This is our beautiful Mille. Of course one should not have favourites, but I do love a fluffy coat, yet not so long that grooming is a nightmare. In addition Mille had such a sweet nature, while being every inch feline. If anything, she was my husband’s cat but I adored her. She arrived at 8 weeks old, together with her brother, in the early weeks of the year 2000 – the millennium. He was even more beautiful, being ginger and white as well as fluffy, probably the prettiest cat we have ever had. Due to the timing of their arrival we called them Mille (pronounced ‘Millie’) and Lenni.
Very sadly, we lost the gorgeous Lenni to a massive, sudden thrombosis when he was hardly six years old, but the vet said there was no reason to suppose Mille would be any more vulnerable than any other cat, and she was perfectly healthy for years. It was Mille who developed the skill of leaping out onto the lawn from our bedroom balcony, teaching the trick to her brother and then, later, to Gulliver.
Mille reached the age of 12 without mishap, but then in March 2012 seemed a little off colour. Nothing specific and not, alas, sufficiently to alert me to the need to go to the vet, for which I continue to blame myself. A day or two later, shortly before my Big ‘O’ birthday she had a sudden huge heart attack and was gone. It was a terrible shock and took the edge off my birthday celebrations. I was the more upset because I felt I had let Mille down, not reacting as I should have done to her being on the quiet side. I am usually more on the ball than that; if in doubt I am at the surgery yesterday rather than today.
How grateful I was for the loving support of cat-loving friends. In particular to France Bauduin who told me that her queen, Laila, would be having kittens soon and that some,at least, were likely to be fluffy. While the thought of a new kitten was a great comfort, we knew that we had to be careful about whom we introduced to our rather tricky dynamic. The last thing we wanted to do was upset Adora Bubble again, or indeed Odette. They had just about learned to go round each other; peace had broken out and we wanted to keep it that way. We thought we should have a boy to keep the balance of sexes and we needed a bit of a softie. France is wonderful at being able to predict the nature of any kitten born in her household, and when I saw this recommended little fellow looking at me from the screen I felt sure we had found the right candidate to fill our job vacancy. His name grew from looking at his face, for he reminded me of someone . . .