Monday, 23 February 2009
It is exactly a year ago that our black cat, Mitty, died. We used to take her on our Broads cruiser with us when she was younger. She settled down very well on the boat and soon had her favourite places. During the day she slept on one of the front cabin bunks, well wrapped up in a sleeping bag but at night, she prowled the boat, peering out through the windows and constantly waking us, demanding to be let out. One evening when we were moored on quiet moorings at Barton Turf, we took her out with a cat harness and lead. She walked first one way and then the other, hating the harness and wanting to be off into the undergrowth. Going along one of the walkways, she suddenly jumped, twisted and slipped the harness, immediately scampering away from us. We were distraught, chasing her, calling her, looking for her for about an hour or so. We could see her eyes shining in the undergrowth occasionally but she wouldn’t come to us. Exhausted and very stressed we eventually went back slowly to the boat, convinced that we had lost her for ever, only to find her sitting on the stern of the boat as if to say ‘I’m here, where have you been’! Unbelievable, she got an extra helping of chicken that night.
We moored up near Beccles one night and took her out on the lead again as we were worried that she might wander too far, with a lot of farmland nearby. R was frustrated and I was amused as she climbed up a tree with him standing at the bottom holding the expanding lead, trying to persuade her to come down!
We used to moor at the back of a small ‘island’ at Womack Water and felt secure in letting her out at night as we knew she couldn’t wander too far. She would go off, come back to see us and go off again all night but one night she excelled herself by bringing us back a live mouse and depositing it in the front cabin!
She developed kidney disease in 2006 and blindness was part of the illness. She adapted fairly well but if she lost her bearings would stand in the middle of a room and shout for us to re-orientate her. On the whole she found her way around very well, using her whiskers and obviously remembered knowledge of the house to find her way around. We never moved anything in the rooms and had to be careful not to leave anything lying around to confuse her. Her sense of hearing increased tremendously, as did her sense of smell – she always showed huge interest in what we were having for supper! Initially, she still wanted to fiercely maintain her territory and used to go out under the garden gate, followed by one of us as she headed off up the road determinedly, getting very cross if we brought her back. As the illness progressed, she wasn’t so bothered but would still patrol the garden and see off any other cats which dared to come in. Her sense of smell could identify them immediately and she would hiss and spit in their direction.
Her final deterioration came on 25th February last year and we had to make the awful decision not to prolong her life any further. People had told us that we would know when the time came and we did. We still miss her and I occasionally find myself addressing my black handbag if I leave it on the floor!