My Beautiful Cat Indiana & My Very Best Friend
You Will Be Remembered Always
I was driving home from work one day, when I kept getting a message in my head saying “go to the RSPCA your cat is waiting for you”. Of course I ignored this message! After all I did not want a cat, especially when I lived beside a wetlands and bird sanctuary. However, the message persisted! “Go to the RSPCA your cat is waiting for you”. “But I don’t want a cat!” I responded! The response was “you have to turn around now and go to the RSPCA, as your cat is waiting there for you”. Then I thought “OK it is the end of August, and it is not even Kitten season, so they won’t have much anyway”. So I turned around and drove to the RSPCA. When I got there they told me they only had three cats.
Good I thought, there is not much choice so there won’t be one I would want anyway. After all, my last cat was a pedigree Persian, so I’m not much for moggies! So I went and had a look at the cats. There was a black and white moggie! No not for me. Then there was a Tabby. Once again that one was not for me. And then, the last cat was this beautiful white cat, with a ting of apricot in his coat. He looked up at me and said “What took you so long?” That was it. He had chosen me!
The staff at the RSPCA said he was deaf, however, I knew that he was not deaf as he was asleep when I first walked towards him and he woke up when he heard me approaching. He was four years old, had one blue eye and one green eye. He was found wander the streets in Balwyn as a stray – perhaps abandoned. I signed the adoption papers, arranged for him to have his little operation, and went back to collect him on Saturday.
After Indiana settled into his new home for one week, he then asked to go outside. So when I was out in the garden, he came outside with me to explore the back yard. Once he was used to being outside, I left the laundry window open for him so he was able to go come and go as he wished, and get to his food and water. The first night after he learnt to use the laundry window to go outside, I closed it when he had his dinner so that he was not able to go out at night.
Would you believe, he got up on the windowsill, push the latch down, slid the window across and out he went! After this, I had to place a block of wood in the window ledge to stop him from opening it, and then for a couple of evenings he would try to open the window without success. He was also able to open most of the doors in the house when he wanted to.
One evening, just before I was to give him his dinner; he jump up onto my chair at the dining room table, and looked at me licking his lips, telling me he wanted to be fed. He did this on many occasions and it really was quite funny to watch. He really was a very intelligent cat! One thing he really loved was food. He had a hearty appetite and always enjoyed every morsel.
As he was so playful and loved to kick his back bunny paws at lots of things. His favourite game he loved to play was the “under blanket game” where he would chase my feet beneath a wool blanket, and then when he got hold of them he would kick them like a rabbit! His nickname quickly became “Bunny”! And he certainly seemed to live up to this name most of his life, as he was always very playful and loved to kick his back bunny paws when playing.
He also loved the semi-open plan house and loved to play a game of chasey going around and around and around, one-way and then the other, so that I wasn’t able to catch him. He was great entertainment the way he would play with anything from the desk leg to his toys. He would run up and down the passageway chasing imaginary fairies and all sorts of things. He would have me in stitches of laughter almost every day.
Indiana was very frighted by the rustling of plastic bags and movement of paper, and if a strange man came to the house he would be out the door and over to the wetlands as fast as he could go. Perhaps a man had tried to put him into a bag to frighten him like this? As I was studying Kinesiology at the time, a fellow student offered to volunteer as a surrogate for Indiana, so that we were able to find out why he was so frightened.
The emotions that showed for him was feeling “lost”, “abandoned”, “frightened” and “unloved”. It seemed that his previous family had moved and left him behind. How could someone leave such an adorable, intelligent cat behind and abandon him? After his Kinesiology session, he became much more settled, not so scratchy and much less bitey. In my earlier days with Indiana, he liked to be in control and always wanted to get his own way. He would not hesitate to scratch nor bite me. Now, looking back on some of the first photos I took of him, he did have a bit of a scowl on his face!
When I was at work during the day, Indiana loved company and would go and sleep in the neighbours front garden (who was in bed sleeping from being on night shift), or he would climb into the pen with the chooks and sit in there with them during the day. Friends use to think that this was a very strange that the cat would get into the chook pen to keep company with the chooks, but he certainly liked the company of his “sisters” Henrietta and Harriet back then.
I studied Kinesiology full-time for two years, which required me to attend Practice nights one Monday evening per month. I had such a laugh one Monday evening when got home late. He had come in through the laundry window looking for his dinner and had decided to “feed himself”. I kept his dry food on a shelf in the linen cupboard, which was in the laundry, and I must have left slightly ajar. He had got onto the shelf, pushed the dry food onto the floor, and as it was in plastic had scratched down the side of the bag and opened it, and had his dinner. When I found this, I laughed so much that I was not able to stop laughing for some time afterwards. I did not have the heart to tell him off, as I did not blame him for not wanting to wait so long to get his dinner!
At one time, I was going to sell my house, and Indiana did not like this one bit as he did not want to move. It was very funny the way he would sit in the middle of the driveway when the Real Estate agent arrived, so that they were not able to park there. And when they showed people through the house, he would only claw at the trouser legs of the Real Estate agents, but not at the legs of the people coming to view the house. Even when it was Real Estate agents, he had never seen before, he would claw at their legs, but once again, not the people they were taking through the house. How did he know?
