And not Tao as in Taoism the ancient Chinese philosophy.
This is Tao. He was named by the RSPCA.
Tao is the cat that followed Lister.
How I came to have Lister is a story in itself so I will summarise:
- I shared a house with a boyfriend and a friend.
- My boyfriend and I split up so we needed a new flat mate.
- A long came new flatmate with her kitten, Lister.
- New flatmate got a new boyfriend
- New boyfriend didn't like cats
- I ended up with Lister
For my more nerdy readers, yes, I am aware that Lister is not the Cat from Red Dwarf. New flatmate was trying to impress new boyfriend with her new found nerdiness and completely messed up a) by having a cat and by b) naming him Lister
Poor Lister, not an auspicious start.
This is Lister
You can tell by the décor that that this was some time ago. Lister arrived in our house on the 5th November 1993 - he was about 9 weeks old.
Lister and I moved out about a year later to my first home with a mortgage and everything. It was lovely in a place called Cherry Orchard in Shrewsbury.
Time for a quick summary.
- About the same time
- new flatmate and her boyfriend split up...
- after a rather protracted and emotional period new flatmate's boyfriend became *ahem* my boyfriend.
Unlike new flatmate, I don't give up on pets just because the new man in my life wasn't that keen - so Lister stayed and won him over. Lister was a bit of a charmer.
New boyfriend wasn't that keen on living in Shropshire and wanted to live in the city. I was fairly disillusioned with the job prospects where I was, so before you knew it, I had brought my second house and was living in Birmingham. Lister came too. House number three.
Now it turns out boyfriend was a bit rubbish** I was heading towards thirty and having a bit of a think about my life.
I should have mentioned at the beginning of all this. When I originally met new flatmate's boyfriend I met new flatmate's boyfriend's, friend. There were a few months of new flatmate trying to set me up with friend, this came to nothing as I was sworn off men at the time. So instead, friend became my friend as well - in fact as time went on we became best friends.
OK, long story short:
- I catch boyfriend with girl on living room floor doing 'stuff'
- This speeds up decision making process
- boyfriend is asked to leave
- My new best friend is lovely throughout and somewhere in the process got his umph.
Ex-boyfriend moves out. Lister and I live alone for about a year.... when I say alone there were actually three other cats there. This was not a good look for a newly single person.
Eventually new best friend becomes boyfriend - he is lovely. He doesn't like Lister either - ho hum.
Lister wins him over with his charm and general need for very little care and attention.
So I sell my house and move to best friend/boyfriends house (house number 4) whilst he sells his house and we buy a house together (house number 5).
Lister is my one constant throughout all of this.
Suffice to say Lister was around when I got married, he was around when I had my first daughter and whilst we tried so hard for our second, in fact, he was around until 5 weeks after the birth of my second child.
He was around to see me finally achieve everything I wanted for my family. I was (am) extremely happy.
Unfortunately, on the night before my 39th birthday Lister made it back to halfway through the cat flap.
His spine was broken and he couldn't use his back legs and he had dragged himself home.
I took him with my baby girl (I was breast feeding) to the emergency vet. They gave him some pain killers and told me he probably wasn't in any real pain and they would see how he went through the night.
He didn't make it and died in his sleep on the 20th October 2006
I was devastated. I never really realised how much I loved him and how much of an integral member of the family he was. He had been with me for thirteen years, through thick and thin.
And that is why Tao (who we have had for nearly 4 years) has a lot to live up to..So far he is doing quite well.
**This is a MASSIVE understatement