Our previous cats – one purebred, two moggies – were adopted as kittens, less than a year old.

We had hoped to age gracefully alongside our beloved ginger, Mr. Oates. We were devastated, left forlorn and bewildered, when Oates got suddenly ill and passed away at the age of 9 last year.

We certainly did not expect to be in this situation, and at our age it seemed unwise to get another kitten – who might live 15-20 years. Would we just have to give up on the idea of feline companionship. Now that was a depressing thought.

In March we saw a Facebook notice about Stanley the white and brown tabby. He was going through his own later life crisis. Adopted as a rescued kitten, Stan had lost his home and his family in middle age when the older man who he lived with had to go into a nursing home. He had a brief stay with the older man’s relatives, but they had two other cats who couldn’t get along with him. He was lucky to get placed in a no-kill shelter who took him to a foster home. At least he wasn’t stuck in a cage in a humane society.

Older guys like Stanley face a grim future if they are homeless. They probably have a 50/50 chance of ever being adopted and it can take months, if not years for the right person to come along.

He needed us; we were pretty sure we could fix things for him. He came home with us a week or so after we saw the Facebook notice.

It took Stanley a few days to decompress; it took him a few weeks to get comfortable with us. Nowadays his gentle nature is coming to the forefront:

  • He’s responsible. Stan uses his litterbox religiously, and he respects our furniture. He knows what a scratching post is for.
  • He’s playful. For an older cat he has lots of energy, and he loves to chase after a wand toy, or bat around a catnip bag.
  • He’s a lap cat. We were not sure he would be at first, but now most nights he’s happy to hop up beside me on the couch, crawl onto my lap, and PURRRR.
  • He’s not an all night cuddle bunny, but he will hop up a few times during the night to get warm. He stretches out, mostly on Maria’s side of the bed. He is a hot water bottle.
  • I think he will become my afternooon nap buddy before too long. He’s taken to snuggling with me for a brief time after lunch.
  • Finally, Stan has a profound attitude of gratitude for having been given a second chance. Cats are singular beings of habit; that said, they have much to teach us about adapting to crushing lifestyle changes or being content with simple pleasures. So many cats in our area are cruelly dumped in rural venues where they end up cold, hungry, sick, lonely or in a world of pain. We are saving one old soul from such a fate. He is grateful.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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