Pastille might be my favourite among our six cats. Maybe not. This was her resting this evening after a hard day in the sunshine.
Cajoled by Lauren, we bought brothers Pastille and Pippa in autumn 2011, and another kitten, Bob. When they played together, rushing up and down the stairs, Pastille always came off worse. Slightly smaller, and less inclined to fight-play. So I made Pastille a promise: “I’ll always look after you.”
Pastille and Pippa both had a sex change about one year later. Pippa became pregnant and then the vet, when neutering Pastille, noticed she was female.
Pastille needs the most love of our six. She insists on eating separately from the others, and if the litter tray is unclean, has been known to shit on carpets and under beds. So she has been cursed more regularly by me than any of her peers. The other five all venture out into the fields at the back, and catch vermin that they bring back for our inspection. Pastille stays within the garden, and often the house.
When she was about three, at our previous house, she was basking in the sun one day when a monster tractor came growling past in the field at the back, spraying fertiliser. I watched her sprint at greyhound speed towards the house, and then take off through the air when the garden ran out. She hit the back wall of the house about five feet up in the air, and then stayed at this height, running round two intersecting walls like Spiderman, before dropping down to ground level and disappearing into the house. Amazing and hilarious.
A couple of years ago she was very poorly. Her coat was tatty, and her fur falling out. She was constantly either scratching her fleas or licking herself. And shitting everywhere. Her weight had fallen to the extent that lifting her was like picking up a nearly empty shopping bag. We had the brainwave of feeding her fresh, uncooked chicken, and it worked almost straight away. The weight went back on, the fur flourished and the fleas disappeared, helped by medication. No poo on the carpet for well over a year now. She clamours for the chicken each afternoon.
Sometimes when I’m sitting in the lounge she quietly sits down next to me. And then a purring makes itself known, rumbling away like the inner voice of the universe. It is the most perfect thing.