The last of my UK cat adoption stories is certainly a good one to finish on! The story of Thomas, a ginger cat with a squashed face and a huge personality. Oh, and a fetish for urination…
Thomas a Ginger Cat Who Could Urinate With Purpose
I got home from work one day and I was really tired. It was a beautiful sunny day and I thought I would have half an hour on the sun lounger before I started cooking dinner. Of course, as you do, I fell asleep. I was aware of a cat getting on my lap and thought nothing of it. After all, I had four, Maximillian, Juju, Penny and Jimmy (click on their names to read their stories).
My partner woke me up coming through the back gate. I had slept longer than I intended. “How long has that been on your lap?” he asked me with a tone of horror.
I looked at the cat on my tummy and it was the most disgusting looking animal I had ever seen. Filthy, extremely smelly, dribbling, clearly very thin but also very happy to be with me. A ginger cat!
Making Friends And A Decision
I got up and the cat followed me to the door of the kitchen. Then I gave him some cat food which he ate in two seconds. I closed the door. He was still there at midnight so I fed him again. He was there next morning. I spoke to the our long suffering vet over the telephone. He said to feed him for a few days to build up his strength and then bring him in to be checked and neutered. I told Thomas (yes I had named him by then) that I was adopting him but he had to pay the ultimate price first and lose his manhood. He didn’t seem remotely bothered at the prospect.
The First Car Journey With Thomas
Getting Thomas into the basket to go to the vets for his operation was no trouble. He was very friendly and easy to handle. Once the car started, however, it was a different story. In spite of travelling on an empty stomach he was sick before we had gone 20 yards to the end of the cul-de-sac. I then had the journey from hell with a cat that alternately urinated, defecated and vomited the whole 15 minutes. The crowning glory was the projectile vomit that shot across the car and landed on my hand on the gear stick. Nice touch I thought.
Thomas had to be bathed before the vet could even look at him – the basket had to be disinfected! The vet said he was about three years old . I left the little lad at the vet to have three teeth removed as well as being neutered. He was drowsy when I picked him up from the Vet and he slept all the way home.
However! The first car journey was an indication of what was to come. Trips to the vet were a nightmare for all concerned Thomas just couldn’t handle the car journey and was dreadfully ill each time, poor little thing. The vet even gave us some pills to sedate him for the journey. But would you believe Thomas would not give in to the pills, he would pace and pace and pace, determined to stay awake until he eventually had to given in. Even then the basket had to be regularly cleaned out on arrival at the clinic and on one occasion the nurse just picked Thomas up and put his back end under running water before she would touch him! He couldn’t help it, but he was a horror!
Thomas And The Other Cats
Our Thomas fitted in reasonably well with the other cats though he immediately took over as top cat. Anyone who disagreed was given a good bashing to get them back in line. He liked Penny so he rarely touched her or our other little girl Juju. Maxi used to squeal when Thomas approached him in a certain way and I got the impression that Thomas rather liked the power trip. Jimmy was no fun to try and beat up as he really wasn’t bothered.
Thomas would stake out the litter box as his territory. The cat experts (am I not a cat expert by now I wonder?) say that you should have one litter box per cat and a spare. Well that wasn’t going to happen as that would mean six litter boxes. We had three which had worked fine BT (before Thomas). The litter box in the hallway had to be moved as Thomas would wait until one of the others (preferably Maxi) was in the tray and then sit down in the hallway so they couldn’t escape and pounce on them as they went past. We solved that problem by ensuring all three litter boxes had escape routes.
Otherwise, Thomas was good at feeding time, they all ate from their own bowls. He would curl up asleep with the others and play with them in the garden.
The End of My Interior Decor Touches
The first sign of a problem with Thomas (Tommy) and urination was when I got home from work and I could smell something had happened in the living room. At the time it was very on trend to have small round tables with multiple table cloths and ornaments or a vase of flowers on top. I had two of these in the living room. I found one was absolutely soaked. Of course I didn’t know then it was Tommy. I washed the table cloths and replaced them. And it happened again. Then again. And then one day I caught him doing it. I removed all the table cloths and the problem stopped. In the end I removed the tables as the whole point was that they looked fancy with their pretty coverings!
One day I got home with my Mum after a trip somewhere. I had bought a beautiful throw pillow/scatter cushion with a ginger cat on that reminded me of Tommy. I put it on the sofa and we stood back to admire it and then went to get a glass of wine. By the time we returned Tommy was actually standing on the sofa urinating on the pillow. End of pillow.
That living room was a bone of contention between me and Tommy. It was the only room where he regularly made his mark. I would get home from work and go all over the room sniffing to find where he had urinated. Most days I remembered to shut the door to keep him out (and he didn’t do it in any of the other rooms), but you can bet that if I forgot and left it open he would mark his territory in there.
Thomas Really Was The King Of Urination
The living room was clearly a question of marking his territory. As I said, he didn’t do it in any of the other rooms. But he would occasionally urinate elsewhere but for particular reasons.
The Christmas Tree Episode
I had decorated the Christmas Tree with lots of fairy lights and it was the first time they had been switched on. The other cats had already checked out the tree and it had clearly passed muster though a few baubles had been removed to roll around the room. Thomas walked into the room. He walked over to the Christmas Tree and did no more than turn around and urinate up it. There was an incredible bang and the smell of smoke as the lights fused and Tommy ran out of the room. He was terrified and had a sore place on his rear end. The vet said luckily he had ‘peed in spurts’. If it had been a continual stream Tommy would have been toast.
