Welcome to Harley's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Harley
>> Marlene finds it too difficult to face the events which brought her beloved Harley to his end. One day perhaps. Concentrate on the happy times first... <<

Mount Waverley
We all knew Harley was special. Different from those other cats who paraded around in public. I suppose it was due to his poor circumstances at birth. He was born in the garage of the house next to Marlene, and spent his formative weeks under a pile of timber with his siblings. Peeking in there he was difficult to spot, being black, and hiding his white feet under him. I think his horrible humans only offered him to Marlene because he was the runt of the litter. And such a tiny tom-cat-tom he was too. He came to her covered in fleas, and even though he was not much bigger than the palm of your hand, when bathed for the first (and only) time, he spat and cat screamed with the best of them. Lucky his claws were only tiny little needles, otherwise the chain-mail gloves would have been required.

Moorabbin
By the time Marlene moved to Moorabbin, Harley was quite the little man. He had his own spot on the front window sill, where he would sit "looking for enemies." And because the heating was useless he would sit on his mumma's knee to keep her warm, although he would never admit that to anyone -- it was to keep him warm he would say. And it was a fun place to be for a cat -- the garden was big, and it had lots of places to hide. He loved to leap out on Marlene as she walked past Zacs bungalow out back, and then rush off to get to where she was going before her. It also had its own possums, and the dear little bloke would follow them wherever they went. He even tried wrapping his tail around the clothes-line wire like a possum. We reckon he thought he was one. Of course, no one ever asked the possums what they thought of Harley. Doubtless these were some of his happiest times, and where he expanded and developed his hunting skills, until he was as silent as a whisper and as patient as a stone. He knew he could walk on rice paper and not leave a mark.

Berwick
The move to the country was like being deposited on the moon. Everything was so distant. But Harley had his own horses and cows (in the distance), until greed demanded that this land should be built on too. Oh yes, and he had his own Hares too. He well remembered chasing one very fast, until it stopped and kicked him. He had never been so shocked, and ran back home even faster. Not right that such weak looking balls of fur can be so tough, he thought.

It didn't take long till he found his favourite spot; near the front window heater vent where he knew it would be warm. And if the heater was not on, the sun through the glass would warm his bones. Before the front fence and garden(s) came along, there was not much cover for any creature, so hunting was poor, and being outside was no longer as much fun. His mother got up really early, and didn't get home till late, and the days here were very quiet; all he had to do was chase and annoy Poppet, and between them they would take turns to leave clumps of black or white fur to show the excesses of their day. When the garden was established they both couldn't wait to get out -- he to lie in wait in search of prey -- not always of course, but you never let birds know that you're really just napping under the shrubbery. A few times Marlene ignominiously removed his catch from him. Oh the shame of it. He was just glad no other cat got to see that.

Marlene always worried when either of them were out, and as more houses and people came, the street traffic increased. So did other cats -- and on two occasions he had to share HIS house with cats his mother had rescued. He never knew their names, but later he heard Marlene and John talking about a "Jimmy" and a "Percy," so he decided that they were the interlopers. Fortunately for them, she took them to Johns.

Here some strange force made him pee on the carpet in the front room. He knew it was wrong, and would always bring a stern word from his beloved mother, but the pattern was established. Maybe, he reasoned, it was from the time that horrible other tom came up and sprayed the front window there or ... well he couldn't fathom it, it made his brain hurt, but he knew that he just had to do it. It was like this for years, until one glorious day he found a litter tray right in HIS bedroom, and suddenly he was cured for good. What a delight to step out of bed into your very own litter tray. Bliss!

All along, of course he had other games. He loved to climb up his mumma's leg, or chase her dressing gown, or anything that dangled. One time he felt so boyish as to run up the pergola post. When he got to the top and looked around at how BIG the world was, he rushed straight down. He never did that again.

He always knew when "people" were coming. His food and water would be put into the bedroom and he would be locked in until they had gone. The "children" were especially distasteful - they actually rushed at you and even sometimes wanted to touch you. Uugh! Much better to be under the bed. Put your hand under there at your own risk, young person. Actually, some members of the family never saw Harley from one year to the next. It really WAS a privilege.

He had trained his person right - he knew if he sat on Marlene's chair until she approached, and then leapt onto the arm until she sat down - he would always be assured of a nice lap to keep him warm.

And he loved to be sang too. He didn't quite get the words always, but he knew then that he was REALLY loved, and his heart would fill with love for his mumma.

Like all good stories, there must be a beginning and an end. Harley's health had been good until 2009, when first one eye, than the other were affected by a luxated lens and cataracts. Oh sure, he couldn't see as well as when he was a kitten, but he still found his mumma's bed at night, and his food bowl on the kitchen bench, until she decided for safety to put it back on the floor. And he could still see well enough to find his way through the winter jungle, eh garden. Pandora was still followed and hassled, in his playful way - she wasn't having any of it as usual. Regular trips to his eye Doctor weren't fun for anyone, especially not for Uncle John who was a bit over-exuberant in trying to get eye-drops in his eyes, prior to taking him to the Doctor. He got a well deserved 4-fang munch to the ball of the thumb; Harley knew well how to tell someone to back-off! So the Tetanus injection prevented lockjaw, and Uncle John apologized for his rough treatment.

...and so, tragically, after his surgery, dear little Harley succumbed, and fell asleep, peacefully.

How devastating his loss. How empty his spot by the window...

June 2011
Time heals all wounds, they say, but the loss of Harley is still as sharp today as then, but at least his remains are home in a beautiful wood and brass box. It is still so easy to say "Hi Guy" when seeing it.

It didn't seem that long until Pandoras time grew short, less than a year in fact. Her kidneys, affected by the diabetes needed a good flush at the dreaded Vet's, and Marlene fretted while she was away, wanting her to be home. Her hope was for a peaceful end; after so many times coming back from the brink. What a tough old girl Pin was - "great genes" we said, because, even at 18, she could still fight and recover.

But the fighting took its toll, and her weight dropped away, even as Marlene aided her diet with syringe feeding. On her penultimate day she still took a constitutional "around her traps" in the back yard; a pause here to squint into the sun, a stop there to smell the cat thyme. What a dear old cat - even at the last she enjoyed her time, although heaven forbid if anyone touched her!!

On Queens Birthday holiday, 13 June, she staggered under the load of poison in her system; it was time, and Marlene, although hoping against hope, knew it too. How peaceful was her end at the Vet - cradled in her Mumma's arms.

Her ashes are home now in another beautiful wooden box, to join Harley and her mother who loved them as no other; those two ordinary, but oh so special Moggies. And now our memories will keep them both alive, as long as life lasts.

June 6 2013
John is sad - he had his dearest little Jimmy put to sleep today. Play and frolic you dear bubbies, play on...

--Between the setting of the sun and night there was only the briefest twilight. It were better so.

March 19 2014
Percy's time is getting short. He is now on twice weekly fluids, and twice daily tramadol... But we'll love him till the end.

June 6 2018
5 years and 5 hours after Jimmy, it was Percy's time. On his last day he still took in the sun out the front, and purred on my lap. 18 years 3 months is a good age. Oh, how I miss him...

Photograph Album
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