Cape Verde workers collecting basalt for use in local constructions – photography by Fernando Guerra on display in Oporto at Galeria Colorfoto, until October 17th. Exhibition catalogue available online - Entre Reportagens.

I wonder now what she must have thought, behind those green eyes, as I invaded the sacred territory of a life shared with the one she deemed to be her only companion. Who is this man? What brings him to our place, invading our time of cuddling, when the night falls and the world belongs to just the two of us? I ignored Cinza just as she ignored me. Not for contempt or lack of affection. It was, in fact, the opposite, for when it comes to cats one should always respect their own time and space.

Two weeks passed. I thought she would never offer me the compassion she candidly expressed for the woman I would one day marry. And there I was, distracted by some kind of business, when she came walking through it all and surprised me with her first sand paper kiss. Wonderful Cinza.

If you ever lived with a cat or a dog you know they are all very different. Not just in temper but in regard to intellect. Yes, I said intellect. Cinza was, and probably always will be, the most intelligent cat I have ever known. And so we gave her the nickname of “cat-person”, for her clarity, profound affection, neediness, jealousy, for all the magical things that made her the brightest presence in our home for years.

Cinza left this world, as I held her in my hands, last Sunday, joining our little white dog that passed away two months ago. Every life begins soaked in pain and perhaps a new life began that very moment. A life that Cinza will not be a part of, but in which the memory of her gestures, her hugs and kisses, her scent, will always be a part of us. May everyone know, at least once in this lifetime, the miracle of love and purest devotion that Cinza blessed us with, the most extraordinary cat that ever existed.