The New Jacuzzi Bath
We had some building work done, knocking one small bathroom and separate toilet into one big room. As a treat to myself I ordered a jacuzzi bath. The work was all done and we had decorated the room. It looked wonderful even if I do say so myself, huge mirrors reflecting light everywhere and this fabulous bath with matching toilet, bidet and wash basin.
To celebrate, my partner and I christened the bath by having our first jacuzzi along with a bottle of champagne. Thomas walked into the bathroom and stopped walking abruptly. He looked at us and the bath, walked over, turned around and urinated up the side of the bath. In spite of our squealing and splashing water at him. I guess he didn’t like it. The strange thing is, he never did it again, it was a one off thing.
Greeting My Partner On His Return
Whenever my partner was away on business I would have all the cats sleep with me on the bed. On this particular occasion, my partner had been away on a residential course for three weeks which was a long time. When he came to bed, the first thing he did was to shut the bedroom door to keep out the cats. In the morning he said he was going to have a shower and left me in bed dozing. Unbenown to me he had left his dressing gown on the bottom covering my feet.
The first I knew there was a problem was when my feet started to feel funny and warm and when I sat up and looked, Tommy was urinating all over my partner’s dressing gown. I guess it was a comment about him coming back and them being shut out of the bedroom. My partner was furious and I was none too pleased as I had to strip the bed and wash everything. Again though, this was the first and only time Thomas did it, very much a revenge attack.
Thomas And The Window Fitters
We had new windows fitted on the house which took three days to complete. As anyone who has done work on my house will attest, everyone gets a lecture on the cats and what can and can’t be done. On the first day of the window fitting, I introduced the two workmen to Thomas and said to be careful he didn’t urinate in the living room while they were in there. That day, the builders sat in the kitchen and ate their sandwiches for lunch. Thomas sat under the table in case they dropped any crumbs.
Day Two I was working from home. One of the workmen shouted that he was going to MacDonalds to get lunch and did I want any. I declined. Then I heard the other workman say ‘get something for Tom’. I thought Tom was another workman. No way. I came out of my office and there they were on the stairs. The two workmen and Tommy eating. They had bought Tommy some Chicken McNuggets.
Day Three I went to work in the morning and came home at lunchtime. The workmen were having their lunch in their van and waved as I walked past. I did a double take as something in my brain said ‘was that a pair of ginger ears sticking above the dashboard?’. Sure enough, there was Tommy sitting between them in the van. ‘Tom loves ham sandwiches, my wife made them special’ said one. ‘Gordon Bennett‘ I muttered to myself as I walked through the back gate.
The guys were genuinely sad to say goodbye to Thomas and he sat and watched their van drive off.
Thomas And The Neighbours
Our lovely neighbours had cats of their own and often came in for drinks so they knew all the cats. They had a cat flap. Apparently they would hear the cat flap when their cats were on the sofa and would shout ‘Get out Thomas!’ as it was always him who had come in for some extra food. They decided to try and stop him doing it so started lifting the food so there was nothing there when he came through the cat flap. This became really important when Thomas was diagnosed diabetic and had to have special food and tablets for his condition.
One evening Mike came to our front door laughing. He said ‘Can you tell Thomas not to poop in my slippers just because there is no food down?’. I was mortified but Mike and his wife thought it was hysterically funny. Thank goodness we had lovely neighbours!
One lovely summer evening Mike started a barbecue. Not long after the barbecue started I heard a screech followed by ‘Come here you little B*$&%&’. Moments later Thomas climbed over the fence between the properties with a string of sausages (links) in his mouth. He was disgusted when I took it off him. Much to my surprise, LOL, Mike didn’t want them back.
Thomas Growing Old
As with the other cats, Thomas was getting older and we were spending more and more time in Italy in preparation for a move there permanently. The vet had said that there was no way Tommy would cope with the move so we were in an in between phase. Juju had died and that just left Jimmy and Tommy. Our lovely cat sitter looked after them while we were away.
Now we come to one of the biggest regrets of my life. My partner had arrived from England the night before when we got a tearful phone call from the cat sitter to say that Thomas had suddenly collapsed. Then the vet rang and said we had to get back as he was in a bad way, his heart had given out, and he needed to be put to sleep. Unfortunately I was ill and in no fit state to travel. My partner went straight back and did the deed and buried Tommy in the back garden.
I was mortified I couldn’t be there with him at the end. He and I had such a special connection that I feel I let him down. I still feel so bad about that after all these years.
Of course with Thomas’ passing we were able to bring Jimmy out to Italy, as detailed in his story.
The Legacy of Thomas
But you know, Thomas had more character than a lot of people I have met. Some said I should get rid of him as they couldn’t put up with the urination issues. How could I do that? The vet found no physical reason for his activities other than he was neutered late and had well developed territorial instincts. As you have seen from his story, many times there was a rather skewed logic to what he was doing. All attempts to deter his activities failed, nothing worked.
So in the end I accepted that it was just Thomas. And I don’t regret a moment of time with him or clearing up after him. I adapted the house round him and was glad to do it. And I have done so since here in Italy for the cats that I have adopted. Because he taught me a lot about how magical a cat could be even with behavioural problems. I would rather have them than be without them.
Thomas was a loving, friendly, horrible little monster and I loved him to pieces. From the moment I opened my eyes and saw him on my tummy that summer day.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!