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Requiem for Vespa

It’s been a long year since we last saw you. Those bright golden eyes, always alert, always serious, are emblazoned on our hearts. The last time we saw you, you sat on the kitchen window-sill in Wakkerstroom, surveying the perfectly sunny January morning with those intelligent eyes. Your shiny black coat was glistening in the sunlight. We were just reversing out to take the dogs for a romp at the river. We smiled knowing you would likely go out and sleep under a bush somewhere. You sometimes spent the entire day sleeping at home, making us smile. Other days you were out. You always made sure you were back by six for supper.

We miss you, our bold and brave kitten. You hopped into our lives, a tiny thing with a slightly crushed paw. You were hungry and neglected and we lost no time in sweeping you up and into our lives. We know you chose us. 😻

Our first picture of Vespa

Despite the fact that you suffered from motion sickness, you loved to travel to places with us. You were legendary amongst our friends and family who couldn’t believe that we could travel by car for hours and then simply let you out. Off you would go to explore, leaving us uneasy at first until we learnt that you would always come back to us – in time for dinner and then to sleep, plopping onto our bed in the early hours or curling up with the dogs.

One of the many contraptions we made for your comfort

Off to explore …

The dogs were your brother and sister. When we we took them for a walk, it wouldn’t be more than a minute or two before you would shoot past, your tiny body a black streak in the grass. You would dash ahead, then roll confidently in the dusty road, waiting for us to catch up with you. Coming home was an unspoken race to the back door, one that you would always win, no matter how far behind you were.

We’ll never forget the first hike we took you on in the valleys surrounding Graaff Reinet. We reached a stream. The dogs waded across. You paused and, glancing up at Geoff, you allowed him to toss you onto his shoulder. Always calm, you watched trustingly as he picked a way for you both across the rocks. Upon reaching the opposite bank, you wriggled to be put down and danced ahead once again. After that, Geoff’s shoulder became your safe place.

In Fourways Gardens you owned a big territory! You defended your turf often at your own cost. Smaller than the other neighborhood cats, you were never going to retreat. We lost count of the number of trips to the vet for torn ears, infected scratches and nasty gouges. You were a street fighter, brave and fearless. In Wakkerstroom you even had a bite from a meerkat and we teased you because it was on your bum, meaning you must’ve been retreating! Poor Hobie wanted to be your friend, but you only hung out with dogs…and tortoises.

In Simonstown your grandpa built an electric fence around the back garden to keep you in, as we were so fearful of the busy road. Then we’d be woken by you in the night, miaauwing at the front door to be allowed inside. You’d collapse purring on our bed. Astounded at how you’d gotten out we eventually saw how you would climb a tree and leap over the fence onto the neighbour’s roof to escape. You needed your freedom and no one was going to take it from you.

Our monkey-pants, nothing can fill the gap you leave in our lives. We still listen for your trademark call, announcing yourself with confidence as you would trot up the driveway in Jo’burg. We still hold our breath thinking that we hear you leap up to the bathroom window in Wakkerstroom. Jimmy misses your ‘help’ around the house and in the garden. It’s lonely without you. When we watch tv at night, your long, warm body is tragically missing from our laps, and at night the absence of your weight on our legs is a hollow pain in our hearts. Although you were small, you had such a big personality.

We’ll never stop wondering what happened to you. How we have searched and called and sobbed for you, Vesp. We know you would never leave us. We suspect a servil or a snake won a final battle with you and we guess it would be the right way for you to go. Defending your turf, feisty and brave to the end – in Wakkerstroom, where you were born and were you must have died.

We love and miss you beautiful Vespa. ❤️
Paddy watched the driveway for a sign of you for many an evening. You were his favourite cat.
No other animal can fill your slinky shape.
No one else will ever be able to go from crazy-rabid-biting-spitting cobra to soft-warm-purring-fur angel in 30 seconds quite like you do.
Thanks for coming into our lives and for bringing us so much happiness and for leaving us with so many wonderful memories. 🐾🐾

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4 thoughts on “Requiem for Vespa”

  1. Awe! Xxx This is so lovely Nikki. ❤️ I’m sure not a day goes by that you don’t think of Vespa. But those are really great memories.

  2. I will always think of you each 4th of Jan Nikki, the day Vespa disappeared. What a beautiful requiem you wrote. May Vespa always live in your hearts and memories.

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