Continuing reading ancient diaries and opening up old history I came across an entry for March 85, which made me cry all over again. For many years I had a cat, a female called Makarios (like the Cypriot Archbishop of the time), picked up as a tiny kitten on a building site in London, probably the runt of a feral cat's litter, abandoned and still dependant on the mother. After great efforts on my part the tiny thing survived, and as she grew we gave her all sorts of nicknames, Mac, Kavli, Fav, Kav, among others. This is how the entry went:-
Sunday 31 March 1985
Start of British Summertime today. Not that it makes any difference, the weather is still foul. Rainy and windy. Kavli is a little better again. She eats and drinks, she moves about a little, she washes and grooms herself, but I think the heart has gone out of the brave little fighter, literally. Our tough old boot is being knackered by her worn out heart. She breathes laboriously and sometimes she makes a whistling sound over and over. And still she seems happy and grateful for everything I do. The Vet also said that she must be able to see very little now. I can't quite believe that, she doesn't seem to have any difficulties negotiating her way around the furniture. Be that as it may, the signs of extreme old age are abundant: few teeth, loss of weight, shaggy fur, ill-health, etc. And still she manages to look beautiful and arrange herself absolutely adorably. Just now the silly baggage tried to climb on to my window sill through the open window. It broke my heart to have to stop her because I think she might slip off; her footing is very unsteady.
Oh, I do love the beastie very much and when she's gone there is nobody left for me to love and cuddle and stroke. And there'll be nobody to show me, over and over, how much she loves me. Kav comes running to the front door when she hears my step; she follows me up and down the stairs - often two or three times in a row; she says good morning and good night in her own inimitable way by purring loudly and winding herself round and round my legs, thumping her head on my feet and finally rolling over in front of me for a tickle on the tum. Every time I touch her lightly she purrs with happiness. She insists on being in the same room with me at all times; her eyes follow me about when she's not sleeping. She follows me into the garden like a dog at heel, but when I stay in, she stays in, no matter how nice the weather. If I am sitting out there, however, old Kav quite happily trots around the plants, tearing them up to cover her toilet.
Kav has been with me for fifteen years. She sat on my lap, night after night, when the children were in bed and P off on his nightly travels. Kav and the bottle were my only company for a long time. I gave up on the bottle but Kav didn't give up on me. She turned cross and cantankerous in her middle years with everyone but me. Like any proud and beautiful creature Kav always knew what was due to her but she paid back the homage with undying loyalty and great affection. So many people think only dogs love you; cats may not accept you as their master, but their love and loyalty can be as great as that of any other creature on this Earth. I swear old Kav knew when I was sad or when I was crying, she would come for extra rations of stroking and tickling at such time. And I also swear to it that she knew how to make me feel better.
I will miss her so very much when she dies, I am crying at the thought of it. She is a part of me in a way nobody and nothing else is. With her I've always been myself, never ever have I needed "to put on a front". Maybe I didn't want to hurt the children, so I'd pretend to be ok. With Kav that wasn't necessary. There were times she sat on my lap, my hands playing in her silky fur and tears would stream down my face.
With Kavli gone a whole chapter of my life will close, I will not be able to show weakness to any other living creature. A and Mum would rather not know, they want me strong; S would be deaf and blind to it and P would exploit it. Darling little Kavli, you have been a truer friend to me than any human being.
Kavli died on 6th of June 85, just over two months after this entry. The Vet had been on at me for weeks to make an end. All treatments only worked for a few days, then she deteriorated again. I wish I had gone sooner than I finally did.