This has been a very sad week in our house. We said goodbye to our fluffy cat Wellington. He was born on 11 January 1997 and died on 24 March 2011 - 14 years old is a pretty good age.
His parents were Brujeana Scallywag and Brujeana Meeka Blueorchid. Some of his grandparents and great grandparents were champion and grand champion show cats. That wasn't ever going to be an option for our Wellie because he didn't cut the mustard as a show cat.
So he ended up living with us in Leeds.
He had a particular liking for tuna, cheese and home cooked chicken. I'm not too sure what Morrisons are going to do now that we won't be buying so many of their chicken breasts - they're bound to wonder why sales have dropped so drastically.
We couldn't make toast without him trotting in to the kitchen for his own slice with a good coating of butter of course.
One of his very favourite pleasures was being brushed, and brushed and brushed. Whatever you might be doing he would come up to you meowing and you were absolutely required to follow him to the rug in the front room. There he would flop down just waiting. And the purrs would just start and never stop until you did.
Wellie was mainly a house cat but he did go out on some adventures. In his younger days he used to jump over the back fence and scuttle around in the undergrowth eventually coming home with all sorts of foliage stuck in his fur.
When he discovered that there was life away from our garden we often had to go in search of him when it was time to go to bed. Shouting his name as we wandered up and down the street he would appear from a neighbours garden with not a care in the world as he nonchalantly strolled across the road oblivious to the dangers of any oncoming traffic.
Fun times included chasing frogs around the garden and occasionally bringing one into the house carefully nestled in his mouth. He never once hissed at, scratched or bit any other cat or human.
Our garden seems to be a mecca for neighbourhood cats and Wellie wasn't at all territorial - he would just sit at the door or look out the window as trespassers wandered around his patch.
Wellie was never short of admirers. If he sat at the front door passers by would often stop and comment about him. When the doorbell rang he usually made for the hall stairs and would sit there staring until the caller had either gone or they had come in and he judged it safe to see them.
He wasn't popular with everyone though. My brother (Trevor) doesn't like animals at all. So when he came to visit it was as if Wellie could sense that Trevor didn't care for him so Wellie would be all around his feet and making a nuisance of himself.
On the other hand a number of people would have been happy to take him to live with them, especially Laura, my sons partner.
Wellie had been unwell for a while - he had cancer - so he was on borrowed time. I don't think there is a good way to deal with these things. When one of our other cats (Willow) was poorly we asked the vet to put him to sleep before he became too ill and his quality of life was so bad. We beat ourselves up for that for a long time. Wellie died at home but it was a difficult decision again. He was really poorly, experiencing very regular seizures - the cancer had gone to his brain. So we agonised about whether we should ask the vet to let him go.
In the end nature took control and we were there when he died.
So a fond farewell old chap - have a great time with Willow and Horlicks (our first cat).