Farewell dear old Artur. You gave us ten years of unexpected delight and joy. Gardening is not going to be the same without the stalking, the leaping, the climbing onto my lap at all hours of the day.
And having the potting shed all to myself feels very strange. This was his maison secondaire. He loved it.
Cashmere lined boxes and all the seedlings he could possibly squash and plenty of warmth for old bones.
He took himself off up to the mountain last week and despite a few days hunting and calling him, I knew he had gone.
Mostly because I went up one morning early, opened the potting shed door with hope and expectation, and found the feral cat fast asleep in Artur’s cashmere lined cat box.
I don’t know who was the most surprised. She leapt up and raced out hissing. And I guessed than that I would never have that delight of going up to the potting shed and finding my favourite ball of fluff crammed in to the most improbable space.
Yesterday I decided I needed to have a good old purge. I kept seeing his favourite boxes and spotting bits of cat fur lying about. And leaking tears. He was moulting rather impressively in his last months. So a whole day of furious cleaning and sorting ensued.
I have a car load of junk and broken things to take to the tip; a lot of cat food to give away. The cushions are clean on the chaise longue, and I swept and scrubbed and the potting shed is now a place for one.
But I did make a teensy little shrine for the old critter. My sister-in-law painted this drawing of Artur. Taken from the wonderful picture by Carla Coulson when she came to do the photo shoot all those years ago.
So that feels better. I can greet him now in the morning. And as an added precaution against feral cats moving in I have taped up the cat flap. That felt rather final.
This will be the first year in ten that I won’t have to shriek when he walks over, lies on or just messes up my plants. But the close supervision of my seed sowing, pricking out and potting on work will be missed.
Farewell wonderful cat.