It was just weeks before we were due to visit sunny Yorkshire that he was still gathering mice for the new Kittens my dad had taken in, but he had also been getting a bit bigger and a bit slower - as all cats seem to do when they get a bit older - so it wasn't totally a shock when he did go missing. We went searching for him when we were over, checking up at the house he'd spent a week at before when he was being fed by two families simultaneously - the sneaky beast - but sadly we couldn't find him. We put up posters in local shops but kind of expected the worst, so it wasn't a big shock when his remains eventually showed up under a dividing bush between two houses across the road. The neighbour found his remains by the power of smell as you can imagine. Apparently the spot was next to one of his sun bathing areas and so by all accounts he likely curled up in a ball and never woke up, nothing seemed untoward at least, so it seems like natural causes. The best way out we can all hope for really, so that was a comfort.
That's the morbid bit over, so why was Kelly the Cat so awesome?
Well, first of all, he started life under the guise of a girl. We don't go rummaging around down there on our animals and we'd been told he was a she. I guess it's a tricky thing to know when the said feline has long fur. It wasn't long before a vet found the mistake, it's hard to be spay a cat that has no ovaries. Oops.
Thankfully, the name Kelly (as Kelly of the Stereophonics will attest) can be used for either gender without much bother so it was kept as initially intended - named after Leeds United legend and Republic of Ireland international footballer - Gary Kelly.
As far as cats go he wasn't one with a huge attention span, he was quite the live wire. We got him during my first year at high school and many a time I would be walking home from school and he'd meet me at the top of the road and walk all the way along side me back to the house, getting as far off the ground as he could whilst doing so by tight rope walking on walls, fences and gates, eager for some food and attention.
He tortured a fair few smaller creatures in his time, especially mice, but he also took on bigger competition. At least one time that we know of (which was witnessed) he had a face off for territory in the back garden with a fox twice his size. and won. Thankfully both animals survived the encounter though Kelly the Cat did come out of it with a cut or two. Similar cuts appeared once or twice over the years so he probably had other run ins with local wildlife too but we'll never really know.
Unlike the local wildlife though, his known run ins with humans was the exact opposite, well except my cousins leg but to be fair Kelly was given good reason to retaliate after being nudged out of the way so often with a foot. At home he always seemed strangely responsive to emotion, if you were feeling down he'd be over to sit on your lap and offer a purr. Strangely when my dad was going around the neighbours and the local area, the people he spoke to all knew who Kelly was, enjoyed him visiting their gardens and knew where his favourite spots were for prowling and lazing around.
Normally you find some people who despise cats in their garden but it seems either my dad lives near to people who are all just uber polite or who really liked having 'The Old Man' around since he seemed to use his own back yard as his main toilet spot, as it should be really.
And as he had been fertilising the garden for years, so it is he'll be fertilising the garden for even more because his burial was by the cherry tree in the garden.
An awesome cat and my best bud for many a year. I'll remember Kels as a crazy but kind nutter butter of a domestic tiger, he really was one of the family.
We're just hoping since they got to spend some time together that a little of Kelly rubbed off on the latest additions to my dads house, Nelix and Kes:
Like their Star Trek namesakes, Nelix found himself branching out when he got stuck in the tree on one of his first adventures out and Kes has already tried flying the nest.
Kes even managed to leave the house one night and the only way out was a very partially opened 2nd story window. Thankfully both survived and will hopefully grow up to become awesome cats like Kelly.