Butterscotch, also known as Little Mother or Mo, died yesterday.
She was thirteen and had a tumor in her lung.
We buried her in the garden, close to where we buried Beauty last October.
He was 4 when he died of a respiratory illness.
Meredith had owned a large sheep dog when she was living in New York and had grown up in a house full of pets.
I had never owned an animal until after we bought this house 21 years ago.
I was fond of Aunt Mary–she’d taken me to Lords in 1948 to see Bradman bat for the Australians, which won’t mean much to people now, but was tremendous for a cricket-mad six-year-old.
All I remember about Mary–the cat–was that she was black and white.
I didn’t realize then that all cats are different and have singular personalities and foibles.
Little Mo was a rather solitary figure, who sought out quiet spots away from the general hubbub of the house.
We’d find her comfortably curled up in a large bowl or shopping basket or buried under a bedcover in a spare room–a visible lump, gently rising and falling with each breath.
Perhaps she was hiding from Lucien–our orphan Tabby–who is roughly the same age and her unrequited suitor.
Poor Lucien never stood a chance–she was disdainfully uninterested.
Kids though, she loved. Meredith says she’s the only cat she’s known who approached children and paid no heed when they unwittingly treated her roughly.
She seemed fearless–remaining unconcernedly on her chair while the hoover wailed round her, or unmoved while swapping curious looks with a troupe of cows surrounding her, in the field behind the house.
Her step was an unhurried plod and she thought long before leaping, like an athlete preparing for the high jump.
Just occasionally–and not so much recently–she would surprise us on a short walk with a sudden burst of speed–a sort of exlposive expression of joy–and then revert back into “plod mode”.
On my return from the market, she’d “plod” towards me, her tail would go up and she slowly rolled over.
I felt flattered–singled out for special treatment.
She was more social in the evenings, watching TV with us–from the comfort of a convenient thigh.
But she reserved for Meredith her most open show of affection, often settling down for the night flat out on Meredith’s chest.
We loved her. She’s at peace now and life goes on.
We spotted this young fellow at lunchtime. We rarely see hedgehogs here –and we’ve never seen one as young as this.
For Meredith it was a sign that all was well with Mo.