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  • Her name is Snowflake and she is 15 years old now. We see her every summer when we visit the grandparents, and every summer we fear it may be the last.

    She was a wild cat really. She came out of nowhere as a kitten and adopted us. She never moved inside the house, but she would show up at feeding time and sleep on our veranda. She used to be a pristine ball of white fluff. Now she no longer cleans herself so thoroughly and big patches of dry skin show through. She used to be playful and loving. Now she cannot hear so well, she jumps and scratches when you try to stroke her.

    I looked at her ageing, diminished body in disgust. I thought of all the germs and unsavoury behaviours she might be displaying. And I told my younger child: 'No, don't touch!'

    But he ignored me. 'Poor kitty-kitty!' he said, bending down to caress her, not at all frightened or dismayed by decay. I loved the fact that he was a better person than me. I hope he will be as tender with me one day.
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