Mugwump the cat died peacefully in his sleep on Friday last. Not for him the long slow drawn out decline into illness, kidney failure or melanoma; that slow, protracted, lingering death of the spirit which ends in the finality of the veterinary surgeon’s examination table and an overdose of Nembutal. It is perhaps entirely appropriate that he should choose now, of all times, to pass beyond the veil. As I struggle with the words to illuminate a fictional struggle to come to terms with a long-awaited death, 265,000 words and counting, and the joy to be found in the simple and quotidian pleasures of life, he should discover that moment to eat his final meal, lap the last of his water and lie for the last time contented, bushy tail across his nose, on the old pillow in my study while I wrote.
His age was a mystery, perhaps fifteen, perhaps older; teeth are the only guide in a cat whose provenance is not known. Young, as cats go, but he was big, very big and so unlike the usual inner-city moggies which infest the gardens and patios of any street in a large town or city. His was a life, I suspect, that was a minor struggle except in his final years; that endless search for food, for shelter, for warmth that is the constant battle for the homeless and unloved, the pitiful plight of the unhomed.
So farewell, Mugwump; you purred like an idling Ducati 1100cc.