Millie the cat died today. This is not a poem, or even prose fiction, but although I said my other blogspot blog was for everything else, I find blogs develop a character. Emotion comes easier on this one.
Millie was 9. She had been unwell for a while, and proved to have a tumour. This morning she was put to sleep and died peacefully and quickly.
She was an amazing character. When young (she adopted us) she was a great table tennis player, sitting at the top of the stairs and batting the ball back in mid-air. She moved deliberately outside and had good traffic sense (if she heard a car coming she’d wait until she could see it pass), but inside, transit from one room to another was always by mad cavalry charge.
Despite her slim build and athleticism, she was no hunter. Once while she was sitting in the garden a young starling landed quite close and picked up some food items. Instead of jumping for it, Millie watched it with curiosity, and when it flew off, sniffed the ground where it had been. She was not very sociable with other cats: she had no real enemies but no close friends, though she tolerated and even welcomed one or two favoured ones, especially if she could get in a high place and stare down at them. However, she loved people – and dogs. I once saw her sitting in the middle of the alley when a dense crowd of schoolgirls approached. She just sat without moving until she was engulfed by them and they were stroking her. Very big dogs she treated with some caution, but anything less than five times her size she would approach. The dogs either shied away, bewildered by this unprecedented behaviour (I once saw a greyhound on a lead pulling away from her), or responded to friendly overtures. She hated going to the vets, but the plus side was that she got to see dogs.
Her interest in anything humans were doing around her was so great and frequent that I suggested she might be an alien spy. If you talked to her, she responded: of course she didn’t understand the words, but she knew some kind of communication was happening, and I suspect she tried to imitate it: certainly her range of vocalisations was remarkable and included a number of quite uncatlike sounds. She showed affection readily and favoured humans would get their noses licked. She was punctilious, not to say neurotic, about cleaning herself and sometimes she decided my beard needed the same treatment.
I feel calm about her going, because she had lived her life and had already withdrawn from much of it – but I will miss her.