Cleo, parents were siblings
born 3rd September 1966 was 16
when she died 5th November 1982
Richard died. in March 1966. He had been back with us for a few weeks longer than five years and was twelve and a half years old. At that time, we thought that that was a good life span for a cat. That was the first cat death in our family and he left us the happier for having known him but the sadder for losing him. Later the same year, in October, Tina also died. It was time, we felt, to think about another pet.
We looked around and found an announcement for kittens nearby. I went to have a look and found an Indian couple who had moved to England not long before, and with their new status of house owners had also thought they needed a cat. They did in fact get a brother and sister but were woefully ignorant of the facts of (cat) life and so the pair mated and produced two kittens. The kittens were very similar - both red and white but one semi-longhaired and the other long-haired. The little female had one eye - the left - that had not opened even though they were old enough to leave their mother, so, of course, I fell for her. Their owners told me that she had been weaned just that morning as she had shared their breakfast egg - they really did not know much about cat care! Luckily she was quite happy to move over to proper kitten food when we brought her home!. (My mother and father liked the look of her as well, so a few days later, they got her brother.)
We thought hard about a name so as to have an entirely suitable one. As she was beautiful and had a beautiful little voice and we were, and are, great admirers of Cleo Laine, the singer, we called her Cleo. Just to be a little more fanciful, we gave her the full name of Cleopatra.
We took Cleo to Mr Amsden to see if her eye could be properly opened, but he said that he knew about the mating and had explained some cat things to her ex-owners, particularly that in-bred cats were rarely fully healthy. He was only able to now cut cleanly both those eyelids so that she could open it properly, but the left eyeball was not properly formed as an actual functioning eye, so was just a pinkish blank. He said that if he removed that eyeball, it would take a lot more care and attention to prevent continuous infection, so if we did not mind the look of it, he would leave it as it was and I would just have to make sure it kept clean. Her tear duct on that side was not completely under control, so it wept a little, but a touch of antiseptic on my handkerchief from time to time made sure that her fur stayed dry and her eyeball clean. (Later, when she was sterilised, Mr Amsden said that it was just in time, as she also had ovarian cysts that would soon have killed her - again due to the in-breeding.)
As Cleo was so small and young, she had a shoe box for her bed to start with and even the small saucer for her food was bigger than she was! Myrtle used to take her out tucked in the collar of her coat and for a long day out to a drama festival she travelled in her shoe box. But, like Richard, the shoe box at night was rapidly left in favour of our bed. Later she travelled a lot with us when caravanning.
There is more of her history in the History chapters. She died aged 16 in 1982, not long after her best friend Koshka.