It is with great sadness that I have to tell you we lost our 21 year-old cat this week. Romany Gypsy (or Pom as we called her) was a long-haired Siberian, black as pitch with luminous yellow eyes. Tetchy and independent, stylish and confident she possessed the royalty of Cleopatra combined with the attitude of Naomi Campbell.
We got her from a rescue home and as cats go, she was a little cracker; feisty and loving in equal measure. She was completely fearless and when Leo, our enormous labrador joined us she was unphased; drinking from his water bowl as if to challenge his authority. Smaller dogs or visitors unfamiliar with her temperament got short shrift and withered before her hisses and snarls.
And judging by the chunks missing from her plumed bat’s ears she must have held her own in many a battle with local toms and foxes too. But still she came home.
She had an interesting vocabulary which ranged from the lightest and most delicate of “miouws” to a guttteral howl that was enough to wake the dead. After 20 years of listening I think I worked out what some of them meant:
“M’aow” I’m hungry.
“M’aooouw” I’m still hungry.
“Miaooow” Have you no idea what time it is? Give me food!
“Mer-yiaow” Feed me or I’ll pee on the bathmat again.
“Ow-ooow…” I have nothing to do with the disembowelled starling in the utility room.
“Prrrr…” That’s nice, but I’m still hungry.
And communication wasn’t limited to just noises either. She could get a message across with just a gesture too…
*glances upwards indignantly* I’m not eating that.
*wraps tail around your leg* I know the bowl is full but I don’t do Tesco value catfood.
*walks away twitching tail* That’s as close to a “thank you” as you’re going to get.
*stretches, digs claws into carpet* Humans can be sooo tiresome.
Cats are entertaining but they don’t make friends easily. That’s why when you do get to know one you miss them all the more when they’re gone.