The white cat is gone, into the quiet earth beneath the hawthorn tree beside Kasha, and Lilith, and Bubble, and Pip, and Beemer, and Squeak.
Goodman was the last of our Old Brigade, the succession of amiable, fascinating feline personalities who've been with us almost since we started living in Ireland. Not having one of them in the house today feels very strange.
Richard brought him to our back door sixteen years ago, a small damp scrap of off-white fur he'd found stuffed into a hollow tree half-full of water and left to drown. Why our back door in particular?
“You’re the only people around here with cats as pets. Could you take him in? Or should I just knock him on the head as the kindest thing?”
Richard's a farmer, not given to being sentimental about animals, so he was just giving us the practical option - but by then the damp scrap had climbed onto my shoulder, and that’s where he fell asleep.
End of discussion.
Goodman had lots of adventures, including some very silly ones like catching a leveret, discovering baby hares with nothing to lose are FIERCE and not knowing what to do next. (We rescued him, took it back into the field and after being threatened ourselves, let it go.)
Then there was the time he tried catching a duck and came back green to the waterline. All we needed was some gold food-colouring and he would have been the star of St Patrick’s Day. Some fur from the ginger tomcat up the hill would have done it too; there were frequent exchanges of opinion that Goodman always won.
And there was the time he caught and somehow choked down an entire coot. We thought he’d been poisoned and took him to our vet, who couldn’t stop laughing when he showed us the X-ray: beak, neck, feet, the lot, all crammed inside. Mineral oil and time put things right, and Mr Goodman was rather less greedy from then on.
Today it was time to help Goodman leave a body that was old and tired and failing, and move on to a new one. So I lifted him onto my shoulder where he’d been sixteen years ago.
And like the first time we met, that’s where he fell asleep.
He was our friend. They were our friends.
Good-night, kitty. Good-night, all.
(This little eulogy is also here on Tumblr, with some photos.)