Freya cat

Freya was my joy. She always made me smile, no matter how gloomy the day. My connection to her was one of the strong threads that weave me into the Web of Life. And now she is no more. Her kidneys took a sudden turn for the worse and she died a week ago. We laid her to rest under the apple tree in the garden.

About twelve years ago, when Freya was a little kitten, she was climbing that tree, exploring one of its thinner branches. We were having a barbecue at the time, and someone commented: “That cat’s going to fall out of that tree.” Someone else said: “Nah, cats don’t fall out of trees.” Just at that very moment, with great comic timing, we heard a loud rustle and a thump, as Freya fell out of the apple tree. Landed on four feet, of course, but she must have been a little shocked.

Perhaps that’s the reason that she always looked at the world with an expression of slightly shocked surprise. And that is just one of the reasons why I love Freya, and always, always will. That strong connection is still there, even if she isn’t with us any more.

Some more reasons for loving Freya:

Those ever-surprised eyes were set in black fur, but crowned with white eyebrow hairs. This gave her a quite unique look.

She had four white socks. I loved her socks. There were two tiny ones on her front feet, and two longer ones, of different lengths, on her back legs.

She had the most amazingly soft, warm, glorious white tummy fur.

She had amazing fur anyway. It was lush and very nice to stroke. Which we did. Lots.

Freya’s speciality was jumping up onto the newel post at the top of the stairs. She would get up there especially in the evenings, as we were getting ready for bed, so that she was in prime position to get petted. And we of course obliged. She’d stay up there till we were both in bed and quiet. Then we’d hear a little thump and a ‘proot’-sound as she jumped off.

After Freya had her accident last year and tore three ligaments in her knee, we thought she’d never jump up on the newel post again. But she did. She failed to get up the first couple of times, but soon learned how to do it with a leg that obviously didn’t quite work right. She really worried us at first, because we were sure she’d fall off and aggravate her injury. But she never did. She seemed to be making up for lost time and got up there more often than before the accident. And we, of course, couldn’t possibly refuse to give her lots of strokes and scratches of the ear. Freya kept jumping up there until the last week or so of her life.

The bathroom was another of her favourite places. In the mornings, she would get in there with me and watch me brush my teeth and get the shower ready. We’d have a human-and-cat conversation until I turned the shower on. She never liked that very much and always walked out. And would always walk back in again when I turned the shower off. In the evenings, she’d be in the bathroom with Alex. She’d stand on her hind legs and nuzzle his hand as he brushed his teeth.

Something that I believe was unique to Freya was her proclivity to hunt for moss and tufts of grass. She tried catching brids, and did bring in the very occasional mouse, but she wasn’t very good at it. I know: I watched her a few times. But her preferred present for us was moss. She’d go and scratch it off the garage roof or anywhere she could find it and then bring it home. She’d miauw proudly, and lie down next to it as if it was great hunting prey. We decided that she was lining the nest, to make sure we wouldn’t go away too often.

She would have loved to have caught a pigeon one day. When the elder berries ripen in the garden, pigeons come and feast on them. Freya would keep a sharp eye on them. Occasionally, she’d get into the elder tree and try to reach the nearest pigeon. She didn’t stand a chance, of course. The pigeons could see her coming a mile off. But she tried. Pigeon catching was one of her ambitions in life.

She was ace at catching flies though. She’d get them every time. And then she’d eat them. That’s a job we’ll have to do ourselves now. Catching flies, that is. Not eating them.

How strange that this particular cat would die because she lost her appetite (a symptom of serious kiney disease). For Freya, food meant love. Nothing made her happier than being fed. She would always stand between the kitchen and the dining room, where her food bowl was, hoping to get some nibbles. It often sufficed to go and stir her dry cat food with your finger for her to look at you very gratefully and start eating.

She also loved paper. For sitting on and for playing with. If there was a newspaper on the floor, she’d be sure to go and sit on it. And she loved sitting on top of my tarot cards when I was doing readings. When you dragged some paper along the floor, you could see her eyes go all keen and she would just have to catch it, put her claws in it, shred it. But she also loved hiding under it. When you made a little tent out of a few sheets of newspaper, she would often just stay there for a bit. One set of claws would come out to shred the other bit of paper that you dragged along in front of her tent. She loved that game, and we didn’t play it with her anywhere near enough.

In the summer she’d play ‘catch the iris leaf’ with me in the garden. I’d just pluck out one of those long, fibrous leaves and drag it through the grass. You could make Freya drunk by making her chase it round and round and round. A dizzy cat is a funny thing.

Freya was my desk friend. I’ve only called her that in the last few months, because we saw some animal shaped cushions in a shop somewhere that were called ‘desk friends’, obviously meant to be put on one’s desk. We decided that we already had one of those – two in fact. Freya loved to sit very close to me, between me and the keyboard, and gently purr as I worked. I really miss that.

Freya recognised the sound of our old car, and sometimes she would come out to greet us when we came home late. But she much preferred greeting us at the front door as we came in. She would walk out of the front door, go round the house, and come back in through the cat flap in the back door 30 seconds later. Why? I have no idea. Alex thinks it’s because she just liked going out through the door. To me, this will always be a Freya mystery.

She died a week ago and I still can’t quite believe that she will never do any of those things again. I really miss her. But she will always be my cat, and I will always love her for who she was. She will always be a part of us, and a part of our garden, where she sleeps under the apple tree.

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  1. Gobion said,

    12 June, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

    That is a lovely tribute to Freya :)

    gobion xx

  2. Another Freya! said,

    28 August, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    Hi there, WHat a lovely tribute to a lovely cat. With a lovely name too! Have you given a home to a new cat since she went?

  3. Liz Cruse said,

    6 October, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    Just read this Hilde. As Sam weaves his way ever more deeply into my affections I really empathise. I still remember my Kitty as well. x

  4. Lyndsey said,

    6 October, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

    Just read this as well – same markings as our Bobby – a lovely evoking of a beloved cat..beautiful x

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