“A cat has absolute emotional honesty:
The eerie yowling made my hair stand on end. Carefully I rose from my favourite reading chair and padded barefoot down the hallway and into the kitchen.
I saw a familiar striped form hunched over on the floor. Her milky blue eyes gazed around sightlessly, trying to pinpoint me with her hearing. She let out another muffled yowl, her mouth full of a lifeless mouse.
‘Oh clever girl, Peach!’ I cooed and gently petted her forehead, rubbing its peach coloured stripe with my thumb. She happily settled down to eat her prize.
We went through this process nearly every day. If you didn’t acknowledge her and her ‘present,’
she would continue to walk around the house yowling. And since we were going through a particularly bad mouse plague, we appreciated all the help we could get - hair raising yowls and all.
She was an old and faithful companion at 16. Over the previous year her eyesight slowly declined and now she was completely blind, but she still liked to feel important and needed.
At first as her eyesight went she bumped into things and misjudged her jumps, but slowly she adapted with amazing resilience. We had long since ceased moving the furniture around, so she had
a predictable landscape that she could navigate like the back of her paw. She may have lost her sight completely, but she moved through the uncertainty with the grace and confidence befitting a queen of her station.
Not for one second did I think that she wasn’t catching the mice herself. Until one day we discovered that Smudge, our dear ginger and white spook who was only ever seen at dinner time, was catching them for her.
Miss Smudge was an excellent mouser and she was leaving a mouse in the exact same spot every day so Peach could find it and feel important.
It was a good reminder that sometimes the real heroes are working quietly behind the scenes, and to see them you just have to pay attention.
Siobhan is a Visual Artist Painting the Animals who leave their prints all over your HEART.