My little cat died this month. It was certainly not unexpected. For those of you who follow me on insta or twitter, you will probably have seen a photograph or two of my scrawny ‘bag of bones’. Henry Cat. He wasn’t even my cat, but then cats are never really ours are they? They own us. Henry came with the cottage I bought 4 years ago, and we guessed he was 14 years old back then. I say guessed because he’d wandered into the little hamlet where I live some time before. He lived amongst the houses. Owners came and went. He was a gentle, clever little soul, living as a hunter when he needed to, embracing home life when people were around to care for him.
From the moment we met, Henry never left – unless I did. If I went travelling he’d go off on little adventures too, worrying my poor pet sitting neighbours to death! But as soon as I came home Henry would wander back in as though he’d never been away. I loved that adventurous little cat.
Henry had been poorly for a while this year. He was such an old soul. Thyroid problems, heart failure, kidney troubles … but time and again he’d defy the vet and make his miracle recovery. A couple of weeks ago his standard pattern of sickness began, he stopped eating – a sure sign he wasn’t well. I took him to the vet who assured me his heart and breathing were strong. Steve, my lovely vet, had seen this little cat at deaths door so many times I don’t think he dared predict the worst anymore!
I took Henry cat home that afternoon but something was different this time. He looked so tired. His fight had gone. I told him it was okay, that I understood and if he wanted to go he should do so. He looked at me with his big, dark eyes. He slept under my bed that night but crawled out in the early hours. I placed him next to me and stroked his bright ginger fur. He meowed a couple of times, looked at me and stopped breathing. Such a peaceful end for such a beautiful little soul. He’d simply lived out his time on earth and fell asleep.
I’m so desperately sad. Not for Henry, Henry had a wonderful life. Sad for me. I never thought I could miss someone so much. His constant meowing for breakfast, the little thud that used to greet me as I walked in the door – he’d jump off the bed and come running downstairs, his lazing beside me in a patch of sunshine as I worked on the patio. Life without Henry in the house will never be the same. The cottage feels empty.
So, forgive me for writing this blog post, which granted is a little different from my usual upbeat vibe and bright, colourful recipes. I just felt I needed to share that chapter with you to explain the next. I’m going to head out in my camper for a little while. Life at home feels so strange, I need time to heal. It’s really important to me to stay healthy on the road and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. Whether it’s trying to find something healthy at the airport or attempting to explain ‘gluten free’ in a foreign language … it’s never quite as simple as cooking from scratch at home. Cooking in the camper with a lack of fancy kitchen gadgets is also going to be a challenge! So, whether you’re a motorhome traveller yourself, or just looking for some simple, healthy inspiration … here’s to the next chapter.
Good to go …