In loving memory of Margo, the best damn cat to have ever lived. / by Nasri Atallah

To have met Margo is to have loved Margo. When we adopted her in Beirut, the volunteers at the shelter tried jokingly to convince us to pick another cat. They were so in love with her they couldn’t bear to see her go. We promised them to send updates from her life in Beirut and later in London. She has a special place in the hearts of the dozens of our friends who have met her, and the hundreds who have followed her stories on social media. And it is impossible to express the role she has played in Nour’s life, and my life, and in our life as a couple. The world is an emptier place for having said goodbye to her this morning.

The pitter patter of her feet rushing to the door to greet as we unlocked every day, the way she shoved her face into my hand or my cheek when she was feeling loving, the way she kneaded on Nour every morning, the way she curled up between us in winter to sleep. I have no idea how we will cope without these beautiful moments in our life.

A month ago we found out Margo had congestive heart failure. Her breathing had become laboured and we had to rush her to the vet for two days of procedures and stablization. The outpouring of love we witnessed from friends and family made us realize just how special a creature she was. As if we needed reminding. As she emerged from the hospital, we were told we could have a week, a month, a year with her. It was heartbreaking. She was only 3. She was supposed to be with us for 15, 16, 17 more years. Over the past month we have rushed back and forth to the vet and increased her medication progressively. As of this week she was on 4 medications, 6.5 pills a day, 4 times a day. So much to bear for her tiny little heart and kidneys. Finally during the night last night her body stopped responding to medication. Her breathing was at an unbearable rate, and the liquid was returning to her lungs. Nour stayed on the phone all night with the vets, and this morning she took her in to do the only humane thing we could do. The vets said she is beyond being able to care for. They said it is a miracle she lasted a month given how acute her heart failure was. She's was a fighter, a resilient Lebanese cat. I am abroad and Nour had to go through with this final moment alone. I will never forgive myself for not having been there for them.

Margo was with Nour and I since the beginning of our marriage. She was a permanent fixture in our first home together in Beirut and, when we moved, our second home together in London. When the world seemed like it was falling apart, Margo coming to sit next to us on the sofa to watch something funny on TV made it feel like everything would be alright in the end.

She has given us more than we could ever give her. She helped me through periods of crippling anxiety. As my first ever pet, she made me empathize with the natural world in a way I never had before.

We loved her so much, our hearts shattered when we heard her diagnosis for the first time. They shattered when we came home and it was empty of her. They have shattered a million times since, and each piece continues to shatter. In the coming weeks we will come across her white hairs everywhere. It used to annoy us sometimes, but in the last month we came to treasure the marks she left on our lives. Her phantom presence will be unbearable.

We want to thank Sheldon, Varan, Annika and everyone who cared for her during this difficult month at Village Vet Highgate and the Village Vet Hospital in Hampstead. They are compassionate animal-lovers and walked us through this horrible time with care and empathy. They made sure Margo’s last days were as painless and humane as possible. And I want to thank our insurance company Petplan, who repaid — quickly and without questions — the thousands of pounds it cost to give Margo this extra month with us. And I want to thank Animals Lebanon for bringing her into our life, and for following up so many times about how she was getting along in London. We will be making a donation in Margo’s honour, and I hope to find a way to work much more with them from now on.

And most of all, we want to thank Margo for shining a bright light into our lives for every moment she was with us.

We love you Margo. We will miss you always.


Margo (2015 - 2018)