FEB 26 — Dylan arrived back home this week. He came by FedEx in a gold bag with a silky black tie on its handles bearing the words “beloved pet.” The ribbon was the colour of his coat, thick and glossy till the end.
Cats fall victim to busy roads, are taken by predators or fickle by nature simply find themselves a new home. Not Dylan. He hung around, clocked three transatlantic flights to suit our nomadic lifestyle and enjoyed his nine lives to the full despite the threat of fox attacks in London, a bite from a deadly cottonmouth snake in Texas and the tropical heat of Malaysia making him lethargic and, well, rather fat.
We picked him and his sister up from a North London animal rescue centre. That was 11 years ago, and a privileged life he has led ever since, never far from a pinch of catnip, welcoming lap and a tasty tidbit.
His rapid weight loss since Christmas ought to have rung warning bells; it is sometimes convenient to overlook the obvious.
“He has a cancerous tumour the size of an orange,” Dr Schwarz timidly reported, adding it was an abnormally fast-growing tumour. The veterinarian at The Humane Society of New York on 59th and First was about to give Dylan his annual rabies vaccine when she discovered the lump in his abdomen.
The Big Apple can be a hard, cold city to live in. But every so often, someone, a stranger, surprises you: the very warm gestures of Dr Schwarz, a lady devoted to her job in a seemingly overworked, understaffed, budget veterinary practice, touched me.
“He went the right way” is what she said as we made our teary exit. She had put three other cats down that Saturday; at least one for all the wrong reasons.
I have thought about these parting words on many occasion since. He did go the right way. But NYC will not be his last stop: the ornate tin containing his sand-colored ashes sitting beside me as I write this will accompany us to the UK this summer. My children will sprinkle them over the grassy lawns of our home there.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.