It seems like my childhood pets are all passing away at the moment. Yesterday it was Bonnie’s turn. And guys? I’m so very sad about it. I mean, she was a cat… But she was my cat.
The first time I remember seeing her, and her brother Clyde they were tiny balls of fur tumbling around a lounge full of balloons. I was ten years old and loved them both from the start… She was always my favorite, though. I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but I did.
The first time outside of the house I walked in front of them as they followed along anxiously mewing and tripping over their own feet in their haste to stay close. I felt like a proud mama hen.
When I was a teenager we moved houses. Lots, and lots of houses. I always made sure my room was unpacked, and both cats were released into it as soon as possible. They came to learn that my bed was always there for them to cower under, and I would always have a handful of cat biscuits hidden in an old film canister on my dresser.
When I was 15 and having difficulty sleeping through the night, she’d stand on the roof outside my open window and meow piteously. I’d sneak down the stairs the the back sliding door and let her in. Some night’s she’d hover on the roof above the door until I was SURE Dad was about to come out and ask what the hell I was doing in the back yard. So I’d climb onto the balcony railing and pluck her down by sitting her on my shoulder – despite being completely and utterly freaked out by heights. Silence was necessary, to avoid waking up the rest of the household but she didn’t seem to know that. She’d chirp away happily and then race me up the stairs to my room… Something that I’m fairly certain sounded like a herd of stampeding horses above my parent’s bedroom.
When I left home at 18 I seriously considered slipping her into my suitcase. Clyde had developed a charming need to spray everything in sight, so I didn’t even consider taking him… But Bonnie was different. Instead of taking her, I spent some quality time lying in the sun beside her. I’m fairly certain that she’s the one that got me into the habit of sprawling in patches of sun. Something that has terrified, and amused my various flatmates over the years.
The last time I saw Bonnie she was blind. That didn’t seem to bother her much, though. She still recognised me. The morning before I left she curled up into a light ball of warmth on my back, and we both napped in the sun on the lounge floor. She felt no heavier than the kitten she’d once been.