Farewell to Sharni

Born in the early hours of 2 March 1995, Sharni was the last and smallest of Min’s first litter of seven kittens. She was also born not breathing. As it was the first litter I’d ever had the privilege of breeding, I didn’t know at that time that sometimes this happened, and I was determined not to let her get away with it! So I swung into action – literally – to force liquid from her mouth, and rubbed her little tiny chest to get her heart beating. And all of a sudden she took a big gulp of air and the rest is history. Her pedigree name, Akachan, means baby in Japanese and as all the litter had Japanese names, that was ideal for Sharni.

I could have sold her several times over but after that start in life there was no way she would be leaving the home! So along with her sister Suki, she stayed and the feline household doubled from 2 to 4.

Sharni loved kittens when she was younger and was a fabulous auntie and half-sister to other kittens that came along to both her mum Min and her sister Suki. But sadly she was never able to be a mum herself, and after a couple of attempts, we gave up and I had her spayed. She then went out onto the show bench and managed to get the title of Premier. She was frequently described as having a “typically evil Burmese expression” which was so perfect, it suited her to a tee.

But she wasn’t evil at all. She was a tiny little bundle of joy. Despite never being a lap-cat, like the others, she would grace you with her presence, deigning to be cuddled but only ever choosing a lap to sit on in her own time. She liked to play in the garden, lazed in the sun, and played fetch just like her mum. She liked her head stroked, but woe betide you if you stroked her tummy and didn’t move quickly enough!

As she got older, she began to take a dislike to kittens. They played with her tail, and tried to jump on her, and she didn’t want that. So she got a bit grumpy and always retreated to high, out-of-the-way refuges when kittens were around. But she’d settle down again once they left home and went back to being her usual self.

Apart from problems with her teeth, Sharni was generally in good health. It was a shock when she began to lose weight, just slowly at first, but at her annual health check at the beginning of June she’d dropped to 2.6kg. Gerard Clarke, her vet at Willett House, suggested we keep an eye on her and all of a sudden it started to fall off her. She went straight onto the same kidney tablets as Suki had been on. I hunted high and low for food to tempt her to eat; tried her with treats, the “liquid gold” Fortol that Suki had had; but whereas Suki went through a period of rallying before each successive crisis, for Sharni it wasn’t to be. By the end she had dropped to 2.1kg, her muscles had wasted away and eating was painful. It wasn’t hard to realise that this was her time – the only hard thing, as always, was the doing.

She slipped away almost instantly as the injection was given. I’d had some time to sit with her beforehand, and she was still alert to what was going on around her. But her body had given up. It wasn’t fair to put her through any more. I’d seen her into this world, literally given her her life, and now I was going to be instrumental in taking it away. She was curled up on my lap, choosing to stay there, as her life ended. Finally, she wasn’t in pain any more. She’s with her mum and her sister and my Bengal cat Looney, and they are all restored to health and playing in the warmth at Rainbow Bridge waiting for the rest of us.

Thank you, Sharni, for the love you brought to the home. Those of us still here all miss you.