At 17, I lived in a semi-rural area just where the speed limit relaxed. We lost a lot of cats to that road. Before Suzie we had Alice… Tim and Will… Jessica and Jake. I know I’m forgetting some too. The blood of a thousand kittens is an odd way to lead an obituary but Suzie was clearly already doing something right to stay alive next to that bloody awful road.
An obviously beautiful cat, Suzie surprised people when she played like a feral. Being as rough with people as she was with the dwindling local fauna earned her a reputation. But if you gave her time —and treats— and she’d purr her little head off, sleeping on your bed.
It’s perhaps hard to understand why somebody might go all the way to blogging about a pet but Suzie was there. Through the biggest changes in my formative years. That meant just as much to the introverted, maladjusted bedroom hacker I was then, as it did to the introverted, maladjusted father I eventually became.
After university, Suzie and I moved in with my girlfriend at in Southampton. Away from my mum’s legion of cats and dogs and the introduction to several students to worship her with salty processed meats, and a warmer climate to relax in. The local vet quickly described her as “slightly round”.
Suzie never shared well, which became a challenge when I found an abandoned kitten in our garden. It took her some time to adjust to the arrival of Sam. But they eventually learned to get along.
Then we moved to Norfolk and they got space to roam.
Life slowed down. If you’re younger, you probably won’t appreciate this, but once you start to settle into working life, the things that change around you become much, much slower. You live somewhere for ten years instead of ten months. The people you interact with daily fit a pattern. And again, Suzie was a constant; just there.
Right up to her death in January 2017, she spent her days hunting invisible butterflies, purring for no good reason, and dodging the golden retriever puppy and then the baby. Suzie had a fuller life than a lot of other cats and despite her outward prickliness to others, I know it was a happy life. I still have the scars.
It’s 2022 now, five years since Suzie died. Five years since I started writing this post.
Time does weird things once you settle down. If I listed the things that have happened to me, the things I’ve done, they’d look like the 2000 days worth of stuff… But I can still taste the air in the vets when I went to collect Suzie; see the expression on the vet’s face and feel their arm as I started to cry; see my blurry phone as I dialled Harri to tell her; and then trying to drive back while not wanting to take my eyes off the cat on the passenger seat… All like it were yesterday. It’s an interesting feeling.
I wanted to finish this post to leave some sort of enduring record. She was a good cat, and everyone should know.