World Animal Day 2018 - Tiny's Story
4th October 2018World Animal Day is celebrated every year around the world on October the 4th on the day of the feast of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The aim of the day is to bring awareness to animal species across the globe to not only highlight the plight of species in the wild, but to also improve animal welfare standards for every animal no matter how big or small.
In order to celebrate World Animal Day 2018, I would like to share with you one particular animal that is very special to me personally.
On June 10th 2009, a beautiful red Burmese cat gave birth to a litter of kittens in a small greenhouse in Cornwall. Having been searching for another ginger tom as a companion for our older cat, we received a phone call to say that there was a kitten looking for a new home. As soon as I saw him, it was love at first sight and the journey past the heliport on the way home led to him being named as Harold.
On arriving home, it struck me just how tiny he was. His little eyes were almost shut with conjunctivitis and I immediately doubted that he was as old as 8 weeks. A trip to the vets the next day for antibiotics confirmed this as they believed he couldn't be more than just five weeks of age. Within 24 hours, he was already affectionately named, Tiny, a name that stuck from then on.
The relationship between Tiny and our older tom, George, got off to a rocky start. Tiny adored George and followed him everywhere calling him and was simply ignored, which was heartbreaking to see. A few days later they bonded quickly, hiding under the table together to escape the beast that is the hoover! A close and affectionate friendship was instantly formed and from then on they were the best of friends.
Tiny was a little scamp from the start. Cheeky and strong-willed, his energetic nature never ceased to amaze along with his calls which many often said sounded like a baby crying. He quickly settled into our household and would sleep in bed next to me every night, head on the pillow and body under the covers as if he was a person. He grew into the most beautiful (albeit) very naughty little cat and was adored by everyone who met him even if they claimed to not be too fond of cats.
Two years later he lost his best friend, George, to old age and was incredibly distressed. He had a great friendship with our house rabbit, Munchy, yet nothing could replace his dear companion. Over the next year, new friends for him were adopted and after his initial disgust at having to share our attention with them, they too became close.
It was the relationship between Tiny and I however, that was more special and unique then anything. We were so close and adored each others company. If I went away for a night, I would always get someone to come and stay in the house to look after him and he would become depressed at even the sight of a suitcase. A three week photography trip to Malaysia made him most upset, as despite being at home with my partner, he moped around the house and would shout at the laptop whenever I called via Skype.
The impending arrival of our first child, brought me concern as to how Tiny would react but I had no reason to worry as he adored her as much as he did me and would be often found snuggling with her. As she grew older, they became very close and loved to play together, and she loved to sneak him little treats!
As the years went by, the bond between us became ever closer up until I had the worst phone call of my life so far. I was told that he was not in a good way and ran down the road to the address given to me. On arrival they thought he was no longer with us after being hit by a car, until I spoke to him and he immediately started calling. I carried him home talking to him all the way, and he the same.
Heartbreakingly, my beautiful little boy died in my arms at home on October 4th 2017...World Animal Day.
Not a day goes past when he isn't missed and his antics and beauty recalled with great affection. Members of the family cannot be replaced but they will never be forgotten.
We are so blessed to be able to share our lives with so many beautiful creatures, both in the wild and in our own homes and it is up to us to both protect and look after them.