Friday, April 18th was a very sad day for us; we had to put our lovely cat Penny to sleep.

We originally got Penny a year and a half ago, after we’d been living in our flat for about a year. We needed a totally indoor cat, as we didn’t have any easy outdoor space for her at the time. After contacting a rescue place, there was in fact one cat that fit the bill… Penny. She was deaf and largely blind, and had been rescued from near starvation after being found in someone’s garden. The cat rescue people even drove her a couple hours across London to bring her to us!

Penny, being deaf and blind made for a very unique companion. After a few days she knew the general layout of our flat, and after a few weeks/months, she was an old pro getting around. (Albeit for her, getting around also involved putting her head down and walking until she ran into something, hopefully at an oblique angle, and then get her bearings from there.) Because of this, she always kept her head down, she never looked up. We think it was because her ears would always start to run into a door or wall before she would, and gave her a fraction of a second of time to prepare!

Penny went downhill quite fast in the end. We noticed that she hadn’t been herself about a month ago, and the vet ended up diagnosing her with cancer.

Some of our favourite memories of Penny:

  • Since she was deaf, she couldn’t hear herself meow. WOW, did she have some lungs on her! Penny would get to the top of the stairs in the flat, and just meow at the top of her lungs, letting us know that she was there. (Or at least that’s what we figured.)
  • As I mentioned above, Penny always kept her head down. But she’d also do this when she was just sitting somewhere. She would sit like a normal cat, but she would put her head down so far it would essentially be touching the floor (or couch). We never quite figured that one out, and many times referred to her as a “headless cat”.
  • We had had her for about six months or so when she rapidly lost quite a lot of fur, but only from her neck down to mid-way on her back. Some of it eventually grew back, but mostly it just stayed that way.
  • Penny loved warm things. This included napping directly under the flats radiators, and resting on anything that put out heat. We would find her sitting on power adapters, network routers, and for a while she loved sitting on a laptop! (Photo below.)
  • For quite a while, she didn’t like being up on our bed. I think it was because we have a rather fluffy duvet, and it was easier for her to walk on more solid ground. That said, in the last few months she was alive she did start to like snuggling up to us in bed at night.
  • Speaking of walking, it was interesting to see her walk. She did a lot of “double-tapping,” where she’d put her paw out, tap to make sure the floor was still there (ie, not at the top of the stairs!), and then move it slightly forward & put her weight on it.
  • Feeding Penny could also be interesting; if it wasn’t mounded up, it was very difficult for her to eat. (She couldn’t see it, and had lost most of her teeth.)
  • Challenging bit about a blind cat and litter trays: Penny would get in her little tray to s**t, but end up hanging her bum outside the litter tray. Ugh.
  • Penny also loved being on laps, and would occasionally venture onto shoulders. When I was working from home, she would recognise that I was sitting on a chair, and start climbing up my leg to sit on my lap! For a blind cat, that’s both desire and confidence.
  • Not too uncommon I think, but she loved having her neck scratched. After a lot of her fur fell out, I think it felt really good to her.
  • Did I mention she was tiny? At her peak, she weighed 3kg, or just about 6lbs. At the end, she was down to just 1.5kg.
  • We felt really bad when it happened (but always laughed) when she thought she knew where she was going and just ran straight into a door, table leg, doorframe, or wall. It was a literal “BONK!” sound.
  • The only time we saw her with her head up and craning her neck was one day when we were curious how she would find being outside. We took her out to the sidewalk in front of our flat, and just watched her. She stood up very straight, craned her neck, and VERY slowly walked around. After a bit we brought her back inside, and she seemed much happier to be there.
  • She owned our alpaca throw. As soon as Annie brought it home from hush, Penny really took to it. It was her little luxury item. (We didn’t have to pay full price, luckily!)

Those are some of our favourite memories of Penny. She was a great little cat, and we were happy we could provide a home for her for so long.

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