Today is one of those bright and sunny days when we’d expect to find Arthur – whose ashes were scattered at Chorlton Brook earlier today – eagerly jumping in and out of windows. An excitable scamp he’d enter one window, run through the house, and go out through another as if discovering something magic; confident and bolshie he’d deliberately push anything left on a window ledge to the floor. While he died too soon, it was fitting that he died at the end of a day like that and that he has been scattered on another fine day.
Arthur wasn’t always so happy. Rescued on 4 September 2005 from the RSPCA’s Altham Animal Centre after two failed rehoming attempts, the loss of his front left leg had left him too timid for a family. For his first three weeks, time indoors was spent hiding behind a chair, a place he’d return at the sound of anyone unfamiliar outside.
Katharine’s and my list of things to remember comes to twelve pages, far too much to incorporate in his eulogy. We will remember Arthur as a little hoodie, the kind of personality that would ride around on a bike pretending to be confident but afraid to be seen; hanging around with his apparent girlfriend, Ruby. But then, given that he came from a species of loners, he could seem surprisingly generous. He often visited nearby sheltered housing, joining residents for their coffee mornings. And he used to give me the most amazing head massage, working methodically across the scalp with his tongue it made for a quarter-of-an-hour of bliss.
Most of all Arthur enjoyed hunting on the banks of Chorlton Brook, in which he waded in search of fish, and despite his disability was quite effective. We’ll remember being woken by the sound of magpies; Arthur had one in his mouth while two others tried to force him to let go. Katharine fetched his treats and he accepted an honourable withdrawal from the fight.
Having rejected his cat bed, he’d kick Katharine for more room on the settee and we’ll miss surrendering it to him at the end of the day, along with his happy greeting for when we got home.
He was an outdoor tyke, who often got into scrapes (his first time out saw Katharine panic at the sight of him crying, apparently stuck on a tree branch overhanging the water) and it’s nice to return him to the place he was happiest.