I went overseas for 12 months after I graduated working and travelling. For this time, Indiana chose to stay with some friends of mine who lived in Echuca. I had had Indiana then for around three to four years, and we were the best of friends. Apparently after I left, he spent four or five months “pining” for me and went into hibernation in the wardrobe for that period, before he finally come out and interacted with the family. I had no idea that he would miss me so much.
Over the following years, I was teaching Kinesiology overseas for some time each year, so Indiana usually ended up staying with friends or I got a house minder in to take care of him.
One year I was away for five months and friends at Apollo Bay took him. He had already been to their place on weekends, so he was used to them and the house. However, once again he spent some time hibernating in a wardrobe after I left. Although he must have enjoyed his time there, especially the paddocks at the back where he was able to watch the horses and chase the rabbits. This time when I brought him home after 5 months away, he was not talking to me, and made it quite clear he was not happy about me going away for such a long time. It took him a month or more, before he was OK to have cuddles with me again and for me to pick him up for a hug, without him moving his head as far away from me as possible.
Indiana often used to come with me when I went to stay with friends in the country on weekends. I remember one weekend; I had gone out for afternoon tea and left Indiana in the house with the friends I where I was staying. Apparently he got quite distraught, and must have thought I was leaving him somewhere and was going overseas again. I had no idea that he would get so upset.
After this occurred, I found that it was best to leave him at home with house minders as he was happier there, although one year I did leave him at a Cattery for 3 months and he seemed to enjoy that. Later on, after he got used to a male friend of mine, he used to go and stay with him while I was away. In recent years, I have not gone away for more than a few weeks at a time and he was completely fine staying at the same place with the same friend each time I was away.
In 2007, we moved from Melbourne to country Victoria on 40 acres in the forest Indiana found this a little strange at first, especially with new noises he that hadn’t heard before, and the Kangaroos and Wallabies, although didn’t seem to mind each other at all. He certainly enjoyed living in the forest, loved to watch the Kangaroos having breakfast on the front lawn and very much enjoyed watching the birds from the window. And he certainly enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.
He was still as entertaining and playful as ever. He would go outside, and get in a playful mood and run up the trees and jump in the air, chasing those imaginary fairies once more (or perhaps they weren’t even imaginary?). He loved to sit on the sofa out the front of the cottage, and doze, or just watch the world go by. And whenever I was outside garden or watering, he would be there to help.
One of the funniest things he liked to do was sit on a chair in the Kitchen beside my preparation table when I was cooking and watch what I was doing. It wasn’t until Mum made the comment “that cat likes cooking lessons” that I realised that was exactly it. He enjoyed cooking lessons, and he would sit and watch things cooking through the glass saucepans on the slow combustion wood stove. He was very curious and always wanted to know what I was doing, no matter what it was.
One time I was packing to go for a weekend in Melbourne. I had my case nearly packed, when he climbed into it and sat on top. Was this his polite way of asking if he would be able to come too?
In the winter months he would sleep in the wardrobe during the day, and I would always know where he was as I could hear him “snoring”. Whenever I looked in to ask if it was he who was snoring, he would look up at me as if to say “no that wasn’t me snoring – it was the wardrobe”! He mostly slept with me at night on the end of my bed beside my feet, and occasionally he would wake me with his snoring, although a quick nudge with a foot would soon stop that!
People say cats love you based on the “condition” that you feed them. Well Indiana’s love was certainly “unconditional”. He often preferred a cuddle first, even when his food was in his bowl, and he would often wait until I was sitting down eating my meal before eating his. Once he had eaten, he would then jump on my lap, and then curl up and go to sleep. He was fantastic at keeping me warm on cold winter evenings.
Indiana was totally non-judgemental, he was always forgiving even when he had been told off, and as constantly loving. As humans, we often are too busy to notice or to receive the gifts our pets and animals bestow on us. Acknowledge them for the huge contribution they are to our lives. Indiana was such great company and such a wonderful companion. He constantly gave and gave and gave, not expecting anything in return. When I spent time with him giving him cuddles and head scratches, he would look me in the eyes with such gentleness and tenderness and so lovingly. What gifts they bestow us! What contributions they are to our lives?
Indiana was a fabulous contribution to my life and a fantastic companion. He lived until just after his eighteenth birthday and was always very giving and very loving. How much I miss the contribution he was to my life. He has been my best friend and a great companion for 14 years. Who would have thought that the beautiful cat I got from the RSPCA, would have taught me how to be loving; how to love unconditionally; and how to be a best friend. He taught me how do to yoga, how to stretch, how to chill out and how to relax, as cats do.
Indiana you will be missed by many and you will be remembered for a long time to come. My life is not the same without you by my side, without you as my best friend. My life has changed forever because of you; you are such a beautiful, loving, caring soul. May all your future lives be as loving and as prosperous, and even better than the life you have shared here with us.
You touched the lives of many of our friends too. Everyone remembers you as such a “divine” cat, such a “cool” cat, such a “special” cat, and a cat that changed the lives of everyone you met. We have friends who have cats now because of you, and I remember some of our friends said they “hated cats” – and now they have one. You Indiana turned them around and changed their lives forever too!
Your best friend Karen