I’m writing this on my phone as there is a cat on my lap. Her name is Mango, she’s 7 years old, and she spends most of her time on my lap these days.
Mango is dying, and I think she knows. She has renal lymphoma (cancer of the kidneys), and likely has 2 - 3 months left. Chemotherapy was an option, but not a very good one. The specialist said it might extend her life by a few months. We decided it wasn’t worth the additional stress it would put on Mango. So she’s taking steroids that will give her the best quality of life.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this, or if I’ll ever publish it. Partly I just want to gather my thoughts, and partly I want the world to know about Mango, and what a perfect companion she’s been.
She’ll be survived by her brother, Monkey. An equally awesome cat, I really fear for how he’ll deal with losing his sister.
We adopted them as 8 week old kittens, long before we had any human children. To this day my wife and I think of the cats as our children - siblings to our human kids.
Mango and Monkey when we first adopted them
Mango, like her brother, is incredibly affectionate. As many cats are, contrary to the stereotype. I adore them both, but have always had more of a connection with Mango, just as my wife has more of a connection with Monkey. They seemed to choose their favourite human, settling on our respective laps the second day we had them.
A favourite memory of mine is when I had my first covid vaccination it left me feeling pretty rough. I spent most of the afternoon dozing on the sofa. Mango curled up next to my stomach and stayed with me for hours.
Mango keeping me company while I sleep post vaccination
She and monkey could tell when my wife was pregnant, taking it in turns to sleep on or near her stomach.
Mango is a beautiful fawny ginger colour, unusual for a female. She has little tufts on her ears, and leopard spots on her belly, which she will gladly let me rub for hours on end. She also loves chin tickles and head scritches, closing her eyes and lifting her head for latter as if to try and get more. She purrs hard and often, it has a sort of croaky quality to it.
Mango enjoying head scritches (and distracting me from work)
She has character, and loves to eat, and yells at us incessantly while we prepare her food, especially if it’s wet food.
She likes to climb, and I can always tell when she’s bitten off more then she can chew, and is unsure of how to descend from the lofty height she’s attained, as she does what I call the “tonguey meow”. It has a specific sound to it, but more distinctive is the way she puts her tongue between her bottom canine teeth. It’s adorable. I’ve just realised I don’t think I have a photo or video of this, and now I probably never will.
She frequently sleeps in our bed with us. She can take up a huge amount of space for a small animal, but it’s worth it for the relaxing sound of her purring, as well as the additional heat in winter.
I always thought our cats would live long lives, seven years isn’t enough. I love her company, and wish I could have seven more years of it. My youngest human child probably won’t even remember Mango existed, but she’ll definitely hear a lot about Mango when she’s old enough to understand.
She’s always spent a lot of time on my lap, I regularly feel her kicking and twitching as she dreams. I’ve heard pets likely dream about their humans, I hope she has sweet dreams.
One of last pictures I have of her
I deliberately didn’t really proof-read or edit this post. With the exception of adding pictures and this little foot note, it is exactly as I wrote it - on my phone’s notes app with Mango sleeping on my lap.
Mango passed on Monday 7th November, 2022. I miss her everyday. Her brother Monkey predictably had a period of mourning. He still has days when he seems a bit lost, however he’s doing much better now.
Adopting an animal is a strange thing - we love them like children even though we know in all likelihood we’ll out live them. Yet I wouldn’t trade the time I had with Mango for anything.