Farewell to the cat's pyjamas
Back in 2006 during PJ Pan's formative days I had re-negotiated my full time role at a party planning business and I began learning about cottons, pattern cutting and clothing manufacture from our home in Surrey. It was then on one dark wet day, while I was plotting PJ Pan's future, that I spotted a nervous little kitten on our lawn.
My instinct was to offer it shelter and food, but the poor little thing was terrified of coming near me. So I left a window open and put out some food and water. Gradually the little black cat became more confident but it wasn't prepared to stay in the house, even on a filthy night.
After making fruitless enquiries locally we assumed it was a hungry abandoned kitten. For several days it would come and feed but was certainly not 'our cat'. Nonetheless we decided to give it a name and for reasons we are now unable to remember, we determined it to be a boy and plumped for the name Pablo. The barriers were very slowly broken down and eventually we gained enough trust to be able to hold Pablo and he was even prepared to stay in the house. Having achieved this milestone we were able to take him to the vet, who advised us that the cat wasn't identity chipped, wasn't very well, wasn't a kitten and wasn't a boy! It turned out our 'Pablo' should have been named 'Paula', was severely undernourished and estimated to be around 8 years old. Contrary to the vet's suggestion we stuck with the name 'Pablo'.
As time went by she became stronger and her affection towards us grew, as ours did towards her. It wasn't easy, not least because we were committed 'dog people' and had no intention of owning a cat, but our appreciation of this particular feline grew beyond anything we could have imagined. She moved house with us twice and relatively graciously welcomed the arrival of a puppy with whom she ultimately became very fond, if a little impatient with his upbeat nature.
We will never know the story of Pablo's early years, but the vets generally agreed she had at some point suffered a trauma or maltreatment. Thankfully during the past eight years she enjoyed life in comfort, spending much of her time asleep on a boiler or quietly watching the world go by from her bed, or sometimes from the back of a sofa. She was never the most active or adventurous of animals, but she somehow charmed us everyday.
Sadly she fell ill recently and this afternoon died peacefully in my husband's arms. In reality she had shown scant interest in the pyjama business, but she has been part of our story and with us every single day PJ Pan has despatched orders. She was, to us, the cat's pyjamas.