Friday, 7 December 2007

Goodbye Little Feat 07-12-07

Yesterday we travelled south to purchase more oak beams for the verandah project. We had left the cats not realising that one was really not so very well. She had been looking poorly and not eaten but we thought it was because she had indigestion from eating vermin. Little Feat was not at home when we returned at about 6pm. She never goes far from home and the wind and rain were wild. It was too dark to search for her and although we called frequently she did not return until 4am the next morning, wet, bedraggled and very tired. She had difficulty lapping water. It was in answer to a prayer that she returned home. It was nicer than dying without us, in some cold outdoor nowhere. We wrapped her in a towel and placed her in front of the woodburner. Sadly, the vet identified that she had kidney failure and the blood results showed that her kidneys were only functioning at 10% of a normal level. Therefore, to be cruel to be kind we agreed to enable her to die with dignity. Whilst stroking her and looking into her sorrowful dark eyes we thanked her for her life with us and for her friendship. In tears and sorrow, we buried her near the gates where once she sat sentry on the stone pillar observing all that happened in the lane. We placed her cardboard coffin near the rose bush, scattered ashes from the woodburner amongst the earth and planted pansies and "purple princess" tulips on her mound. Despite her quirky character when often she would resist the cooching that we tried to give her, never wanting to be carried, we remember her life within ours. Such is life and death.We are heartbroken. a>Little Feat arrived with her sister in August 2002. Yvonne assured us that the two tortoiseshell "calico cat" kittens were twins but how could we choose? We became their adoptive parents. At first they were given the highly prententious names of Shiraz and Syrah but in telling them apart we described Shiraz as the one with the big feet and Syrah as the one with the little feet. Big Feet has genetically mutant feet. Her front paws have seven claws and her back paws have six. She became known as "The Mutant Killer" because of her genetically modified "pattes" and because of her ability to kill moles, baby rabbits and birds! Her sister, thus became known as "Little Feat" because we also named her after the group from the 70's. Her paws were normal. Little Feat was also the runt of the litter. She always continued to have her meepy, rejected, "I am unloved", look. However, she was sometimes dominant and her greed made her obese. We affectionately named her the "The Fat One".Her presence in our lives will be remembered and she will be sadly missed. We could tell the weather and the seasons by her behaviour. When the weather was cold she would take up her place centrally positioned on a towel on the stone mantelpiece above the woodburner, hanging her tail or paws just over the edge to catch the heat. She would only move when it became too hot or because she was hungry! When the weather became warm she would patrol the lane immediately outside our house, watching the stone walls for signs of potential titbits! In her younger life she would sit sentry on the gate pillars of this garden and of our former garden in England. From this vantage point she could watch the "neighbours". She was always affeared of George the ginger tom and of Merlin the dark, menacing incomer who had designs on her maiden form! She always escaped to the high wall surrounding our courtyard garden or to the total safety of the kitchen where she could look disdainfully down from the windows upon such hoi polloi.
Little Feat loved leather and the smell of shoes. As a kitten she especially loved shoes and would try to bury herself in a shoe, tumbling all the while. She Her leather fetish extended to the leather coats of Fran├žois and Pierre. She appeared to prefer men, but especially loved the author Neil, greeting him with her tail in the air and making somersaluts of affection over his smartly polished brown shiny shoes.
Remarkably , we were once astounded to see her walking on the ridge of the roof and along the guttering of an 18th century house belonging to the author Elizabeth Jane Howard. Little Feat was a predator on the birds that were nesting below the eaves.She was like a trapeze artiste as she pawed unsuccessfully to reach the baby blackbirds.
Little Feat liked to stay at home whilst Big Feet like to travel.
Big Feet would trot through the courtyard to the shared alley, and to the busy road. She would listen and watch for traffic and when confident that it was safe would cross the road at a diagonal towards the bridge spanning the River Waveney. Along the pavement or on the bridge parapet she would pass strangers and those who knew her. On the other side she would descend into the garden of the man whose moles she had kindly removed. Then she re-negotiated the traffic to again cross the road. Here she may have had to take shelter under parked vehicles from dogs with their owners who also enjoyed walking on the common ground. Before passing along the footpath to the common gates she would check out the safety factors. Then quickly she would make a sprint under the gate to go-a-hunting or walk in the long grass and say hello to the two cows that used to pasture there until only a few years ago. Sometimes she would complete this journey with us. We would encourage her to keep safe on the journey and she would walk with us as far as the weir and return. She wanted to walk on the wild side of the river with us, her servants. Sometimes we would have to carry her in order to protect her from dogs or other danger.

We gave Little Feat and Big Feet a home, with warmth, shelter, and our love. We did our best to protect them from feline diseases and rabies and brought them to France. In France they have walked faithfully with us for at least an hour at a time. Though lately Little Feat would wait at home! They have loved the freedom of the countryside and have appeared to be happier here than in the confined courtyard where town cats predated. We were never their owners, only their staff.

Big Feet has also looked unwell, but after a blood analysis the vet has confirmed that her kidneys are healthy.