On the 10th June 2013 we were gifted with a tiny grey kitten from my sister’s best friend’s mum, who at the time cat had just had a big litter of kittens, but know home for them.
My sister spent a lot of her time over her friends house, especially once her friend’s cat had had the kitten. Who luckily only lived a few houses away, my sister got on really well with this little girl and her mother was just as lovely to talk to.
My little sister has autism and Asperger’s, she’s on a high scale of both spectrum. At the time she had a speech impediment and some difficulty in reading and writing, but the school that my mum took her to at the time done wonders to help her, taught her sign language to help her communicate with us (Her favourite sign to sign was cookie. She always wanted a cookie, that eventually we were nicknaming her ‘the cookie monster’!), spent hours with to help her read and write. But she was still incredibly shy and distant, she was still locking herself away from people, away from us at times.
But ever since she had spent time at her best friends house we had noticed a subtle change in the way she carried herself, she was gaining more confidence. At the time we put it down to spending a lot of time with her friend… then we realised the real magic that was at work. Her friend had a few pets, specifically she had a female cat that at the time was pregnant. When they found out she was pregnant Cait (my little sister) went into “vet mode” which is something we say when all her focus is driven to helping an animal. She woke up, had breakfast and went to her friend house and only came back when my mum went to retrieve her.
I had overheard my sister talking about really wanting one of the kittens and talking to my other siblings, making them excited and wanting a kitten.
It was then that I started thinking…maybe it was time we got a new pet. My younger siblings had never had a pet yet and the last one I remember us having was when I was 6-7 taking in another stray. It was the only times I remember having pets, we’d never buy one, we’d eventually see a poor dog looking rough, scared, hungry and needing a home. My mum has a heart of gold, if we brought home a fish and told her we needed to look after it because no one else was, she’d let us keep it and help us look after it.
But there came a time where we had to stop bring home strays and eventually we got used to a house full of people and no animals. So I knew if we wanted to have another pet in the house then it would require A LOT of conviction… luckily I have always found that discussion and convention have been my strong suit when it comes to communication. Want a conversation? You might need to look else where, Need someone to convince someone that something is a good idea?… then you’ve found your girl!
I knew that simply talking and to guilt my mum into it just wasn’t an option, at least not on its own (I’m not proud of it but we do what we must when young and wanting something).
So with that in mind I did a little research and came a cross other parents who had bought a cat for this child with autism and noticed a big difference in their personalty and confidence, specifically I was looking into the benefits of having a cat around the house.
I came across a few article and pages that suggested that a cat was a great companion for those who have autism.
“Results of a study recently published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science demonstrated that cats are affectionate with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), benefitting the children and their families.”How Cats Can Help Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Once I was sure I had enough information to give to my mum about the benefit of having a cat, all I had to do was, share my information with her. And so for two days, every night, I would sit down and explain why I thought it was time we had a pet, but instead of a dog, it’d be a cat. My was NEVER a cat person. She hated cats because of a bad experience with one when she was younger. but the moment she laid eyes on the kittens, I saw her heart melt at the sight and she too fell in love with tiny furry creatures.
I fell in love with a tiny little black and white kitten whom I had named Moxie, while my sister had had her eyes set on a cheeky looking grey kitten from the very moment she saw all the kittens. She already had a name picked out for him! Sox.
Because the white on his paws make it look like he is wearing little white socks!Caitlin – when explaining why she choose Sox for his name.
When they were able to be separated from their mother, we took home our new kittens.
It was from that moment on that Sox and Cait became inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Seeing them together was something truly special, you could see the love they had for each other, the care that was there.
Sox was a special cat, he seem far more intelligent than most people give any animal credit for. I believe he knew why Cait had picked him, because I think he picked her too. He somehow knew that she needed help, and knew that he was the only one at the time that could provide that for her.
They acted like best friends, brother and sister, not like pet and owner. There were days they would fight, days he would turn his back on her out of anger (usually after dressing him up in a dress ) but most days were spent with them napping together. Of him by her side as she taught herself to draw, cuddling into her when she was sad or confused.
He seemed to know what she needed and when she needed it, it was like they were fully in tuned with one another.
On 3rd June 2017 the family was so happy and excited that Sox was back home, he had gone missing for a few days and we were waiting on his return. Something felt wrong while he was gone, my sister felt like there was something wrong, she wouldn’t eat or sleep because of it. So when he showed up we were so happy!
Until we saw that he was hurt, limping, and not at all himself….
We quickly realised that he had been hit, knocked down or at least seriously harmed in some way, as he made his way up stairs to seek shelter in the bottom of my cupboard (I had turned the bottom of it into a little cat bed/hiding area so they always had somewhere to hid if they truly felt they needed to – usually only happened whenever a new person came to the house or one was sick). While making his way there he was leaving a trail of blood and my sister crying/following behind him.
We got him to the vet as soon as we could in the hopes they’d be able to do something. The next day we got a call saying they weren’t able to do the surgery he needed because of a swelling.
5th June 2017 my mum had received another phone call. There wasn’t anything they could do for him, they couldn’t be sure how long ago he had received his injury but it had already started rotting and the rotting had made its way too far into his body.
The only humane thing to do was to let him go.
My mum called us into the kitchen to deliver the horrible and heartbreaking new. It broke us but what broke me more was the ear piercing scream that came out of Cait when she was told, the way she collapsed on the floor and begged for her best friend back.
It still breaks me to this day and I find myself in tears writing this. I had originally planned on writing this and having it out for the 5th June but I couldn’t bring myself to do so, then I was going to do it yesterday but found myself having the same problem. But today I’ve decided to power through the emotions because his story needs to be told, our pets stories need to be told which is reason behind my, ‘Let talk pets series’ on my blog.
I want to share the story of other people’s pets, I want to be their voice, the voice they don’t have. I want their owners to tell their stories so I can share them with the world and so please if you do or did have a pet, I would be more than happy to feature their story on my blog. Just email me at: Littletinkable@gmail.com
Sox was my sister’s best friend. He helped her more than we ever could and when we was taken from us…when we had to let him go, we lost a little piece of ourselves with him. Life isn’t the same without him. And it never will be the same again.
He made an impact in our lives but more of all he made a massive impact in my sister’s life and for that I know she will always love and treasure his memories.
After reading my post I want you all to take a moment to remember the things your pets have done for you, things they have helped you through. Then I want you take a minute to truly appreciate those little creatures because they are the only tiny little blessing in life that I believe in.
This is the universe way of giving us a helping hand and to dismiss it as nothing, to keep taking them for granted is a truly foolish mistake on our part. They deserve our love and care more than anyone, why should they be the only ones giving the unconditional love? We need to give as much as we take and that includes our pets.