When people have lost pets (cats in particular) I’ve heard some say “what’s wrong with her, he was just a cat.” Obviously they have never known the unconditional love of an animal.
George was the best cat I have ever had the privilege to share a small part of my life with. There have been many cats throughout my life and one, Stubby, was a close second. He was my childhood cat and I remember vividly the day I lost him.
I knew George from the time he was days old. His mother had been a stray in our yard. There are rarely cats outside where we live due to the predators of fox, eagles, owls and coyote. I realized that she was hungry and determined.
We fed her outside and tried to coax her towards us. She was a stunning cat and voracious hunter. In fact, it has taken years for our chipmunk population to bounce back! After winning her trust we found her hideout, an abandoned chicken coop over the hill next door. She was hunting to feed her kittens- 3 of them.
George was hiding amongst the gathered “meals” and trash in the abandoned coop. His mom, who we named Stella, refused to leave until we had all 3 of her babies. Stella was a wonderful protective mother cat. All 3 kittens looked very different from one another, but George was the spitting image of his mother. I knew I had to keep him. We found homes for Stella and the other 2 kittens, thankfully, since we already owned 2 yellow labs and a finicky cat. Our house was a bit chaotic while Stella and her babies were here. We kept everyone separated by floors, rotating dogs, existing cat Simon and the new little “family”. Stella was determined NOT to let anyone hurt her babies! It took Simon many many years to recover from Stella’s attack. His life flashed before his eyes when cornered in the family room.
George in bag
He had long hair resembling a Maine Coon cat, big tufted feet and a gentle demeanor. I used to say he was aggressively affectionate. He would sit beside us and gently reach his paw towards your face until you paid attention to him. He could have been petted for hours at a time if we had all the time in the world to give him. He adored our oldest yellow lab. They became fast friends and George truly mourned Sandy’s passing later in his life. Our other lab, Ginger was a suitable substitution, but I knew that George really had held a soft spot for Sandy. Even animals mourn their loved ones.
We will lay George to rest between Sandy and Ginger out in the backyard. We are down to one cat standing…but with loss comes the hope of new beginnings. I think that a puppy might be in our not too distant future.
So, at the risk of sounding like a crazy cat lady I write this short blog. I was truly touched by him and felt a certain bond. Maybe it is my age? maybe it is because we knew and raised him from his beginnings, or maybe it is simply because I love animals. I mourn each one when they go- some I mourn more than others. I guess that is the same with the mourning process of the loss of people too. I still get choked up when I talk about him. That will pass with time.
May our love for our animal friends never fail them or us.
George and Simon spending time together