My daughter Kylie rang me on Wednesday to tell me her nineteen year old cat Nala had died. Kylies thirty eight. A wife, a mother, a busy professional, but still I was filled with the urge as a dad to, ‘Try and make it better.’But all I could really do was sit in the car on the end of a mobile and listen.
Kylie adopted Nala from the Lost Dog’s home in North Melbourne. Nala was a three month old tabby with bright eyes and a healthy purr.I wonder if that tiny bundle of fur knew how lucky she was that day. How could that little cat have known that the young uni student gazing at her through the cage would not only give her a home, but of how that home and her life would be filled with love.
Kylie was on holidays from uni when her and Nala met. She was working at the Dogs’Home running a creche for the staffs children.I was working there too and Kylie told me yesterday of how when she first saw Nala she came hunting for me to ask if she could bring the kitten home. I can’t remember that. It seems strange now with Kylie all grown up to try and remember a time when I had to give my seal of approval to my daughters plans. But apparently I did give her the nod. The deal was done. The cat was paid for, the papers were signed. Nala had found a new owner. Nala had found Love.
The cat was there when Kylie finished uni . She was there on moving day when Kylie and her soon to be husband Terry moved into thier first home. On the morning of the wedding Narla was brushing up against Kylies leg not caring that a wedding dress might be special to shed fur on. When Lachlan number one child came home from hospital it was that little tabby that gave the boy the once over and decided, ‘ Yeah, he can stay.’
In the years that followed there was a couple of new houses. There was another son, another little person to for Kylie to love. A Labrador named Lex. A career as a social worker but through all the change there was still my daughter and the tabby.
The little kitten from the animal shelter became a cat. The young girl who’d stared through the cage became a woman. Some nights when Kylie watched TV Nala would be purched on the top of my daughters armchair waiting for her owner to break out the the cheezles. I’d never known a moggy who had a hankering for savouries. But Nala did.They reckon cats have nine lives. And I reckon my girl gave Narla enogh love and care to fill them all.Over the years that cat lost an eye and a few teeth. Dissapeared a few times, got sick, got better. Nala got patted, she was brushed, yelled at for hoping on the kitchen bench and in her final years got a bit confused about everything.
My daughter was there for that cat all through her journey. In the same way that she’s been such an important part of mine. Over the years I reckon I’ve given Kylie a lot of advice but when I think about it my girl has tuaught me a lot about life. There’s been many times over the last few years when it’s been me making the call and saying, ‘ What should I do with myself.’ And my little cat lover has always been there to encourage me in whatevever I’ve chosen to do. Having Kylie as my daughter, having her love, watching her care for the boys, for people and for Nala, moves me to tears.
Rest in peace Nala. Kylie, I love you.