Ten years ago I bought my first house, one with a catflap and 'outside space'. I had come back to England after living in the US with a wish list - house, pets, boyfriend, family. Ben and Homer were the pair of cats I liked best at the cat rescue place and they came home with me the day I saw them. Foolishly I left an upstairs window open and Homer, always the braver of the pair, made his escape within hours. Six weeks later, after much searching and leafleting, I collected him from a very kind lady and her daughter who had been feeding this black and white stray who matched the description. A friend joked that Homer was a poor name for a cat who so clearly had no idea where his home was.
The cats moved house with me several times over the next ten years and were laid back, healthy, affectionate, grumpy and quirky in the way that moggies are. Homer was the more zen of the two, with an old soul gaze and slightly stoned eyes. He headbutted me when he wanted attention, wailed when he wanted food, got into scrapes, loved being outside and sat by me whenever I was sad.
I had to put him down on Friday night. Good bye, Homer. RIP.