Monday, October 05, 2020


George came into our home when Eli 4.0 picked him out from a local shelter, and he stayed with us for over fifteen years.

He was an unlikely combination of Edwardian gentlemen and axe murderer.

This is a Camera Obscura lyric:

When you're lucid you're the sweetest thing

This is the single best sentence to describe George ever written. If you weren't on his pre-approved security list (which included only his family and children), then you were not welcome, and he would show you that with extreme prejudice. For much of his life, he would attack an adult stranger on sight, leading to a system of security gates that rivaled the Panama Canal. 

At the same time, he also loved every child he ever met unconditionally. 

Most of all, though, he loved us.   

George was a cat of steady habits, and those habits were such a calming influence on all of us. When Eli woke up in the morning, he immediately went downstairs to greet him. In the afternoon, he slept on the senior seat (a cat perch with steps) in the sun. In the evening, he would come upstairs and we would shout "George!" as if he had been away forever. 

Later in life, George came to prefer petting on the bed in the evening. If you caught his eye in the living room, he would turn like a horse and bustle down the hallway toward the bedroom, hoping to be followed. If you did, he would reward you with much affection and a thunderous purr.

Above all, if you were one of his people, George was a perfect gentlemen. 

If you hadn't fed him on time, he would walk up and politely bump into you. No explanation was necessary. He would then leave, and after an appropriate length of time, he would return if you hadn't taken care of your responsibilities. There was never any unseemly crying, because George didn't do that.

George had a specific list of things he loved:

Crinkly paper

Licking the bathrub

Being petted in the back bedroom

Sitting on trays

Sitting on the back porch

Sleeping on the senior seat

Rolling on his back when he was relaxed

Sitting beside you while you watched tv

George bustled. He didn't run, particularly as he got older, but he had this bustle that he employed when he felt urgent that was absolutely endearing. He looked like an old man speeding up to catch a bus.

A few years back, he developed severe skin allergies, and he scratched at himself so much that large patches of his fur disappeared. We tried multiple prescribed medications, but nothing worked, and his quality of life was so low. After consulting with the vet, we decided to put him on steroids, even though there were long term complications of doing that for an extended period of time, particularly with the other medical issues he'd developed. But it was the only thing left to try.

It worked out better than we ever could have hoped. George stopped scratching, his fur grew back over a period of months, and he began his golden era as an amiable pensioner with no cares. He became even more affectionate, which was wonderful, and he seemed entirely content. 

It was all lovely. And it stayed that way until he developed the lump on his face that started to cause him pain. Even then, he was steady. He was still gentle and sweet. 

I miss him all the time now. There are so many moments that were always George moments, and those moments still happen, only he isn't there. Even now I wish I could have one more lazy day with him, neither of us in a hurry, just enjoying each other's company.

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