This week came news of a couple whose much loved eight year old dog was diagnosed with some hideous terminal illness. Instead of just waiting for the inevitable, they  decided to make the poor critter’s last months as joyous as possible. To this end, they created a bucket list. This included such treats as eating an ice cream, running on a beach, playing in the sea, and fish and chips. I thought this was all a bit mawkish to be honest, but something else was brought to my attention that made me go, ‘Hmmmm.’

In the i there came a story from one of the columnists whose vet had a dog that was diagnosed with some fearsome scourge, and not expected to live more than a few months. His reaction was to make things as nice as possible. Every day, on the way home, he bought a rotisserie chicken to share with the dog. Seems as if the dog liked it, since it’s stuck around for about a year. Maybe the pampering made the dog so happy it managed to get a bit more life out of itself.

It’s odd I should mention this, since you will know, if you’ve been paying attention, that I’m not really a dog person. I don’t dislike them, some are fun, but for sheer irritated enjoyment you can’t beat the delights of a cat letting you share its airspace. The interesting aspect is that if your cat becomes very ill, it will be even more pig-headed and spiteful than it is when in the peak of health. A bucket list for a cat would be doomed to failure by feline intractability.

You cannot take a cat to the seaside without risking losing limbs as you struggle to get it into the pet carrier. When you get to where you’re going, the cat will refuse to come out. It’s not going to run on a beach even if the devil himself were in hot pursuit. Cats and water do not play nicely together, so you can forget it taking an invigorating dip in the briny. Your cat’s going to spend all its time trying to bring down gulls, and getting savagely pecked for its trouble.

It will turn its nose up at fish and chips, unless they happen to be your fish and chips, in which case it will be all over you like a cheap suit. It will already have stolen your ice cream on principle. It is not going to sit in a police car or a fire engine to have its picture taken. It just isn’t, under any circumstances. Forget it. However, the good news is that you can pretty well ignore the prognosis. Your cat is going to hang on to life like a sailor to a liferaft. It won’t go without a fight, because it will be determined to make your life a bloody misery for as long as possible.