Our bank holiday weekend turned into a sad few days when we had to say goodbye to our lovely cat Eva.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that non-pet people won’t quite understand how it feels, but column readers with cats or dogs at home will know that it really does feel like a family bereavement.
We’ve had some lovely messages of sympathy and it’s clear that many friends saw our little pal as a real personality.
She was almost 16 when she passed away and had been clearly declining in health in the last couple of weeks.
She usually spent more time with my other half but, on her last day, she came and sat on my knee in the garden for a long time and, I know I’m being illogically sentimental here, she just snuggled in and seemed to listen as I reminisced with her on her lovely life and friends, both human and feline.
I thought that she had passed away just then as she went very still, but she’s a little fighter and came round again.
Warmest thanks to the Clifton Lodge vets who saw Eva at very short notice and gave her a thorough check over.
As we suspected, her little heart was close to failure and, as the sympathetic vet said, her life systems were simply shutting down.
She passed away very peacefully with the two of us holding her, and we were able to bring her home for the last time.
The nightmare we had was that, as a cat who went out exploring every night, she might have become disorientated and ended her life alone in a strange garden.
The next day we laid her to rest in her favourite spot in the garden with tearful farewells from family members who will miss her as much as we do.
As regular readers will recall, Eva had a twin sister called Walter (long story) who died a few years ago, and, amazingly, she seemed to change personality to fill the gap.
Walter was always the sociable one who would come and greet visitors to the house while Eva used to head off and stay out of sight until calm was restored.
After her twin was lost, she simply stepped up to the plate and realised that she would have to be the lead hostess around the place.
Just a few weeks ago, Eva became even more of a star when she appeared on a lovely mural created by talented artist John Carter.
It’s on a big wall at the Hurworth Burn Luxury Pet Hotel, great name, which is near Wingate just outside Hartlepool.
It was always a favourite place to stay for Eva if we were away, and it’s lovely to think that her memory is being treasured there too.
I’m still expecting to see her in her usual spots, and I miss her presence when she used to come and supervise if I was doing odd jobs around the garden.
Sleep well in your garden little bear – you were a star.