It’s been a strange and sad week. After work on Monday, I went for a walk around the garden in the evening sun and noticed Alfie, one of our two cats and very much the outdoors cat (the cat pictured in my previous post), sitting in a flower border rather too close to an emerging allium for my liking. I picked him up and carried him around for a while before setting him down next to the pond to sit in the sunshine. He’d been ageing recently and he seemed rather stiff and withdrawn but I didn’t think much more of it. Tuesday dawned with pouring rain and no Alfie to be seen but later in the morning Harriet heard a miaow from under the sideboard in the kitchen and found him lying very flat against the skirting board. This is the usual spot for hiding when there are fireworks or thunder, so we all kept an eye on him, tried to coax him out with some pilchards, talked to him and stroked him gently. By the afternoon we were seriously worried and called the vet. With the lockdown situation and the fact that our cats hate visiting the vet with a passion, we agreed to see how he was and maybe take him in the following day, but by 5pm we decided that he had to be seen. I managed to slide him out from under the sideboard and lift him carefully into a box. David drove while I sat with Alfie, trying to comfort him. I think I knew in my heart of hearts that it was bad but the vet confirmed our worst fears. He was in heart failure and there was nothing they could do for him. I’ll spare you the details but there were a lot of tears and not all of them were mine. We had to leave him at the vet but I drove back on Wednesday to collect the body and we buried him in the garden in a spot where he used to sunbathe and where the primroses grow in spring.
As a friend said, it is such a pure sadness when a pet dies. Alfie was part of our family for 11 years (he and his sister were rescue cats, so we reckon he was about 14), he was a dear character and he seemed to love living here. Whenever I was in the garden, he would appear from the bushes or run up the front steps miaowing in a conversational way and it feels so strange to be out there with no Alfie around. I think my sadness has been amplified by these devastating times we are living in and I think my copious tears over the past week have been a release of sadness for everything.
Apologies for tainting Cathy’s lovely Monday gathering of beautiful flowers with my sadness but these are my May flowers in memory of a much-loved cat. Aquilegia vulgaris (common columbine), snapdragons, Cerinthe major, red valerian, Calendula Indian Prince and a few tendrils of honeysuckle. All these plants love this garden too.