Karma the Cat ran out the clock on his 9th life on Friday 17 February 2006.

Although we used to joke about how grumpy and irascible he was, in truth he was the gentlest of creatures and he left this world the way lived in it: quietly and without protest.

In the end, it wasn’t a coyote that got him: there was no grand stand-off; and he did not need to engage his tiger aspect.

We got the results of his nasal biopsy on Wednesday. The news was not good: They identified a high-grade tumour in his nose, a malignant lymphoma. The treatment options for this kind of ailment are pretty horrible and there was no way we were going to subject Karma to them. Besides, Karma hadn’t eaten anything for the last two weeks. Even though his breathing seemed easier and a little less congested since his hospital visit last week, he was still suffering the occasional spluttering and gulping spasms and he was showing no interest in any food.

We knew what we were going to have to do. We could not watch him starve to death. Yesterday was bright and sunny and Karma spent several hours out in the backyard before coming inside and curling up on our bed. This morning was cold and grey and I rang and made the appointment for 11:20.

Karma had lost another pound since we last weighed him: 6.7. They put us in a room with a couch and while L settled up I let Karma explore and he ran up to the window and looked out at the garden and snuffled and sneezed on the glass.

We had arranged to stay with him, so they took him away and a few minutes later brought him back wrapped in a blanket, with a catheter fitted to his forearm. It was still shaved from his IV last week.

They explained the process: two injections, first a sedative to relax him, then the other one. We sat on the couch together and watched the light go out of his beautiful golden eyes.

To my ex-flatmate, Sonia Dawson, wherever you are: if by some chance you read this, thank you for introducing me to Karma, and thank you for entrusting us with your cat. We tried to take good care of him over the last 14 years.

This afternoon the world is missing a creature of elegant grace, and I have a cat-shaped hole in my heart.