Back in 1989 I was a student and living in Leeds. The house I shared opened out at the back nto a small side road, and opposite us lived two Asian families. These two families were in a constant state of war,though the reason, ethnic or religious, I never fully understood. One day, on returning home, my friend Philip and I noticed a rabbit hutch outside one of the houses, inside of which were two kittens. We knew the kid who lived in this house, whose name now escapes me, so when we saw him we called him over and asked kim what he was doing keeping kittens in a hutch outside. He didn't see anything wrong. So we offered him £5 for them, there and then. Of course his eyes lit up and he agreed. So we now owned two kittens. Very young, flea-ridden and full of worms but adorable. I chose one and named her Kylie. Philip named the other Patsy.
Seventeen years later and I am stroking her as the vet injects her with an overdose of anaesthetic. The lump that appeared on the side of her face a couple of months ago has resisited treatment. It might be an abcess. It might be a tumour. It would take an expensive operation to find out and even them it might be untreatable. It is now so large she is unable to open her right eye. I have to make a decision. I decide to let her go. Within seconds of the injection she is dead. I take the empty cat-basket home.
I'm not an overly sentimental person, but if someone said to me "it's just a cat" I would tell them that they don't know what they are talking about. Kylie was part of my life for seventeen years - that's longer than many friendships (and certainly longer then most relationships so far!). She was waiting for me when I got home from work, and shared my bed, and loved my attention. Little things, but they mattered. She was a companion and I loved her and will miss her.