READER REPORT:

Pets who rule: The neighbourhood king

DIANE BLAND
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2012
Spike
TOP CAT: Spike was king of the neighbourhood, Diane Bland says.

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Spike was always special. He was the kitten my son collected from the neighbours by mistake, when we'd chosen the other identical kitten, not this stroppy one who hid under the furniture and scratched.

It was too late to return him, so he settled in and was definitely our son Ross' kitten. He slept on his bed and only Ross could roll him around the floor on his back or pull him by his back legs in fun and not get scratched.

Spike grew to be a very large cat with a distinctive spike of hair along his back. Despite our initial misgivings he had a gentle nature and developed a love of fresh fish and warm laps.

As soon as the car pulled in to the driveway Spike would be there waiting for his share. Ross' dad only had to pull the knife through the sharpener and he'd be at his feet waiting for his dinner. In fact he sometimes did it for fun, just to see Spike come running.

Spike was king of the neighbourhood. He grew up with only his sister in the neighbourhood and any interlopers were very quickly dispatched. In time another cat moved in next door and we were asked to consider putting Spike on hormones because he definitely knew he was boss. Eventually the new cat was tolerated and we watched with amusement once when Spike dispatched a newcomer who dared threaten the neighbour's cat.

Spike became unwell when he was about 14 years old and faded before our eyes. It was heartbreaking to see him become a shell of himself and only able to lie on the floor, so we made the decision to have him put to sleep.

We gave him his last salmon meal and cried buckets while we held him until he had gone. We bought him home and put him back in the neighbourhood he ruled.

We'll never forget our gentle giant.


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