I would just like to take a detour from my current course of writing to pay a tribute to our elderly cat Smudge. She is long haired,white with black smudges and such a character. She has reached the venerable age of eighteen years, is now totally deaf and has had several health scares in the last year, all of which she has recovered from quite quickly. The last time we brought her back from the vets I had the inspiration to buy some cat milk and she’s never looked back. She loves it and when she’s been off her cat food it has sustained her, whilst tempting her with freshly cooked cod, pilchards or tinned salmon. I speak of her in the present tense because that’s the only way I can but, you see, we just don’t know for sure.

It happened late Saturday afternoon when we were sat watching the England match. Smudge had jumped up to sit on our laps for some fuss, as she often does when we are watching TV, when she suddenly seemed distracted by the sunlight streaming in our open window. After giving my husband an affectionate hug, in the way only cats can, by climbing up his chest from his lap to stare into  his eyes, she climbed on over his shoulder and on to the back of the sofa and, as I said before, seemed distracted by the sunlight. It was a far away look which my husband has since described as haunted. (I don’t think it was her opinion of the match at this point but maybe she just wasn’t getting enough attention. Who knows?)

The next moment she was on the floor and heading to the front door. Now, Smudge has been frail for sometime and rarely goes far, usually content to follow us into the garden or to sit on the front step, but this time, when we looked out to see where she was, Smudge had disappeared.

For the remainder of the weekend we have searched the village for her in ever increasing circles, criss crossing the area in which we live many times over. We have talked to neighbours and friends who are watching out for her and we have put a notice on the lamp post in our lane and on the Post Office noticeboard.

The frustrating part is that we cannot call her name because she is deaf and with little sense of smell we hope and pray that she has not got lost or isn’t shut in somewhere nearby.

Two days have gone by and I still expect to hear her cry out, to climb on my lap when i’m typing or to see her curled up in her basket.  A dear friend has advised that I must channel positive energies to keeping her safe and think of a protective cat angel guarding her wherever she is. Nevertheless, I know in my heart that I must let her go to wherever cats go to, if that is she has finally decided it’s her time leave this life behind.

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