Friday, June 25, 2010

The importance of cats

I am very, very sad to say that our beloved cat Mika was struck by a car on Monday and killed. I debated for a long time whether to mention this on my blog. People who aren't keen on animals will probably think, "What's the big deal? It was just a cat." But I think blogs should cover events of significance, and for me this was one of those, though not in a nice way.
We adopted Mika in 2007. We were driving to the riding stables in our then home in Germany, when we saw a very young kitten in the road. As we were miles from the nearest house, the kids were very anxious about it. Eventually I was persuaded (reluctantly, I am sorry to admit) to go back and look for it. The stables provided a cardboard box and we took its small and very fierce occupant to the local vet for assessment. He had to put on a kevlar mitt before examining her, as she was doing her best to defend herself with claws and fangs. He pronounced her female, starving and too unwell to be immunised for the time being. "Are you sure you want to keep it?" he asked me doubtfully. The kids looked at me pleadingly...and that was it. A new addition to the Grant household, and the plans we had had to get a little dog were scrapped.
Mika's endearing habits and ways would probably not mean anything to anyone outside our family. But as this is a writer's blog, I would would like to say that Mika was the only living thing I could stand to have around me when I'm writing. I never try to write anything when the kids are at home, and my husband is banished upstairs when I am working. Even Ginger, our other cat, is not particularly welcome since he is terminally restless, and can't seem to tolerate my sitting at the computer for more than 3 minutes; his demands to be let in and out are vociferous and hard to ignore. Mika, however, could happily sleep in the space between the keyboard and the screen without disturbing me at all. Sometimes she even slept on the printed-out manuscript of The Glass Demon (my friends suggested she was editing it). She was the perfect pet for a writer - and I miss her terribly.


  1. I found this very sad to read in your blog. Anyone who has had a cat would never say "it's only a cat"! Two of mine died within two months of each other two years ago and I still miss them. I still have an ex-stray tomcat who wandered into my garden ten years ago and decided that this was where he was going to live from then on. Cats seem to choose their owners, not the other way around!

    Anyhow, I'd just like to say I love your books. I've always been a Germanophile (not sure that's the right word?) and love their folk tales/legends. It's nice to read a story about Germany that doesn't name check WW2 (although The Vanishing of Katharina Linden didn't quite manage this!).

    I loved The Glass Demon and very much look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

  2. Hi Emma,
    Thanks for your sympathy. I still miss Mika really badly. We are getting a new kitten next month, as our other cat Ginger is lacklustre and lonely without his "sister". But you can never replace a beloved cat, only start a new story with a different one.
    Glad you like my books! I do try to steer off WW2 as a theme - I lived in Germany for 7 years and would love to show modern Germany to other people. It (WW2) appears as the background to The Vanishing because it was helpful to some plot elements - in 1946/7 there was a lot of hardship and chaos in that part of Germany which is why the disappearance of Gertrud was never solved.
    I'm working on a third book also set in the Eifel region of Germany. After that I'm hoping to set one in my current home of Flanders!

  3. I know the feeling of losing a feline friend. My writing companion of 12 years had a stroke in late January. Though the pain of losing her is less each day, I still automatically look for her to join me at the computer when I write; or to crawl into bed just above my head or sometimes at the feet of my husband. My only consolation is a true belief that she is running free in some form (spirit or heavenly) with he two siblings who died before her.

    I can't wait for your books to reach the U.S. and to be available in e-book form.

  4. Hi Maggie,

    Yes, I feel like that about Mika too...I keep expecting her to be there. We are getting a new kitten next week, not as a replacement, but to keep our other cat company as he has been listless and unhappy since his friend died. Mika was irreplaceable but I'm hoping the new kitten will cheer him up!

    My first book is out in the States now since 10th! I really hope you will enjoy it!

    Best wishes, Helen