Intro: This is wonderful story from a visitor. It is not often I receive such a complete, moving and intense story about the life of a cat written by a visitor. My thanks to Bill.
Damiel came to live with me on January the 10th 2000 from the local SPCA. He was taken there because he had reacted badly to the former owner's newborn baby. He was so scared and completely messed up. He had no chance at being adopted because he was so scared of the shelter he would bite anyone who approached him.
When I was at the shelter I passed by the cage he was in without looking in. I felt a tap on my shoulder but could not figure out where it came from.
I finally turned around to find Damiel staring me in the eye mouth wide open and meowing. I could see the terror in his eyes and that he was very scared but he reached out to me.
I was struck by his beauty from the instant I saw him. He was so white and there is nothing as white as him.
He came home with us.
The shelter was very surprised with the fact we were adopting him. I read through his file and was shocked with the description from his former owners. They did not know how old he was nor did they really explain where he had come from in the first place.
I remember the words on the adoption papers "Pure Bred Turkish Angora", on the page. He was a very very skinny looking cat. I thought he was just malnourished.
On the ride home I could already tell he was going to be a challenge. The friendly pokes from the cage were now replaced with bites and snarls.
That night on his arrival home he began to sneeze and would not eat. He also did not want to be petted or touched by anyone. The slightest move towards him would result in a bite or a swat.
This cat had been through hell and it showed.
In the following days I spent hours trying to get him to eat. He was so sick from the flu and congested he could not breathe through his nose and I would take him into the shower and turn on all the faucets with hot water to help him to breath!
It was a struggle for several says and got so skinny at one point he was just over five pounds. We were told he was seven years old but they did not really know.
All I knew was that I had a absolutely beautiful looking white Turkish something or other with a severe flu that did not want to be handled by anybody!
Time passed and Damiel recovered from his flu. It took many months for me to be allowed to touch him. I have no idea what his former owners had done to him but it had not been good from the looks of things.
He gained a bit of weight and it was obvious to me this cat would be happier if he would have been the only cat in the house.
Over these months he would come and sit by me or lay on the top of the couch behind my head. The tapping of me to say hello became more regular and after some time I was allowed to pet him.
Petting slowing turned into snuggling and playing but still there was something a little wild in him that would occasionally trigger the urge in him to give me a nasty chomp but nothing so hard to make me bleed.
A lot of people would have not been able to spend the time with an animal who was so messed up but I am glad that I did.
As time went by Damiel was always at my side. I recently read somewhere that the average person spends fifteen minutes a day with there cats.
Damiel pretty much was at my side day after day for hours at a time. You shouldn't have to worry about whether or not your cat is getting enough attention with an Angora as they come and make you pet them if you like it or not.
He liked to talk a lot, sometimes beeping and chirping purring like crazy and the occasional dust up with one of the other cats would result in a loud, loud, loud scream that was just the worst possible sound you could imagine from a cat.
Damiel was such a amazingly agile cat; able to literally run circles around any of the other cats in the house and leaping like some kind of martial arts wizard from wherever and what ever he could.
I would say if Damiel is any indication of what Turkish Angoras were originally, they must have been given some kind of special ingredient when it comes to how clever they are.
They love to hide in boxes and a open suitcase is a invitation for them to hop in and hide out. Where ever I was, Damiel would want to be by me.
Several years into our friendship Damiel had pretty much decided I was allowed to pet him whenever I wanted and that I was worthy of his undying love and affection.
Everyone who would come to visit would get the warning that he was really picky with who was allowed to pet him. Everyone who saw him thought he was stunningly beautiful and I think that Damiel really reminded people that despite the fact there is a lot of terrible things in this world, there is still some really beautiful things put here for us to experience.
I know he always made me feel better when I did not feel my best and that he could make me laugh with his crazy behaviour. The fancy-prancy-dance they do when they come marching in to see you. the way they can sprint down the hall too fast for your eyes to follow. There is something about the way an Angora looks you in the eye that says, "Hey I can see you and I know you can see me too."
Over the years that I had him I spent countless days with him in the music studio I have at home. He was curious about anything and everything he could see. I would sometimes wonder, don't you have anything better to do but it was obvious for him there was no place he would rather be.
Some days I would need to be apart from him and he would knock on the door relentlessly until I would finally cave and let him into the music room.
One day we tried to walk Damiel on a leash and to our shock he accepted this as if it was normal!
Outside he was paraded about and he loved being out there for all to see. All the children in the neighbourhood were in awe of him.
During Christmas time he would even allow us to put a red sweater on him and he became "Santa Kitty". He loved that so much.
He was so smart that when we put on his sweater he would head to the door knowing he was going to get to go outside. The site of the leash in our hands would see him heading towards the door knowing he was going to be out and about strutting about.
Well three months or so damiel began to limp a little and nothing at first but slowy it got worse over a week or so. When we went to the vet the word fibrosarcoma was mentioned and we didn't know how old he was so the vet did not have much hope.
He was given some medication and we hoped for the best but when the mass on his shoulder began to appear it was obvious that my beautiful Damiel was in trouble.
I spent the last three months of his life at his side comforting him and making sure he still had as good a quality of life as he possibly could.
He became weaker and his leg became lame. He could still walk and I could see he still wanted to be in this world.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the last ten years of my life that I shared with this amazing friend, thinking of the good times and the bad times.
The bad times were very bad for me. During the summer of 2006 my mother had committed suicide and I had fallen into a deep depression. Damiel was constantly at my side and he always gave me a reason to keep moving forward; whether it was his pokes for me to pet him or his flat out demands to be played with by meowing in my ear.
He had no longer any sign of his old self when he was a scared abused cat. He was so affectionate and so loyal. I mean most people cannot understand how a cat can be a real friend but during this time he most certainly was.
There were many good days in the final months with him. I could tell he lived for me to be around him and his eyes would light up when I would come into the room or when I called his name.
The vet still did not know what was his illness but I decided that seeing as how Damiel could very well have been twenty for all I knew, that I would do my best to keep him happy as long as i could.
He was so brave. Eventually he stopped eating and I knew it would not be long.
I force fed him but he got to the point where he could no longer make it to the litter box.
I could not let him live like this. He was only living for me at this point; I could tell. I could tell that I made him very happy and that he loved to be around me right up to the end.
On the morning of December the 12th 2009 I decided after his good morning chirp and weak purr greeting that it would not be right for me to put him through anymore.
Yesterday, I let him go to sleep with me at his side peacefully for the last time.
He was such a amazing cat. I do not think I am ready to find a new cat yet, but I do know I would not want to live this life without knowing another of these amazingly beautiful, loyal graceful and intelligent beings.
If you are given the chance to know a Turkish Angora you should take it.
I know Damiel changed the way I think about pets and animals in general. I will miss him everyday.