Our sweetest girl, George, passed away today peacefully in our arms. While we did opt to assist her passing, ultimately kidney disease is what took her from us. The disease first manifested itself back in 2008, when she passed a painful kidney stone as we were deploying to the Hurricane Dolly relief operation with the Red Cross. This disease inevitably worsens, notwithstanding tightly controlled diet, subcutaneous hydration, and careful monitoring and veterinary care. Honestly, we are so thankful for all the years we've had with her, well in excess of what we were told to expect.
George and Angel on their first full day at home. They'll grow into those enormous ears.
George came into our lives as a kitten, on the same day as her "sister" Angel, who is really from a different litter. They both came from the shelter in the spring of 2001. After a full day of hissing at each other, they became good friends, at least at the start, and we have many photos of them sleeping together. In their later years, George would bully Angel, and probably the best way to describe their adult relationship is détente.
Shelters learned long ago that pets, even kittens and puppies, are more adoptable if they have names, and when we got them, we liked "Angel" enough to just keep it. (We later discovered that it was somewhat misleading, as "angelic" is not how we would describe her.) George's shelter name was "Patch," and neither of us cared for that name at all. We brought her home and ruminated about names for several days.
Come to the light.
We discovered in short order that she liked nothing better than to be held and loved and even squeezed tightly, and I could not help being inspired by a childhood memory of this scene from the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon, The Abominable Snow Rabbit:
The first time I said "I'm going to hold her, and love her, and squeeze her, and call her 'George'" the name stuck, and thus we had a female cat with a male name. To the very end she still loved to be held closely, although she was so frail that we dared not squeeze.
Sometimes I squeeze you back, daddy.
George loved confined spaces, and we'd often find her peeking out of boxes or bags. When she was still a tiny kitten with big ears she crawled into Louise's motorcycle helmet through the visor area, and then was perfectly content when we closed the visor.
Can we go for a ride?
Take me shopping.
We still lived in a condo when we got her, moving to a different condo just a few weeks later. Shortly after her third birthday, she began her peripatetic life, starting with the car as we shuttled back and forth between San Jose, California and Sumner, Washington for monthly checks on the progress of the bus.
Unlike her sister, who suffered from a bit of motion sickness at the start, George settled in comfortably to the traveling life. Moving onto the bus was a big adventure for her, with many new spaces to explore, and transitioning to the boat was better still. They have been indoor cats their whole lives, but on the boat she was allowed to roam the decks at anchor, which she loved.
Each of us has had many pets over the years, and for the last 13 years we've always said that George was the best cat ever. She loved people, would purr just from proximity, and climbed into the bed between us for warmth and cuddles. We will miss her terribly.
She spent her final day doing what she loved -- climbing onto our laps for morning love on the aft deck, and lying on the deck in the sun. We gave her a final dose of subcutaneous ringers last night so she would be as comfortable as possible today. I am very thankful we were able to find a vet to come to the boat, so she could spend her final moments in comfortable and familiar surroundings.
Goodbye, George. You will always be the best cat ever.