|Medi, always a basket case.|
In May 1992 I was 23 and living with my new (now ex) husband in our own home for the first time. I had wanted a cat for a long time, so after seeing an advert in the local newspaper I drove to a modern housing estate just a mile from where we lived in Caernarfon where a semi-feral cat had adopted a sympathetic home in order to have her kittens. Apparently she did this every year, and once homes had been found for the kittens the cat would disappear into the wild again. The homeowners named her Nionyn (local Welsh dialect for "Onion") and had nicknamed her three black kittens Mini, Midi and Maxi. I paid them £5 and took eight-week-old Midi home in a box with a piece of the blanket she was born on for comfort.
I changed her name to Medi, which is Welsh for September (the month I was born) and also a bona-fide Welsh name.
My husband wasn't too pleased about the new arrival. He loved cats, but his own childhood cat, Tigger, had died just a few days beforehand and he and his parents hadn't got round to telling me. Neither had I consulted him first about our new kitten. Never mind, she was very cute and I was sure she'd grow on him.
In fact, she turned out to be a truly horrible antisocial cat. She bit, she scratched, she hissed and growled. As a kitten she climbed my legs with her claws, and the first time we took her to the vet for her injections he suggested we never bring her back. My dreams of sitting in front of the fire with a purring cat on my lap evaporated. Medi was never going to be a lap-cat, and she almost never purred. We referred to her as "Medi-evil" or "Satan's Little Helper". When people came to visit I had to warn them not to try to stroke the cat, and there were often tears when children failed to heed the warning.
We considered giving her to an animal shelter for rehoming except that we knew she wouldn't be rehomed. Who would deliberately take on a sociopathic cat? And that would mean she'd have to be put down. So we were stuck with her.
But she was an excellent mouser. In those days we were living in a rambling old vicarage with outbuildings which had formerly been stables and a coach house and they were riddled with rats and mice. Once Medi reached adulthood we had dead rodents on the doorstep every day for several weeks, and then were never troubled again.
She was also very understanding and intelligent. About four years ago a stray black cat came in through our cat-flap and adopted us. We named him Salem, and although he looked a lot like Medi he couldn't have been more different. He loved being petted and cuddled, and purred and miaowed constantly looking for attention. In fact, if the children were asleep he would butt their hands and faces until they woke up and fussed him. Needless to say that was extremely annoying because the children got no sleep. But Salem was (naturally) terrified of Medi, and Medi suddenly took it upon herself to sleep on the foot of Ceri's bed thus ensuring that Salem would keep away from the children at night. After a couple of weeks we took Salem to the Cat's Protection shelter and he was rehomed, and Medi went back to her usual habit of going outside at night.
As she grew elderly (and apparently she was 140 if you believe in cat years) Medi tolerated being fussed a little more, and even seemed to enjoy being held. She may not have been a particularly nice cat, but we loved her anyway. She has been part of my life for a long time and I will miss tripping over her. The funeral will be in our garden at 5 p.m. today.