Remembering Stanley

Stanley at the door.
Stanley at the door.

Sweet Stanley on January 3, 2007, enjoys the winter sun, warming him and perhaps reminding him of younger days. He was just about 25 years old, still eating breakfast with the gang, still finding his sunny spots, still sleeping with me.

Today, January 15, is the 10th anniversary of the day Stanley left us for a new existence. To think it’s ten years is interesting in two ways: on the one hand that it’s only ten years, since it seems only a few years ago, and on the other that ten years ago seems decades ago with all that has come during this decade.

When you live with a household of cats and regularly rescue and foster, they arrive, stay for their time and leave too soon whether it’s to a wonderful adoptive home or after they’ve spent a lifetime with us, and in that time they become vitally intertwined with our own lives and those of our other animal companions. All cats take a part of you with them when they go. A cat who’s been with you as long as Stanley takes a big part of your history from your present and puts it into your past, and marks the end of an era.

Stanley came to me early in my rescuing history when it was never presumed I’d find another home for the cats I took in. He was fully adult when his big green eyes first looked through the kitchen door one day in 1986. 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 of antics and an ice storm to get his point across. What took me so long?

And when I let him in, I just opened the door and in he walked, mingling with my cats with no quarantine, marking the end of the era of misunderstanding feline health and welfare in the way I’d grown up to learn it. 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 of his life with me to teach me, and to resolve the issues he carried until he was thoroughly done with this mortal existence and ready to move on.

Stanley was with me for 21 years, and that’s a lot of history to share. He was present for all the new rescues and additions up to and including Lucy, except for Kublai, Sally and Allegro, the three of my permanent household who came before him. He saw me change jobs and begin and end relationships, buy a house and start a business. He slept on or near my desk or easel through lots of late nights as I worked my day job and came home to work my freelance business as I prepared for my self-employed career. And he inspired one of my most enduring feline paintings, one that encouraged me to greater achievements, to use the techniques I’d used in his painting in my landscapes, to actually sell my paintings, join art organizations and pretty much consider myself an artist.

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 left 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 with me 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.

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.

You may recognize the painting, below. This is Stanley as I’ll always remember him. Read more about this painting, and view a few more posts featuring Stanley.

pastel painting of cat in sun
“After Dinner Nap”, pastel, 1996, 12″ x 10″ © B.E. Kazmarski

The same day I took this photo of Stanley in the morning sun, I took the photo of Lucy in her garden that I featured recently. Looking back on that now, I find it an interesting juxtaposition.

Read other Essays and stories about Pet Loss on The Creative Cat.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!



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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Stanley

  • January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    A fine story about a mighty fine cat.
    They often remind us how quickly time passes.
    This March will mark 6 years since my old boy Mickey passed.
    Maybe it is that I am getting old that I notice the quick passage of time so much.
    Nancy and the kitties

    • January 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Each cat has their era. They are such a deep part of our lives while they are here. And time does seem to fly, for sure!


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