31 Letters in 31 Days: Letter 19 – Dear Del

Dear Del. (Tuxedo cat)

Penny found you scrabbling around in a bush near a busy road, with a ripped mouth and fear in your tiny face. You were so tiny; I was scared of breaking you just by looking in your direction, as you explored our small house, attacking everything that moved. I suggested we call you Del, because our hamster was called Rodney and we were all (me and the kids) going through an Only Fools and Horses phase. When the vet fixed your little mouth, you looked the picture perfect pet, the sort you see in adverts on the telly. I wasn’t there to give you all the love a cat needs when they’re a kitten, and for that, I’m truly sorry. I’m sorry for all the times I’d shout at you and lash out when I wasn’t myself. I would rewind time if I could and start again. I’d play with you and not scream when you’d wake me up at 4am, hungry and damp. You didn’t mean anything by it. You’re a cat for crying out loud, your routine is different and I should have accepted that. For years, I didn’t stroke you. I hardly even looked at you because I had ‘more important’ things to do. I didn’t, of course, but that’s what I thought. Everything was more important that family. I’ve never been so wrong. I am trying to make things up now, now when your whiskers are long and your sleeps can last for a day. Your best friend died last year, left, broken on the roadside. You were depressed for weeks, hanging your paws and head over the side of the sofa. It was a difficult time for you. But now, it’s so wonderful to watch you play, at your magnificent age, and listen to you purr when I tickle under your chin. I love you, handsome cat.