing we wanted for him now.
I suppose apart from the memories of 19 years of friendship the hardest part of his passing was seeing my boys having to say goodbye. They adored him and carried him around like a baby.
My eldest boy in particular has taken it very hard as he has grown up knowing Trodaí as being a consistent part of his life for 9 years, living in the house with us and often sleeping on his bed.
It was so difficult as a mother to see their conflicting emotions; their pain and grieving for the little cat they had known all their lives but trying to be strong.
It's tough but it is teaching them about life and death, and love and loss and the value of the life of a soul no matter how little the body that carries it. I see their empathy and it makes me immensely proud.
Trodaí cat has been buried in between the old cottage and the new extension beside the tree house, just as the boys wanted.
He has been such a part of my old life but just as importantly to my new life and the family in it so it feels right.
As we buried him I was thinking about how funny that such a little creature could have made such a mark on so many people, and what Mr. P had said as he passed came to mind..
"The King is dead long live the King" 💔👑 🐾🐾