The Hardest Goodbye

I have said a lot of goodbyes this week. Some people are very casual about it and in this day and age with the internet, email and the genius that is skype, that is understandable. Some people are very emotional. But one of the hardest goodbyes I have had to say so far was to my girls. My girls are my two cats Sultan and Saba. They have been a daily part of my life for years and already, I miss them.

Sultan is seven and a half and has lived with me for seven of those years. She was a street cat in Turkey and I fell in love with her and took her in. We then came to the UK together, via quarantine on her part, and she has always been part of my life in London since. Saba is four and a half, rising five. We met in London and she quickly slotted right into life with us.

Watching boys

Every day I used to wake up with Saba snuggled up in the crook of my elbow and Sultan asleep between my feet.  They would keenly lead me to their dishes for breakfast. Saba would keep me company when I had a bath. Then when I returned home from work or errands Saba would always excitedly be right behind the door and get in the way as I tried to get inside. She would lead me up the stairs where Sultan was often waiting at the top and would swat at Saba playfully before they both skittered into the kitchen. If I was reading or watching television in the evening they would be nearby, Saba normally sat next to me and Sultan sat on my lap. When I cooked they would both magically appear hoping for a titbit. Sultan would often sit at the end of the kitchen counter, a distance from the food that she knew I trusted her with, whilst she was still able to keep a keen eye out for stray bits of tuna or cheese.

The plan while I was overseas was always for my mother to look after them. She lives in the countryside and has a large garden for them to explore. The only slight fly in the ointment is that my mother has an elderly cat. Mum’s cat is 22 and, against the odds, is showing no signs of giving up on life yet. We are all surprised at her, but she keeps going and as long as she is happy and not in any pain, why shouldn’t she? We are reluctant to introduce my two whippersnappers into her life though, as it wouldn’t be fair on such an elderly cat.

Birman and Tabby cat

Fortunately a colleague was keen to foster them while I am away. She had them while I was in Spain last week and rather than keep moving them back and forth across London, I thought it kinder on the girls to leave them with her while I have been moving house, packing etc.

Today, during my lunch break I went to visit the girls. They recognised me and curled up on my lap, purring while I brushed them. I was so excited about seeing them again but at the same time, worried about saying goodbye. Somehow though, seeing them strolling around happily and confidently and demanding attention settled me. I could see they are both healthy and happy and I think that made me feel more comfortable about leaving them. Walking away from the two cats who have been fantastic company for so long and who have brought me many laughs over the years was really difficult though. I am looking forward to updates about them while I am away.

Last family photo for a while


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