Requiem for a Good Cat
Milo the tiger striped tabby cat died last night. On Thursday he wasn't eating, and he stopped purring. Milo always, always purrs. Like a freight train. I got Posy to google 'My cat stopped purring.' Guess what, it means your cat isn't well. On Friday morning he still wasn't eating. I left for work and he was snuggled in his basket. I left the window open so he could go outside. That afternoon I was planning to call the vet. We didn't see him again. He didn't come home on Friday night. I called and called, but no little cat came meowing up the steps out of the dark for his dinner. Today at lunchtime my neighbour came over to tell me that they found Milo dead in their yard. I went over and there he was, all peaceful like he had just gone to sleep. He loves our neighbours and they love him. He adopted them as his other family, and I am glad he went over there to say goodbye.
Dear wee Milo. He came to us from the RSPCA as a tiny kitten, with his buddy Polly. A dairy farmer had brought him in - he had found the tiny kitten wandering across a paddock, with no other cats in sight. Milo was an adventurer from the first. He ranged far and wide from home. When we got a dog he was so annoyed he ran away for four days. The girls and I walked the streets, shaking his food and calling. On the fourth morning after he left I met some neighbours out walking, and as I told them how worried I was, Milo popped his head out of the ten foot high yew hedge above us and meowed that it was about time that I turned up with food.
He was not impressed about that dog though, and they had quite a number of seriously impressive fights, and the dog always came off worse for wear. One memorable chase around and around the Christmas tree ended with Benson the dog wound up in the Christmas lights while Milo escaped to safety and sniggered. Another time Milo left a claw in the dog's ear, with the dog looking like a rakish pirate with a cat-claw earring.
When we moved to our new house we had to keep the cats inside at night to stop Milo trekking back to our old house, which he did several times. Polly and Milo have slept on my bed ever since. Polly chooses all sorts of places to sleep - under the bed, on the ottoman, on any pile of clothes on the floor, on my feet - but Milo always slept in the crook behind my knees, purring away like a little engine. Last night when Milo didn't come home Polly jumped up on the bed and curled up behind my knees. Clearly she has taken over his role of comfort cat.
This evening the girls and I buried Milo in his ratty old basket that he liked to use to practise his scratching, when he wasn't sleeping in it on his blue blanky. We covered him with a blanket of flowers from the garden and Polly came to sniff her goodbyes. Milo was a good cat. He was a joyful adventurer and a happy soul. He loved sunshine and climbing trees and visiting the neighbours.
I will miss him helping me with the gardening. I will miss him gently patting me with his paws to wake me up in the morning. I am so sad that he won't feel the sun on his back and live his life under the blue sky any more. Life is so fleeting and precious. We come from the dark, and who knows where we go? Maybe he will come and visit me in the garden and in my dreams. Maybe he will remind me that what is important is the sun on your back and loving your neighbours.
Goodbye, beautiful boy. Sweet dreams.