So, 16 years ago, some friends of ours found a mother cat and her kittens hiding under their front porch. They offered us first dibs, and we took home two sisters. Names? The first thing that popped into my head was George and Gracie, named after the famed Burns and Allen comedy troupe of long ago. So George and Gracie they became. Gracie was the more shy of the two, ready to run at loud noises. But George wanted to get into everything. A couple times during their kittenhood, we were sure George had gotten outside, only to find her stuck in some impossible to get to corner behind the washing machine. So George became Adventure Cat, along with a few other nicknames (Doodle Dumbkins. Georgus Pussycattus, and baloney belly were a few.) She settled down (somewhat) as she grew older, but was always a spirited cat. A couple of months ago, she suddenly decided to revisit some of the habits of her youth, such as sharpening her claws on my right sneaker (it was always the right sneaker.)Looking back on that now, I wonder if that was my cat’s attempt to get back to “normal” even though she wasn’t feeling up to snuff.
George soon started to decline. She lost a lot of weight and stopped grooming herself. Eating and sleeping were her only activities. And she started having fits, lying on her side with her paws waving wildly (our vet said it was called “paddling.”) She had had a small fit a couple weeks back, after which she could not walk for a few minutes. This was on a weekend, so Barbara and I decided to wait and see if it happened again, which it did two weeks later. And this fit was far more violent than the first.
So to the vets we go, and find that George has lost an additional pound in the six weeks since we took her in for her physical. The vet ran some tests, looked at George’s history, and said the fits were most likely a symptom of cancer. So now our poor cat, who doesn’t much seem to be enjoying life anymore, is going to have ever-more-frequent fits. We talked to the vet at length and decided it was time to put her to sleep.
I cried. Barbara cried. We held little George (and she had become smaller in her illness), wrapped in a towel. The vets had given her a sedative, and she looked as peaceful as we had seen her in months. The vet gave her the final injection, and she was gone.
It is amazing how attached one gets to ones’ animals. George had a pretty comfortable life, until the end. And I’ve got one final story to tell.
George was a self-centered cat, with this odd streak of oblivious behavior. We live in an older wood-frame house, and we get mice from time to time. Gracie is the mouser in the house. The poor rodents never stand a chance. Gracie had gotten the mouse out from behind the piano, and the rodent fled in terror, directly across George’s front paws. George did not even look down at the mouse crossing her path. She was interested in more important things, like dinner.
So goodbye to Georgus Pussycatus. Having her as a part of our lives really was an adventure.