I have been aware that for the last week or more Fremen, my cat, has become gaunt and tasting her food rather than eating it. She has been definitely weakening and I feared the worst. So this afternoon I booked her into Pet Planet, the local vet clinic, put her into a catbox and walked down the hill. She was sufficiently far gone that she did not protest against the indignity. In the clinic she did not object when a departing puppy came over and sniffed the cage.

The vet took a look at her and diagnosed that Fremen had a cancer in her. She was skin and bone and a cancer the size of a fist in her gut. Also by her breath the vet could tell that she was not drinking. It would only be a matter of days before the worst of the cancer affected Fremen. I decided it would be easier to have her put down there and then.

The vet left to get the lethal injection and a nurse to hold the cat. I tasted my tears and wept for the life of the creature I would permit to die. Her feisty tortoiseshell spirit showed through and she squirmed three times before she allowed the needle to sink in. Fremen, lifthrasir I name you. Since it must be so, she bowed down her head before the capsule had emptied its load. I rested my hand on her body, but she was gone.

I do not consider it a good death. It was not a death that I would wish upon any creature. I will collect her ashes next week. I hope next weekend will be blowy. If so I want to be on a high hill where I can scatter the dust of Fremen’s body and bequeath them to the winds. Old Swampy would be nice — I wonder if I can organise a ride out there. Perhaps some I can save to fertilise my pot of catnip. I think she would appreciate that.