Shona – the one on the left of the photo.
An out of hours visit to the vet. Knowing that this time, I wouldn’t be bringing home a dopey cat. Trying to get hold of my son who was working as I knew that this time, it was it. That sick feeling inside that all pet owners get when you come to the end.
One small cat.
One pretty little girl who has been in our lives for 16 years. Who has been one of the gentlest, most loving little sweetheart (unless you were wildlife of course). The one who was the most adventurous of the litter she came from: the first one to jump into the loo.
The runt of the litter.
She who had run round the room when I went to look at them. Run round the room, then jumped up onto my knee, up on my chest, curled up and went to sleep. The one who chose me.
As I type this, her brother who appears lost without her, is wrapping himself round my legs, as he did on that summer’s day 16 years ago. They always slept wrapped up closely together. Chased each other round the house in that way that cats do when they’re imitating small elephants.
She had lost 2 lives – once when a car hit her, once when she somehow had her stomach badly cut. Yet she survived those issues. So delicate and perfect, she only started getting a bit rickety with arthritis recently as cats do. A bit unable to jump as high, bunny-hopping down stairs, but able to terrorise us at the dinner table with her shark impression, especially when it was chicken.
Her speciality was the morning wash. Not of her, but of us. I think it was a (not so) subtle hint to get up and feed her and her brother. She was also a bit of a trollop with any men who came round, who might have been slightly sweaty or wearing strong aftershave. Boy, did she like them. And they liked her – she would enchant them with her size and demeanour. Cute, but sassy.
All of these things wrapped up in one very small, very loving bundle.
The prettiest girl in the world, who is no longer with us. Her brother is patting me now as the tears flow once again.
Please, raise your glass, or cup, or mug or whatever you have to had to my Shona.
My pretty girl. My beloved little one. Who has gone.