I knew something was off, when after the usual Wednesday morning rush to get everyone dressed, fed and out of the door, I turned around and realised that the house was far too quiet. I thought back and couldn’t remember you coming for a cuddle the whole night, or tumbling down the stairs when I came down in the morning. I phoned Mark and asked him whether he’d seen you that morning, he said he hadn’t but that he’d played with you when he went to bed, and that you’d probably just wandered away and would come home later.
A couple of hours later, I was walking to fetch Una and Nestor from school. The phone rang. You won’t be coming home. Ever again.
You were our baby, the feline baby of the family. Silly, loud, messy, happy. You joined our family when you were four months old. It all happened quite quickly, you needed a new home and we wanted a playmate for Sheba. From the very beginning we were surprised how different you were from her. While she is a high-maintenance cat who comes at her own terms you would start purring as soon as we came near you, even the vet said that she rarely saw a cat who purrs like that. It turned out Sheba wasn’t quite thrilled with the playmate idea and the two of you weren’t immediately best friends forever, far from it. At some point, we were quite disheartened that you’d ever really get along and a friend said she’d love to have you if you needed a new home. You had already gotten under our skin and we weren’t ready to let you go. I can’t but think that if we did you would still be alive.
We knew you were not an indoor cat, and as soon as the vet approved, we let you join Sheba and go outside. To chase birds, climb trees, lay in the sun. And you did, and oh so well. You were so full of life. You made us laugh with your silliness, you jumped on us, you licked us, you woke us up in the middle of the night because you felt like cuddling right there and then. When I got up before dawn and went for a run you’d often come along and race with me for a while, until you got distracted by a bird or another cat, or I went too far from home. We loved coming home from school and work to find you waiting for us.
You were not even a year old. You are taken away from us far too early, and it is terribly unfair. It is breaking my heart that you died alone, on the street, I don’t know how long you were in pain after you got hit. I know you would have been unhappy if we kept you inside, but I feel that we failed you, that we couldn’t keep you safe. You are the first pet I have ever lost and I had no idea it can hurt so much.
We are all grieving, everyone in their own way – Una is writing a letter to you, Nestor doesn’t really believe that you are gone, Daddy had to make all the difficult arrangements and comfort all of us. Even Sheba was visibly upset, pacing up and down, going in and out of the house, looking for you.