Our two Border Collies, Merlin and Fionn, are my best friends.  I hope it will remain so for many years.  I have written previously about the loss of our Red Setters and the sadness that every pet owner understands and has experienced.  Why do we repeat it, knowing the inevitable? – Don’t know, except the dogs are wonderful companions (as long as we continue to feed them) that will play when you want them to and be quiet when you want them to be (mostly).

But I also love cats.  They are independent (except for feeding) beautiful, remote creatures that can (when they want to) show an affinity with you when they want to sit on your lap or when they crave a bit of fuss – It is a privilege to share that contact.  I’m talking about domestic cats of course, but if I tell you one of my favourite films of all time is Born Free you will understand my feeling for cats generally.

All this is solely to mark the passing of our pet Sooty, who joined us with her sister, Sweepy many years ago at the same time as our Setters Bella and Rosa.  Sooty and me had a similar liking for the settee and since I could not lay on Sooty, it was Sooty who laid on me – a lot of the time.  Sooty enjoyed being stroked – on her head and back.  Woe betide anyone thinking she might like her tummy rubbed.

Sooty had been with us for a long time before we acquired Merlin and Fionn.  Sooty was not keen on the arrival of the new upstarts and showed her disdain by removing herself from view – for a week or more, we thought we had lost her.  When she did return it was on her terms – no nonsense from the puppies, and they lived and mingled comfortably together ever since.

A beautiful cat, lovely companion and sadly missed, except by the other two sisters Ruby and Annie, who do not have to be so wary now.