Denise: Our Molly was born in Worthen, Shropshire during a terrible thunderstorm in July 1995. She and her sister Meg came to live with us about six weeks later. J was away working in Germany at the time, and what a surprise it was for him when he came home! Becky and Catherine and I had it all planned: we said nothing when he came in through the door, but I pretended that the dirty laundry in his bag was, well, in urgent need of a wash, and told him to go straight into the utility and put it all in the washing machine. In he went and then it went quiet in there for a little while. Absolute silence in fact. Then “Denise, what have you been up to whilst I’ve been away!?” He’d spotted two tiny little ginger faces peeking out from behind the washing machine”. Of course he was really pleased: we’d recently moved back to England from Bavaria, where finding a place to rent where any pets are allowed is difficult (we were lucky Herr Lachmann tolerated dogs: he forbade cats entirely!). Well Meg and Molly moved here to Uist with us in 2002, and other cats have come along since. Meg died a couple of years ago from kidney failure: she’d had a good life, and though she’d shown some signs of something being wrong, it was quite sudden – and very very sad. It’s believed that susceptibility to kidney failure may be a genetic trait, and unfortunately we can now see the same symptoms in Molly. She doesn’t appear to be suffering much, if at all, but her metabolism is clearly out of kilter. We know now that by the time the symptoms of kidney failure are noticeable, it is already pretty much too late. There are treatments to relieve the symptoms and perhaps stave off the inevitable a while, but no cure as such. From experience with Meg, it may not be too long, but we’re decided that unless there is a real need for pain relief, we’ll just do all we can to help her live life to the full as long as she’s here.