We weren't initially sure about adopting Willow. Not that we didn't want her: I think we both fell for her charms the first time she wandered into the house and ran past us, we just weren't sure that she would settle somewhere new.
She was so nervous around people, running for cover if you approached, complaining loudly if you picked her up: so when we first agreed to adopt both her and Charlie we took him in first and waited for him to settle in...and waited...and waited.
The truth was, however, that he just wasn't happy without her and so we opened the door and let her in. For about the first half hour she stood and miowed at the door asking to go out and then, without any further complaint, came and sat next to me on the chair, asking to have her belly rubbed.
From then on she became famous for her loud demands for fuss and attention, poking her nose into my food, even starring on many of my conference calls for work where the inevitable question "Have you got a baby there?" would be met with my, "No, that's just Willow"
Willowpuss had a very distinctive method of going down stairs, two paws at a time in a bunny like lollop which always caused her bell to jingle as she went. On a hard surface her constant tap-tap-tap was like a woman walking in stilettoes and she had to fight Charlie for food: choosing to pick and return later.
When Charlie died in 2010 she took it as a signal to take over the rest of the house and would come and join us on the bed, or sometimes be found hiding under the covers looking for warmth. She was much more of an indoors cat, being somewhat elderly, but on a good summer's day she would venture out into the back garden and sit in the sun by the shed or, in the winter, she would be found in her bed by the radiator.
When Giles first arrived she was not overly impressed, and objected several times by weeing on the bed until we were left with no laundry other than a sleeping bag to huddle under and she finally realized that he was staying. On the whole they got along after that, although Giles would sometimes chase her around the house and she rarely came onto the bed again after he made it one of his places.
Miss Willow had been having kidney problems for about three years: had been on special food, when we could keep it away from Mr Giles and, more recently, on nightly pills for her blood pressure and kidneys: but other than that her health had mostly been good until this last five or six days when it became obvious that she was not eating properly. She even turned her nose up at cheese, when she had previously been famous for hearing a slice of cheese being cut from forty paces. Also she was spending a lot more time sitting on laps, something which had always been a rarity. She even sat on Herself's lap, which was almost unheard of.
Finally it became obvious that she was losing weight and having some trouble climbing onto the sofa. Then on Sunday, yesterday, she was struggling to walk in a straight line and this morning it was clear that she had been distressed and over-preening herself.
We took her to the vets first thing, realizing it would be cruel to make her suffer any longer, holding her and stroking her until it was over. Herself and I stood in the car park afterwards, holding each other in the rain.
Goodbye sweet Willow puss, we love you x