Whenever people ask us if we have any pets and we reply with: "we have four cats" - it was always met with the same shocked response of "FOUR!!?" - yes we had four cats, sadly in the early hours of Tuesday morning we said goodbye to DeDe.
DeDe was the fourth cat to join our family (we have actually had five cats in total). Back in 2003, when Lee and myself were renting a flat we took DeDe in and she joined Tyke, Shy and Isis. DeDe had been a gift for Lee's Mum - my mother-in-law is a huge animal lover, since I have known her she has always looked after lots of animals - dogs, cats, rats, birds, fish, squirrels........
She already had four cats of her own and DeDe had started to get bullied by one of her male cats. She asked us if we would mind looking after her so we took her in. Thankfully she fitted in nicely with the other cats and stayed on with us.
She was almost 17 when she passed away. We always said she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic - she would often sit and look at the birds out of the window and make a funny noise, a - p-kek-kek-kek kind of sound that made us laugh. She was very friendly and loved to sleep on the children's pillows and would also tolerate them picking her up.
She had a tiny meow - you could barely hear it and she also loved to lick my husband's arm pits.
She has been looking super healthy recently and I must admit I wasn't expecting her to go first. Shy is almost 18 and Isis is 16. But, one morning DeDe's back legs went and she dragged herself under the bed. We all kept an eye on her but I watched this happen with Tyke back in 2009, I knew she would not be with us for much longer. She perked up again for a week and was managing to get around, she was eating ham and still drinking and getting herself to the litter tray but I could see she was weakening.
We warned the children that at 17, in cat years that is around 84 and that she is getting very frail. There was the conversation of should we get her put to sleep - she seemed happy and peaceful, she was sleeping a lot but still purring. Maybe we were selfish but we wanted her to go in her sleep at home. On Monday she started refusing food and spent the day sleeping - we kept her in bed with us on Monday night and Lee woke me at 3am to tell me she had taken one last deep breath and her heart had stopped beating. She looked peaceful.
We made her a little bed and wrapped her in one of Lee's old tee shirts. Waking the children was hard - Finley was very upset and said that it is not fair and he wished she could live forever. We let them all see her, they said she looked cute, like she was sleeping. They all wrote messages for her and we had a little burial.
It was a very hard, emotional week but we have been reminded that we gave her a life full of love.
We are left with two old ladies and our little 4 year old cat Beau.
Rest in Peace DeDe Mau.