Sophie Mason 1996-2014

16 08 2014

This video still is from the last night Sophie really purred and seemed happy (two nights ago). We had her put down today. We booked the lovely Marco a couple of days ago, then kept flip-flopping as to whether this was the right thing do. But it was. She had 2-3 last days of total devotion (though we still had to give her the loathed baths). She spent this morning on the settee, eventually doing a bit of light purring, and even a head rub or two. She ate as many unhealthy snacks as she wanted. Then the vets came and whatever tears we’d managed to hold in came bursting out (what on earth is crying for? why does it feel like an inflammation, and leave you so exhausted?).

I got Sophie and her sister Mouse a month after I bought my first ever house, a tiny two-up two-down in Oxford. I was at a Zoology Dept. party when Tim Halliday called out “Does anyone want some half-Abyssinian kittens?”. So these two have lived with me since I was 29. That is a long time ago. That’s so very long ago that Sophie’s met several boyfriends (before I was lucky enough to find Jonathan). Some were nice (she used to chew Rick D’Eath‘s hair back when he had dreadlocks), some wildly unsuitable (Chris the Dealer where are you now? Are you in prison?), but Sophie didn’t care: she liked them all because they were humans. This was a very, very sociable cat. When she was young, she would always come home smelling of other people and their houses, and once a week she’d hang out with the choir that practised in the church hall next door. When Jonathan and I moved into our Wytham Street house, Sophie started doing the “school run”: families would walk up the street every day at 845 on the way to a little kids’ school, then back the other way at 345, and like clockwork twice a day Sophie would be on our garden wall, ready to greet everyone. After we moved to Guelph, she adopted Neil and Nora, our retired neighours over the road, and sat with them on their porch all day; she loved it when we had parties; and she loved Carole (and her cigarettes), Maria and Becky whenever they came to catsit.

Gradually her world started shrinking, as blindness and arthritis started making her reluctant to leave the house. She started finding the parties a bit too much too. Sleeping with us was her last pleasure – often between us, body under the duvet, head on a pillow (yes we did look like crazy people). I don’t really know what the bond between cats and their humans represents (is like that between kittens and their parents? or colony-mates?). But I know that we loved her and she loved us.