Lola was one quarter of the Sweeting household. She had a lot of white fur, one green eye and one amber, and a personality that was a delicious combination of sassy and sweet.
We’d had Lola since she was kitten. A rescue had taken her in off the streets, where she’d been born alongside her brother, Toby, and a third kitten who was adopted by another family. We were Lola’s humans for seven great years, and we hope we gave her the best life she could possibly have had. She deserved it.
We’ve shared some wonderful memories, and these are a few I’d like to hang on to…
The time when we brought them home
Lola was undoubtably braver than Toby. She came out of the carrier first, itching to explore her new home. She gobbled up some food, played with a feather toy, and walked across Luke’s shoulders. At that moment, we knew she’d settle in just fine.
Lola was always happy. I know this because she was always purring. She purred in excitement as I prepared her breakfast. She purred when she played. She purred while she rolled around in the grass outside. She purred when you stroked her. She purred when you tickled her paws. She purred when you were in the same room as her. She purred when she found a patch of sun to bathe in. She continued to purr when she was in the hospital, and right up until the end, even though she was critically ill.
The time Toby went missing
In 2014, Toby went missing for twenty days. One day, Luke and I were sitting in the living room and wondering what more we could do to try and track Toby down. We looked up, and in strolled Lola from the back garden, carrying a live mouse in her mouth. It was the first time she’d brought an animal – dead or alive – back to the house, and even though we weren’t thrilled about it, we like to think she was trying to cheer us up with a replacement pet.
Her love of a blanket
Lola’s two greatest loves were the exploring in the garden, and curling up on a blanket, the latter of which we had in common. We have a myriad of blankets in our house, and each one is covered in her fur. She’d curl herself up into a tiny ball, tuck her face into her tail, and purr quietly to herself. Her other favourite places to curl up included our navy blue footstool, and any black clothing we own – perfect for a white cat to leave her mark.
The way she wanted fuss… on her terms
Lola loved to be fussed, but she made us work for the privilege. She’d roll over onto her back and make herself look as cute as possible, and she’d do it ever-so-slightly out of your reach so that you had to move to wherever she’d settled. Then, after a little bit of fussing, she’d move and do the same, so you ended up following her around the house just so that you could tickle her tummy.
The time she got stuck up a really tall tree
I went into the back garden, called Lola’s name, and heard her crying out to me. I spent ages trying to work out where the cries were coming from, only to spot her near the top of a very bushy, very tall tree. I can only assume she chased a squirrel up there and then panicked at the thought of coming back down. She was a mere white speck from ground level, and it took the best part of an hour to encourage her down the tree, one branch at a time.
The mornings when she’d be waiting outside the bedroom door
Toby and Lola would always be waiting outside our door in the mornings. While Toby would take my leaving the bedroom as a sign that it’s breakfast time, and shoot off down the stairs in anticipation, Lola always followed me into the bathroom. She’d lie down on the bath mat and watch me as I’d brush my teeth and wash my face. One day, she even jumped up to the sink and made herself comfy.
The time I picked her up from the cattery
When Luke and I went on our honeymoon, Toby and Lola went to stay in a cattery. When I went to collect them, I walked along the corridor where their pen was, and Lola must have heard me chatting to the owner of the cattery, because when I reached them, her face was pressed up against the cage door, and she was meowing in excitement at my arrival.
Her night-time escapades
Lola’s favourite time to frolic in the garden was dusk. I’d often look out of the kitchen window and see her leaping around on the lawn, trying to catch insects as the darkness set in. We don’t have a cat flap, which meant we had to cajole her into the house at bedtime. Sometimes, like a stubborn teenager, Lola wanted to stay out late. I’ve lost count of the number of times we had to try and trick her into the house with a trail of Dreamies, all the while acting nonchalant, as though we couldn’t care less whether she came in or not. If she thought we were trying to get her in, she’d shoot off down the bottom of the garden and make you do a 5K in your PJs.
The time she teased Toby
When Toby was five months old, he fell from a first floor window and broke his leg pretty badly. He had surgery to have it pinned back together, and then had to spend time in a cage while he healed. Lola used to sit on top of the cage and dangle her paws down to poke him on the head, and then sit just out of reach when he tried to retaliate. The ultimate sister, no?
The time she learnt how to open doors
If Lola wanted to go into our kitchen in the old house, she would jump up onto the third shelf of the bookcase, and push down on the kitchen door handle with her front paws, releasing the catch. She’d then jump back down to the ground, and push the now released door open. I was in awe every single time she did it.
The times when she would steal our seats
They say cats are manipulative, and I have a lot of first-hand experience of this. Lola would sometimes jump up onto the counter in the kitchen, knowing that we’d see her from the settee in the living room. We’d jump up to go and get her off the counter, and before you could say “Bob’s your uncle”, Lola would have jumped down off the counter, run into the lounge, and curled up in your warm, recently-vacated seat. Then she’d meow if you tried to move her.
The way she’d let me hold her like a baby
From day dot, Lola was happy to be held. She’d stretch out on her back in my arms, and let me carry her around the house like a baby. She’d quite happily stay there until my arms got tired, closing her eyes and purring quietly.
The times when she would chat with me
The house is terribly quiet without Lola. After me, she was probably the chattiest member of the household. She had a wide variety of sounds, from sweet meows to cute chirrups. Sometimes I’d speak back to her, and we’d have a back and forth “conversation.” She didn’t do this with Luke, it was like a special bond between me and her.
The way she looked thoroughly perplexed every time I serenaded her with my own version of the ‘Copacabana’ song.
I changed the lyrics, obviously, so they were more in keeping with a cute white cat with pink ears than a showgirl, but she used to stare back at me like I’d gone bananas.
We miss you terribly, Lola. May you rest in peace.
14.8.2013 – 4.10.20