I’ve owned or been owned by cats since the age of four, and had many a wonderful cat in my life but once in a life time a cat really touches your heart and this is her story.

I remember the evening that Nina came into my life. I was off to buy take away Indian for dinner and just happened to pass a new pet shop on the way. 

What’s the harm I thought, so in I went. In this cage were two red tabbies, part Persian kittens. Well, they both captivated my attention and I stayed a while. The shop assistant asked if I wanted to hold one and I thought ok. I lived with my sister and her spoilt blue Burmese (who didn't like me, I might add). Eventually I asked the shopkeeper how much they were selling the kittens for – and he told me, $55.00.  ‘Ok’, I said, ‘I don't have that right now, can I come back?’

The shop attendant looked me in the eye and said, ‘what ever trouble I get into, one of these kittens will go to a good home, so pick one and you can have it for free.’

So Nina came home. She ruled the roost from that night; on my bed that night and she never left it for twelve years. I have so many stories that I will treasure always of her life so I will just tell a few.

Nina loved to be around people at all times, she would meet guests at the door with a ‘hello’ (this cat learnt to say ‘hello’ and even strangers on the phone would ask if that cat just said ‘hello’?) and if they ignored her she would sit in front of them (couch or dinner table) and talk to them until they said ‘hello’. That done she was happy and would find my bed.

I lived in a beach side suburb and one day my sister and I decided to walk down to the beach and Nina was close behind us; ‘meow, meow, wait for me’. Neither of us wanted her to come, so I took her home and put her inside. Not realizing a window was open, she jumped out and followed our scent. Not until we were to cross a main road 5 min away did we hear ‘meow, meow’ and realized she had followed us. She had her first visit to the beach that day, she didn't like the sand but the towel was great and happily she stayed by our side while one of us watched over her and the other swam.

I then moved to a unit, and had family come to stay. She loved the balcony where she could sun herself during the day and come in when it suited her.

I worked shift work at the time and left early one morning; Mum was up to say good-bye and so was Nina. As I left she ran to the balcony and put her head between the iron posts listening to me walk up the street. No amount of coaxing to come in by Mum to come inside would move her until she could no longer hear my footsteps - then she came in and demanded food.

I moved to her final home and she loved it. It had an outside courtyard with plenty of sun. She was getting on by now and, a visit to the vet revealed she either had kidney problems or cancer, what do I want to do? I said she would tell me when it’s time. She lost a lot of weight and could no longer jump on to the bed, but that didn’t stop her - she used the bedside table to help her to get on to the bed, so I told myself when she doesn't eat a meal that is the time.

That time came 18 months ago and even now while writing this I can’t help the tears as I miss her so much.

I have two beautiful rag doll boys now that I love dearly but I know that my once in a lifetime angel is waiting for the time that we meet again.

Heather McBain

Sydney, Australia

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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