Anne had Cuddles put to sleep today. When we got back from holiday, she wasn't right - clearly not been eating or drinking much (despite the neighbours being in every day to check on our cats) - and a test yesterday revealed that her kidneys were (to quote my lovely wife) 'rubbish'.
Cuddles came to us in 2005, having been brought to Anne's surgery as a stray, having been hit by a car. She had a broken pelvis and a very knackered hip joint, which never really healed properly, so she was always a bit 'dot and carry one'. Probably not helped by being hit by a car twice more while we had her: not one for learning from her mistakes, wasn't Cuddles. Her original name (I think given her by someone else at the surgery) was Amy, but James christened her Cuddles. Which went really well with the X-men naming scheme we followed later...
Despite that, she was a remarkably good mouser. I have many memories of waking up at 3am to loud cries of 'mowwwfff! MOWFFFF!!!!!" - picture a cat with a rodent in its mouth, trying to say 'mouse!' and you get an idea of the noise. And it was always my side of the bed she'd settle down (after a sleepy, 'yeah, whatever, cat') and the next few minutes would contain crunching noises and a mental note to watch where I put my feet (and shake out my slippers) on the morning.
She had THE most impressive whiskers - Anne likened them to a Babylon 5 Shadow ship - and they'd practically meet in the middle if you scratched her under the chin. She was definitely the most 'lap cat' of ours, and (poor thing) did get beaten up on by Rogue and Callisto (and even Gambit).
Gonna miss her. The mice will heave a sigh of relief though, as the threat of the Black And White Death will fade slowly into legend.