Yesterday we said goodbye to our fabulous Erin.
She, and her late sister Gracie, had been part of our family, and our lives, for the last 14 years. She had the silkiest of grey fur and the brightest, clearest jade eyes. Sometimes people would ask whether she was a pedigree but, whilst she did bear some similarity to a Korat cat, she was a proud mixed-breed moggy.

She was so different to her sister. She was a lap cat, a fireside cat, a blanket cat. Always a more sensitive soul. Altogether more cautious. If you met her then you should consider yourself honoured because she was very selective about those she chose to greet.

I was going to tell you that she was less adventurous than her sister, but when you learn that on her second day with us, just as we were about to take her and her sister to the vet for their first check-up, she managed to climb up the chimney and become trapped behind the electric fire, you might doubt that. Fortunately we got her out almost straightaway but that fireplace was blocked up quick-sharpish.

What else can I tell you? Well, often Erin would defy her refined appearance and direct rather earthy hisses at unexpected visitors. Sometimes she even did it to vets. She was suspicious of pigeons. And treated her sister’s childlike play with disdain. In contrast she was capable of a mad-half-hour or two. As a youngster she could jump like a kangaroo and had exceptionally sharp claws – just ask to see the scars.
She found little dignity in using the litter and certainly didn’t see the point in clearing up after herself when there were humans to do it. Didn’t really like eating with anyone around. Hated ladders and anyone using them – window-cleaners, builders, plumbers. Entirely mistrusted ironing boards and hid from vacuum cleaners. But, get a Slanket on your lap and she was yours for the duration.
She taught us a lot, too. Not to leave a dish of sweets on the coffee table because she’d carry them off one by one and leave them in a line on the carpet. Never to let her in the pantry because she’d worked out how to get foil off things – we lost half a cinnamon cake and a whole side of poached salmon that way. To always put the cover back on the olive oil bottle - her favourite kind of lollipop. And never to leave the butter dish out because she could pop her paw under the handle and lift off the ceramic lid.

After we lost her sister we feared for her a little. How would the loss affect her? How would the household dynamic change for her? But she has been amazing. And while she didn’t entirely fill the Gracie-shaped hole in our lives, she rose to the challenge with panache. And became more sociable with visitors - as if she knew that the feline greeting responsibility had now fallen to her.

Just over a year ago she was diagnosed with arthritis in her right hip. At times she found it frustrating and we were worried that she would get depressed. Yet she turned out to be as plucky as anything, rarely giving up on anything she wanted to do.
Her final illness took us all by surprise although, of course, the very day you meet that teeny fluffy kitten you know this horrible day will come. There’s no avoiding that. But we did spend a lovely weekend of cuddles, fuss, eagerly-devoured meals, Slanket snuggles and what turned out to be a last trot up the stairs, a last leap on the bed.
Home feels quieter and colder today, that’s for sure and we’ll always miss her. But she left her own pawprints on our hearts and will always be part of us.

Erin? You were awesome x