The Passing of His Plumpness, Sir Peter Gutridge

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Friday, 26th June 2015

Grahamstown is a city of serious animal lovers. It has been asserted that the standard of love and care people afford their domestic animals is indicative of how evolved and civilised a community is. An interesting and valid viewpoint. That being the case, Grahamstonians rate highly. The citizens of the Makana District are devoted to their pets and livestock. No less so than those who attend to their health and welfare. Dr Phillip Gilfillan is our very own St Francis. He is ably backed by a professional and extremely empathetic team at Grahamstown Veterinary Clinic.

My latest experience of this dedicated band of Animal Rights activists was during the last days of the precious Sir Peter Gutridge. My glorious soul mate was tended to with love and expertise, spent his last days pain free, warm and comfortable and died a natural peaceful death. One of dignity, befitting of an old gentleman. Death is always ghastly, but when it follows a life well lived and one slips off in one’s sleep, it is easier for one’s bereaved loved ones to deal with the loss. I salute Dr Gilfillan and his associates for their exceptional treatment, not only of His Plumpness, Sir Peter Gutridge, but of all the animals and their owners who have known their tender ministrations.     

All cats are perfect. Period. Big cats, little cats, cubs and kittens, Persians, tabbies, the whole bunch of these amazingly beautiful fascinating felines.

His Plumpness was no exception. Sir Peter Gutridge was a large, mink ginger and white tom with the softest fur and incredibly loving nature. He knew he was exquisite and born to love and be loved. Like Ruby Tuesday, he “would never say where [he] came from". He simply arrived, colonised our happy home and life was never quite the same again! A singular character and became locally very famous.

I found him resplendent on an orange silk cushion on the veranda couch, calmly washing himself. “But you are so beautiful!” was my involuntary exclamation. Obviously used to being complimented, he simply ignored me and continued his ablutions. I approached him and stroked him and he took it as his due, promptly purring and favouring me with a look of love. He then rolled onto his back and started to play with my hand which he caught and painfully clawed. We were joined by Jazz, my little charcoal grey, pink and white tom. Jazz was a damaged kitten and is the last of the great Mummy’s boys. Peter merely glanced at him, and although nervous and staying close to me, Jazz stood his ground. After another cuddle, I returned to my desk. We don’t know quite how he did it but His Lordship moved in and took over. He sprayed my bed, marked his territory, tolerated Jazz and adored Milly Bardot, our heavily pregnant teenage queen.  She gave birth to two mini Sir Peters! Later, kittens were homed and adults happily sterilised.

Written by KJ Guteridge

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