Sweet Stanley, on one of his last mornings, enjoys the winter sun to warm him and perhaps remind him of younger days. He was just about 25 years old.
I haven’t written Stanley’s rescue story or much about him, partly because I’m working my way back from the cats who’ve been with me since I’ve been writing The Creative Cat, nearly four years now. When you live with a household of cats, they arrive, stay for their time and sadly leave us too soon, but they are intertwined with our own lives and those of our other animal companions. Stanley was with me for 21 years, and that’s a lot of history to share. I’ve been reviewing photos for months, years really, and I’m constantly surprised at what I’ve forgotten. Some day soon, I’ll do him justice.
He was fully adult when his big green eyes first looked through the door one day and with all those tabby stripes, white whiskers and big white mittens and a white diamond between his eyes he asked to come in as if he’d been sent on an important errand, though it took him a couple of weeks and an ice storm to get his point across. Surely he was sent with all the lessons he had to deliver about feline diet and health, emotional needs, patience and understanding, and it took him all 21 years to teach me, and to resolve the issues he carried until he was thoroughly done with this mortal existence and ready to move on.
The veterinarian who examined him at his first urinary blockage guessed his age at between three and five, so I took the average and figured he was four. He was the most troubled cat I’ve ever known, suffering from constant urinary issues and acting out from the chronic pain, finding a reason to pee on just about everything I’ve ever owned and once biting me so badly and narrowly missing the artery in my right wrist that I spent hours in the emergency room being filled with antibiotics and pain killers. But he was sweet and silly and apologetic so I covered much of my house in sheets of plastic and learned to understand what he was telling me so that I could help him through whatever physical or emotional crisis caused him to act that way. He was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure at age 21 but survived four years of my treating him with fluid therapy, wrapping him in a towel and sitting on him to hold him long enough to give him a therapeutic dose, and supplements thanks to my veterinarian’s patient guidance.
I apologize to him now—I had remember the date of his passing as January 25, 2007, but it was actually January 15. He was the last of the four senior cats I lost in the space of one short year; losing the oldest last added a finality to it.
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