Let me tell you about my beautiful soldier Jake.
We got him and his brother Calvin on the 12th September 2002, they were just two months old. They were kept in over-crowded and dirty cages and Jake was the obvious runt of the litter; food wasn’t divided equally, a bowl was put down and the kittens would all fight for it and because Jake was so small he very rarely got any food. He was dirty and so, so skinny and the main reason we took him home with us is because we were worried that if we didn’t he might die.
Just two days later the two cats were playing with a cardboard box in the kitchen, Jake copied his brother and jumped out of the box onto the hard tiled floor and because he was so frail he broke his leg. The first vet we went to told us to just leave him (!) and because he was still young the bone would fuse together itself, we left him overnight and he must have been in so much pain but the next morning we went to another vet who told us he would need to have it pinned. We spent almost £1000 to have his leg pinned and he had to have the painful surgery at just two months old and then spend weeks in a little cage as he was unable to do anything. Every day my mum would hold him with his legs wrapped in a blanket and i would hold Calvin so that the two could play and Jake could have a bit of fun but generally he was in pain and really sad; he would purr constantly because as well as for happiness, cats purr to comfort themselves so he was clearly very distressed. I still feel awful that he spent so much of his kitten-hood in a tiny cage and i just wish so much that i hadn’t had that cardboard box in the kitchen because then he wouldn’t have hurt himself. Eventually Jake’s leg healed and he was able to play as normal but it was still really stiff and even now, ten years later, his leg is crooked and stiff
and when it is too cold it hurts him and he has to hoist his leg up and walk three-legged. He walks wonky because of it and i feel bad that because he was so young when it happened he doesn’t know what life is like without a badly damaged leg. A few years ago he was bitten by a fox, so badly that there was a hole that went straight through his leg - you could see through to the other side it was so big. But he didn’t make a fuss, almost like he was used to pain.
A bit after that we had to rush him to the vets because he was suffocating; his mouth was turning blue. They kept him in an oxygen tent over night and it turned out he had a really long blade of grass clogging up his wind pipe.
Also because Jake was the runt and never got food, for about a year he would eat his dinner really, really quickly because he was obviously scared somebody else would come and take it and as a result he would always be sick. Because of this his stomach is sensitive and he is always sick.
Despite all his hardship he is one of the most loving and affectionate cats that i have ever known; he doesn’t let anybody else near him - not even my mum - but with me he will snuggle up and purr and rub against my face and play with my hair and he usually sits right here next to me every night. Sometimes his leg still hurts him and he is almost always hungry because he throws up his food and he is scared of his own shadow but he is my little soldier and i am so proud of him and how brave he has always been. He may have cost us thousands of pounds, i may have to clear up sick almost every day and sometimes he may be too over the top with his affection when i am trying to work but i love him so much and wouldn’t change him for the World. Jake and Calvin are my babies, i don’t know what i would do without them <3