Tom was born under my bed in the spring of 2006. We had a cold snap that evening and I woke up in the middle of the night to hear the kittens miaowing pitifully. They were chilled, which is really dangerous for kittens.
Foggy with sleep, I stumbled downstairs to organise a hot waterbottle for the babies. Except I couldn’t find one, so I used a microwaveable soft toy instead. I placed the little stuffed bear with its warmed-up tummy under the bed and arranged the kittens around it. Afraid of disturbing the hubby and Jenna (who was about 20 months old at the time), I crawled back in the bed and fell asleep.
I awoke early the next morning to find all the kittens dead, except for one lone fuzzy black one that was curled up underneath Jenna’s stuffed toy – Tom.
Tom is a strange kitty. We sometimes joke and say he is stupid. (I come to his rescue and say that he was the only kitten that was smart enough to stay where it was warm.) I don’t think the boys will ever forget the time Tom saw his reflection in the mirror next to my son’s bunk bed and decided to visit the kitty on the other side. He jumped straight into the mirror and tumbled down all the way to the ground, exiting the room in a mad rush as soon as he found his feet.
We also called him stupid for always being so…well…so calmly tolerant of Jenna’s ‘loving’ attention. We thought that no self-respecting, intelligent cat would put up with what Tom endured in Jenna’s hands. As a two-year old, her ‘lovin’ was often far from gentle. But I don’t think Tom ever realised that life could be any different than what it was. He had no siblings, and Jenna was his company. They were inseperable.
He would always curl up next to her when she watched ‘Little Bear’ downstairs, much like he curls up next to me still, when I watch tv these days. Before he became too big for her to carry around, he allowed her to cart him around everywhere. When he became too heavy and I would have to lift him onto the bed for her, he would immediately settle down and let her put a blanket over him and fuss over him. He even lay patiently while she practised her scissor-handling skills on him one day, emerging from the experience with a lopsided make-over that included chopped-off whiskers, and funky patterns along his tummy and tail.
Tom and Jenna hanging out together:
He still likes to ‘hang out ‘ with Jenna sometimes:
I was sitting here at my computer earlier when my feet connected with something furry and warm underneath the desk. As I sank down on the carpet next to him and stroked his purring body, I felt such gratefulness for this silly, fat, exasperating, darling cat. Thank you Tom, that you loved Jenna so much. Thank you that I can always hug you and picture Jenna hugging you too. Thank you for making my girly’s life, and mine, sweeter.
I posted this before, but it seems appropriate to post what Jenna had to say about Tom. This was recorded by her cousin on the farm in South Africa, so excuse the poor sound quality: record003