Sunday, 3 June 2007

Vale Ferrari

A little black cat joined our family as a stray in 1990. She was already a year or two old (we think) and for all that she was keen to attach herself to us, she was never all that affectionate. At least initially. Sarah named her Ferrari.

Ferrari was happy to be fed, and happy to laze around on our back veranda, but she wasn't that keen to be picked up, or even approached. I often wondered if she had been hurt by someone . . . if she had joined our family because it seemed a safer option than wherever it was she had come from.

Over the years she seemed to mellow. A succession of feline companions (Gizmo, Vienna and Caviar) took their turns hassling her, but Ferrari always bore it all with great grace and patience. (I'm not sure that's 100% true, actually, but this is an obit, so whatever). And as she got older she grew more and more affectionate.

It's noteworthy that of the four of them, Ferrari was the last to go. After all, she was well and truly the oldest. We lost Vienna a few years ago when she was hit by a car. Caviar just up and disappeared one day, never to return. Gizmo succumbed to old age (he was 16) late last year, and now Ferrari has gone too.

It's funny how these little creatures can become such a part of you, and such a focus for your affection. It's not just their helplessness; their reliance on you. For me, cats have an amazing way of making you believe in their superiority. They manage to convince you that they deserve the attention you lavish on them. You just know that you shouldn't expect any payback in the form of affection or otherwise. And it's not important. That's not why you do it.

For a lot of people, that's why they prefer dogs. But this, to me, in the centre of the cat's appeal. It's not the Master/Pet relationship you have with a dog. It's more like a friendship. That a cat chooses to be with you is very special. To earn the trust and affection of such an individualistic animal really means a lot.

This was what made Ferrari particularly special. We didn't go to a store and choose her. She chose us. As a wandering stray, she could have gone anywhere, but she saw something in our family that she decided was worth staying for.

Like all cats, she could be grumpy. And dismissive. And at times, very skittish. But like all cats, it was just cool having her around. Even in her final arthritic days she carried herself with an elegance and grace that warmed my heart.

Mum and Dad made her final weeks comfortable and warm. She was propped up on cushions in front of the heater, food and water close by. This had to be as close to paradise as a cat could get. Then she went quietly in her sleep on Friday night.

Ferrari, thanks for choosing to stay with us. You made our lives a little better and I really hope we made your life all you wanted it to be.


Your Lady said...

You old softy. I love you x

Anonymous said...

Beautiful obit.

Bianca said...

That was lovely.
I have to go hug my cat now.