Last weekend we said goodbye to our old cat Leyla, who was aged 15 years and 8 months.
She had been with us since late 1998, when it was just me and my eldest son Tony, who was 2 at the time. We had moved to Alice Springs the weekend she was born, her mother Midnight was a Russian Blue belonging to relatives of mine, Sue and Neville Otto. Out of the three kittens the little black and white one was the most adventurous, so they named her Leyland after the Leyland brothers. As she was a girl the name was shortened to Leyla, which turned out to be an Arabic name meaning ‘dark as night’ or ‘black-haired’.
She was with us for many seasons, for the 2 years of fulltime work and single motherhood in Alice Springs, for the years of marriage and babies after that. She was with us when we relocated to Quorn and set about building our own house, and for those awful years of Edi’s illness and death, the grief that followed, and the murder and court stuff that came after that.
Over the past summer she slowed down a lot, and as the months and weeks went by she gradually stopped doing the different normal routine things. Finally she stopped eating, and a week or so after that was gone. The final days were awful, they dragged on but she held on to the point where we had decided to take her to the vet, but she wasn’t having that, and finally died last Saturday morning at 9:30am.
I will remember her as a young cat who got along with everyone, then an older grumpier one. For 10 years she was the only cat in the house, and when we got Misty, she was in a bad mood for a year. She liked to be top cat and managed to exert her seniority on all others. Even though Misty was bigger and tougher and she wouldn’t dare start fights with him, he would always let her eat dinner first.
The garden is rather empty without her, no longer will she inspect the grounds morning and evening. I will miss how she used to talk when things got too quiet for her, she would try to talk with one of her meows sounding like ‘hello?’ and sometimes I’d hear ‘Mum’.
She chose her own final resting place, a spot near the pond where she would head before she was too weak to do so. Goodbye Leyla old girl, and thank you for all your love