Friday, 13 April 2012
In memory of Lucky, who died last night, aged about 19 or so. She came into our lives about 1996 or 7, though we had seen her about the area for a couple of years before that, living rough. She even brought us a kitten which she left in our shed, but it was probably found by a scavenger as it disappeared after a few days of us putting food down for it. We would see her in the woods below the house, a little long haired black cat with half a tail, surviving by catching mice, voles, rabbits and even squirrels (she was fast!)
Then she turned up one winter (December is the usual month for desperate cats to seek out habitation and help) in the top of the yard, by the gooseberry bushes, half-starved. I put food out for her and she was very grateful. I can remember telling her that there was a price attached, she had to let me stroke her. I can remember she was not at all impressed! Then after a couple of weeks she suddenly pushed her little head up into my hand and began to purr. I knew she was "my" cat then. Within a month she was tame and a house cat, and in the spring presented us with three kittens. We rehomed one, and kept two (Lucy and Fluff) who are now 14 or 15. We have all cats neutered, so there were no more kittens born here after that (Banshee is another story).
Lucky was always a feisty little thing and not averse to swiping your leg if you weren't quick enough with the grub! Until recent years she always kept up the hunting too. She always had a taste for wild food. Even last week, when Jarvis brought home a dead baby rabbit, she found the body (I'd put it outside) and began to eat it and when I told her that her teeth would give way, and tried to take it off her, she growled like anything and managed to get her head high enough (she was always short in the leg department) to drag it off to a flower bed, where she had a little feast until deciding that perhaps even baby rabbit was a bit difficult for geriatric cats.
This week she stopped eating. She had been having lots of little meal for the last year or so. She got progressively more frail and then refused her heart pills - the same pills she always queued up for because they were put in butter, and she loved butter. She had some pleasant afternoons asleep in the sunshine in the garden and asked to sleep on the sofa in the living room at night. We knew she was failing, yesterday, but as it was my birthday outing, and T was going home today, we left D in charge and decided that we would take her to the vet today to have her pts though I hoped she would just go to sleep in the sunshine and never wake up. When we got back last night she was nowhere to be seen, so I followed my gut feeling and went straight to her, and found her cwtched up in a corner of one of Next Door's empty cow pens. She was as light as a feather, and her breathing laboured. She spent her last evening next to me on the sofa, being stroked occasionally so, so gently, and we kissed her good night one last time and told her how much we loved her. I prayed that she would die in the night, and she did. She lived life by her own terms, always.
Now she is buried beside Tippy and Gypsy. We have lost 3 cats in 4 months, and that has been hard.
Night-night, little black cat without a miaow . . . We'll never forget you.