Lucy was my mum's cat. Daughter of Lucky, who came to us as a stray about 20 years ago now, and sister to long-haired Fluff, who is still with us.
She lived downstairs with my mum, and was always a people-cat - she loved laps, and beds (inside them was always considered better than on top!) and couldn't understand why mum couldn't fuss her anymore once she'd had her stroke. She was always with her, and was my last link with mum, who died back in 2007.
Of course, after mum's death, Lucy came upstairs to join the rest of the cats, but she was always slightly shunned because she had lived her own life with mum, was fed down there, and was out hunting a lot, so not "one of the gang." She lost that eye after she and Lucky had opted to be on the same chair at night - one jumped on the other, who retaliated, lashed out, and despite lots of vet treatment, the infection accelerated and she had to have her eye removed. She carried on hunting, but it left her vulnerable, especially towards the end of her life when the boys would take advantage of her blind side to dab her in passing, or worse, as she got very frail.
We knew this year (her 18th) would probably be her last. She drank lots and it was obvious her kidneys weren't too good. She had lost a lot of muscle tone and gone really grey (her mum, Lucky, had a silver "undercoat" beneath the black). She was increasingly fussy about food and used to drive me mad when I had to offer four different breakfasts and she "might" deign to have a mouthful of the last.
About a month ago, when she was on our bed, I heard her yowl in a way which wasn't good. I rushed in to see her, but she seemed OK, though after that she took to often sitting in the litter tray instead of on a chair. On Sunday, when we were out at the Fleamarket all day, I noticed she had banged her head on the table or something when jumping up onto her chair, and there was a graze. She spent Monday afternoon and evening, on my lap, happy as a sandboy, as I crocheted above her head. Whether or not the knock had anything to do with it, suddenly on Tuesday afternoon I found her wandering, rather dazed-looking, around the kitchen. I knew that her time had come. I don't know if she had had a slight stroke or if it was just an inevitable downturn from her age, but I took her on my lap and stroked her gently until it was time for the next surgery at the vet's and we took her on her final journey.
She is buried by the apple trees at the top of the yard, and we have planted a cutting of the Banksia rose over her. I like to think she is reunited with my mum now. . .