He arrived from the Cats Protection League almost seven years ago. I didn’t really want a cat but the rabbits were increasing and some bright spark suggested that a cat might be the solution. I had chosen a young female black and white cat on the website, but ‘oh no’ they said, ‘what you want is this old ginger tom’. Initially he was quite alarmed by everything and hid as much as he could. Bit by bit he started to show his true colours by being friendly with most people (noisy children excepted) and he couldn’t understand when non-cat people didn’t engage with him. He would hear a car drive in and then go and wait to ‘greet’ the customers and then follow them round chatting with them. He began to get quite a fan club, some folk demanding to see him.

He was also extremely territorial. There had been a feral cat in the area but George must have put up a good fight (judging by the scratches he had after several fights) and won the place to himself. More difficult was that he extended this need to defend his territory by wanting to attack any dogs(regardless of size) who came to the nursery with their owners. I had to lure him away with treats and lock him in the shed un til they had gone. One time he did succeed in scratching an English terrier which went off with a bloody nose.

There was the time he joined in with the coach party who were having lunch, he behaved like a hungry Labrador scrounging off everyone. Then the time he helped us herd the sheep back into the next door field, he followed our actions while miaowing at the sheep meaningfully.

This cat gradually became most important to me, we had routines, I didn’t like to leave him for any length of time and he was a great companion following me around most of the time that I was at work.

Sadly he started to go downhill a couple of weeks ago, he hardly ate anything and moved, if he moved, much more slowly. I was on red alert and very anxious for days on end. Friday was his last day. He is now buried near the bonfire pile a place he liked to be when I had a bonfire and it was also a good hunting area. He never did get the rabbits but was a good mouser.

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