Willow was born in Kingsley Road, Bedford. Her mother, Bramble
was a British Blue and her Father Aleel, a longhaired Persian Blue. She was born in mine and Gemma's bedroom on a school day, around 1993. It seemed to us as though Bramble had been pregnant for ages. So long in fact, that we did not bother running up the stairs to check on her that day. It was Ma that found the new family when she came home from school. Willow had two brothers and a sister. Sadly, her twin brother died in Gemma's hands when he was just a few days old. He had been the weakest kitten, and despite our every attempt to hand rear him, he was not strong enough for this world. Willow, her brother Moth and sister Cobweb ruled our house while they were growing up. They climbed the curtains, ran around the kitchen, and intimidated the other cats. Cobweb and Moth moved out when they were 12 weeks old, but Willow stayed. Her favourite sleeping position was upside down in your lap with all four paws in the air. Cobweb, Moth, Bramble and Aleel have all since passed away - all, tragically, in car accidents.
I could not say that Willow was a hunter, but she did enthusiastically chase leaves in the autumn. Then she would bring them in and give them to you. I think she caught a bird once, but Gemma's says it was probably dead already. As she got older Willow became a much more sedate creature. She snoozed on the window sill, or under the table. When she was hungry she used to sit directly in front of you and stare, until you got the message. She liked visitors, especially if they wore black trousers. She could ruin an entire outfit in seconds. Willow always jumped on the guests. Of, if not, she made entertaining farting noises from behind the chairs. Hopefully, through her nose, but not always.
I could say that Willow's face was 'remarkable', but 'odd' would fit the bill better. Her nose was so squashed into her face that if you laid a piece of ham on the floor she would have to spend hours trying to lick it up. She loved to drink water, generally from a pint glass with her head stuffed half way down it. She was a very patient cat; even just days before her death she had been picked up by Charlie (Age 2) and hauled into the sitting room, back legs dragging. She never scratched or complained (much). Charlie was the last of many nieces and nephews to make friends with her; I am sure she loved them all, even if she could hide in under 30 seconds at the sound of a human under 2 feet tall.
The last thing I saw Willow doing was eating grass in the front drive. She had gone out for her evening stroll. No doubt she was headed across the road to find a meal from one of her many neighbour friends who kept her in the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. I never thought Willow would be killed by a car. She was an elderly and contented cat. She had been very sick recently and I always felt that I would find her curled up quietly under a table someplace. The suddenness of her death does not suit her. Willow never rushed anything. It took her an hour to eat breakfast. Taking a bath took the whole day. Willow taught me lots about patience, gentleness and gratitude. She has inspired some of the best cat photography in our family. She was the best cat and she will be sorely missed.
RIP Willow, see you in cat heaven. I hope there are leaves, window sills, tables and pint glasses there for you, and no cars.