Nearly three and a half years I have enjoyed being the cat mommy of a red stray cat called Prince Harry. The first photos I took of him were in May 2018, when he still seemed to be rather young. I was ill at the time, and it felt as if he knew I could do with some company and love. It wasn’t until August 2018 that I took him in, and decided he should be called Prince Harry.
Harry wasn’t a normal cat. He was so used to be outside, that he only came inside when it rained heavily for a longer time, or when it was cold. Then he would come inside and sleep on the sofa or on the bed all day long. And of course he loved coming inside for his food and snacks, often several times a day. He would sometimes sit on the floor next to me when I was working, waiting for me filling his bowl. Or if I sat on the sofa, he would jump on the table, so I could give him cups (and he me) or I could stroke him.
Over the cause of three years I only managed to get him to the vet once, as he was strong and very difficult to catch. Two years ago he was neutered, received a chip, and at least was less restless afterwards in springtime and summer. He only sneezed once in a while, remained a somewhat difficult eater, and sometimes would spit out his food, often because he had been eating too quickly. But otherwise he seemed to be quite healthy.
He knew exactly that he was safe in the house. The cat flap was used more than once to rush inside when an enemy cat was in our garden. And when he was operated two years ago the first two days he would stay close to me, being too ill to protest. Just over a week ago Harry wasn’t really eating at home. I was worried a bit, but it happened before and as a former stray cat he’d always know where to find food, and there are enough cats in the neighbourhood. I thought he was getting a bit tin, then left for two days on a very short vacation.
When I got back on Saturday a week ago he hardly wanted to come home, while he usually would greet me, and was even thinner. I got him his regular liquid snack and some tiny snacks to eat, and it seemed it went all fine. But he desperately wanted to go outside. I thought he would come back the next day, but he didn’t. It was not until in the night of Monday to Tuesday until Harry came back, in the middle of the night. Cold, wet, thinner than ever, and meowing. I decided to keep him inside and call the vet the next day.
There on Tuesday he was unfortunately diagnosed with Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), which he probably already had for quite some time. He got an injection, with the small hope he would feel better for a while, but wasn’t allowed outside anymore. For the first time since I had him, I was able to have him in my arms, put him on my lap. But I felt he wasn’t much of a fan, so I didn’t do it too often. He slept a lot, didn’t eat, hardly drank some water. I was not sure what to do.
But on Friday morning he started meowing loudly, as if he was in pain, had spasms and was lying on the floor next to me. He only relaxed a bit when I stroke him. I called the vet to make an appointment. And on Friday 20 August 2021 at 12.25pm my royal cat Prince Harry left this world, very quickly. I have been able to take him home and he is buried near one of favourite spots near the house. He was the very first cat I ever owned myself, although I grew up with cats. I am happy I have been able to give him a nice and safe home in the past three years. I am not sure how old Harry was. Me and neighbours thought he was hardly one year old when he arrived here in the spring of 2018, but the vet said that he also could have been 10 years old. But still too young to die.
I am glad he decided to return home, instead of hiding outside, so we could properly say goodbye to each other. But the house feels empty without Harry regularly popping in. In the future I might like to have another cat, but for now I will not (unless another stray cat comes around). He/she will however surely receive a royal name again.
A very sad cat mommy