I'm really sorry to trouble you all with a bit of a gruesome story but it's been troubling me for the last 21 years and I am still having dreams about this cat - 21 years after his death
I really need your help to help me work out how to handle this but first i need to tell you the story - here goes.
At three years old, I met this cat as a tiny black and white kitten for the first time at our neighbours in their living room. They had a baby up in its pram and i was sat there next to it, i naturally looked up to see the baby when i heard it (not knowing that i'd not see it as it was inside the pram). This little black and white kitten suddenly peeped over the top at me from inside the pram. He was full of life and clearly excited to see me for some reason. I was fascinated by him and couldn't take my eyes off him. It was only a quick visit to the neighbours and mum soon decided to take me home. For whatever reason i couldn't forget the little kitten.
Days later, the neighbours husband knocked at the door and started talking to my mother. I peeped round the kitchen doorpost to see him bending down and putting this little black and white kitten on the floor inside our front door where he came pounding down the hallway, into the kitchen and started eating the cat food next to our existing adult cat
Some years later it mum told me that he'd been taken by his previous owners from his mum at 4 weeks (far too early) but they couldn't keep him as their baby was allergic to him - hence him coming to us.
I was three and this was the first kitten i had seen and i was fascinated by him. He soon became my cat and i had my first photo with him either that day or the next - sitting against the living room radiator holding him in my little hands with my winter coat and woolley hat on just before we went to the shops.
We grew older together and had a great bond. He would sleep on my bed most nights and having some siamese blood in him, would wake the house every morning at 4-5am wanting to go out. He was great! I loved that cat like a brother -I was an only child and this cat was the closest thing I had after my mum (no dad). This cat was unusual.. having grown with me from a toddler age as a kitten, he seemed to have higher than normal intelligence for a cat. You could literally tell him to get off the table, out of the flower bed, roll over etc and he'd do it. He also had an unusual fear of vehicles for some reason and we never knew why, only that he didn't like them and would hide behind the curtains trembling whenever the garbage disposal would come along -almost as if he had a preminition of something. If we went out in the evening he would always come with us like a dog and if we strayed too far from his comfort zone / range from home, he would stop, go hide somewhere and simply wait for us to come home.
The years rolled on, the cat was an integral part of my little family and from an early age, we'd been very close - he'd been as fascinated by me as I had by him. We went out one night and at the age of 9.5 years, didn't think much of leaving him to wait for us. We got home several hours later and my first thought was to find my cat. I went to find him and he wasn't there which had never happened before. Mum came to look and we couldn't find him at all. We checked the footpath behind some houses and heard a strange "Wooow" sound - which she dispelled as not being the cat even though my instincts were telling me it was. She refused to accept this and decided we should go home. He wasn't there. Our other cat was but not my cat.
She went back out looking for him with a torch and found his collar in the road. We didn't find him despite pleading with a passing police officer to help (this was the early 90s in a small quiet village where they had little to do). Cop diplomatically weedled his way out of it and sent us home. Next morning still no cat.. grandparents came over from 20 miles away to help with the search and still nothing. They went home and i was still distraught and didn't know what to do. I went out for another look.. cleared my head at the scene of his collar find and thought about what my cat would think to do in a bad situation. It came to me that he would hide behind something significant and i looked around and the only thing that stood out was a tree at the side of the road. I went to it and down in the dip behind it, under the hedge was my cat. I ran home in tears, grabbed my mum, took her there and she picked him out. We both went home in tears.
My grandparents came back over the next day and my grandfather buried him in the garden. My cat was so well known for his close relationship with me that the local priest even came out the following week to pray over his grave.
A year went by and for various unpleasant reasons, we had to move. My mum at my request (worried about never seeing his grave again, being dug up etc) arranged for him to be exhumed and reburied in a pet cemetary. At the time this was the best thing possible as it meant he would have a permanent grave that i could visit. The cemetary owner came out, exhumed the body and took him away in the back of his car after commenting that the soft peat he was buried in, had left him surprisingly intact. My mum promised to take me to see him when she could afford to but never did and it just became one of those "one day.." things that she'd continue stalling on.
Every month, year after year I would have very vivid dreams of my cat, either being alive or coming back to life with me or my close relatives pointing out that he was alive or had come back to life. These dreams would always leave me in a sad way for the rest of the day.
Twenty one years after his death and after many battles through financial crisis, bad health, umeployment etc... the dreams are still happening. Not as often but they are still happening. Last nights dream is the worst I've ever had about him. He was dead but I was keeping his body in a bag and taking it everywhere with me. At one point I couldn't find him and was almost coming apart at the seams until i found him again and checked his bones were in the bag to be sure. Thats the last thing i remember before waking up and it's put me into a really strange mood for the day.
I looked up the pet cemetary only to find it's no longer in business and the property was sold recently. The estate agency that sold it had somehow still got a pdf file on it's website for the property which turned up on google. I called them and explained the situation and they have said the property does indeed have a small pet cemetary and that they will contact the new owners to discuss my situation with a view to visiting.
At this point, I know must acknowledge that you're probably thinking i'm crazy but at the age of 33, i've sat here writing this entire post in floods of tears while my pregnant partner is sleeping upstairs with our first baby due in two weeks.
I've had many other cats since, some have come and gone, died horrible but quicker deaths, some were rehomed without my agreement (and never seen again) and others just chose to leave of their own accord. I still have one and he is now 14 and has been with me since a kitten when I was 18. He's a great little chap, totally insecure and paranoid thanks to a temporary new home at six weeks but he's been a loyal friend to me even if he does run away in fear every now and then. He is still no where near as close to me as my first cat or any of the subsequent cats that followed.
So I have a problem. Despite all of the following cats, I've always felt like my first cat was abandoned. The previous owners of the pet cemetary have sold the property. They are apparently still alive. The new owners do know about the cemetary but no longer run it or provide public access like a human cemetary. I have never seen my cats grave but know from a chase-up phone call that my mother made a year later, that he was buried "under the tree". They originally told us on collection of the cat that they would stipulate in any future sale of their property that no animal would be dug up for at least twenty years. Well.. 21 years after his death i'm sat here in tears writing this post and so i doubt in another 20 years i'll feel any different about my loss. Since his death, i've had nothing but rotten luck and a really hard time living life. Nothing has ever felt the same or right since his death and i feel that being taken away from his home and then abandoned has contributed to it - or at least to my conscience which has possibly held me back.
So.. the estate agents have said they will try to help me establish contact with the new owners of the cemetary so that i can reach out to them for a visit. I don't like the thought of my cat being dug up and discarded however with a land / property shortage here in the UK and housing developments all over the place it is only a matter of time. I have been mulling over the idea of negotiating to exhume my cat if the previous owners can identify his grave.
I sound crazy but i have had dreams about this cat for years and after 21 long years, i feel that the abandonement cannot continue. I want my cat back even if he is only a collection of bones. At least then I can decide how to deal with his future resting, end the abandonement and maybe bring closure to his tragic end. He was the finest friend I had and my life has never been the same since his death. What was once a reasonably happy and optimistic life has turned into a depressive and hopeless one. The worst thing is i don't even have a photo of him as my mother (now estranged) took the entire lot.
The question is really how i should handle all of this. I am an emotional wreck when ever I have to think of my old friend and while I think I could handle seeing his remains, it will no doubt bring back the memories of his death.
Please help, I am such a mess at the moment over this and today is the first time i have cried over this cat in years.