The first time I heard about Ashlee's cat, Stanlee, I dismissed the details she used to describe him. Actually, it was ONE detail that she used to describe him, "fat." Most everybody currently has, or has once owned, a fat cat, I thought. And if you didn't own one, you saw one once upon a time. Hell, I had one growing up, Miss Priss (I even have a nice 4-inch scar to prove her existance).
So for Ashlee to say that Stanlee was the fattest cat she'd ever seen, I had to scoff.
The first time I met Stanlee (in which he was trying to dart out the apartment door), I forgot about everything Ashlee had said about him. The only words that came to mind, the only words that could do justice, were, "holy crap, that's Fat Stanlee?" Seriously. Huge. My first reaction was to pick him up, almost to prove that I could. I think my back wasn't ready for the slight strain. You see, Stanlee wasn't just fat, he was a big cat -- and a bit overweight. A big, orange, wide-eyed, lightly-striped fat cat, to be exact.
My first encounter with Stanlee was easy and pleasant. After he got over the urge to leave Ashlee's apartment, he quickly relaxed and settled in right next to me on the couch. That's when I noticed more Stanlee characteristics -- his helicopter purr and his dilated eyes. Stanlee was always happy to be near people and always looked shocked at what was going on.
That was almost three years ago and ever since then, Stanlee has been a large part of my life.
When Ashlee and I moved in with each other, Stanlee was finally introduced to Levi. Naturally the two hated each other at first, but over the past few years, they've grown accustomed to either avoiding each other or fighting like grizzly bears when they wanted to be fed.
For as much mass as Stanlee had to cuddle with, his weight seemed to get him into health problems off and on. He dealt with a spell of tied up bowels, to which we remedied with sweet potatoes and Pepcid AC. But after Ash and I moved into our house, thanks to sleeping upstairs and eating downstairs, his weight started to become manageable.
Two weeks ago, Stanlee was going through another bad spell. His appetite wasn't what it used to be. He wasn't using the bathroom nearly as much as he always did (which was a lot). And his thirst drove him to hop up on tables to knock glasses over just to get a sip of water.
We knew things weren't right, especially when his muscle mass started to deteriorate. And that's when we really started to worry.
We took Stanlee in last Thursday to see what was going on. The vet said his kidney count was extremely elevated. While the count wasn't good, the doc was optimistic that things could be turned around. Three days later, the doctor was pleased with the progress as Stanlee was moving around like normal and talking like he always did.
The next day, things flipped to the bad side -- his kidney levels had gotten much worse and the outlook was grim.
We took Stanlee home that night and had one last evening with him. We did his favorite thing, we all three sat on the couch and cuddled up while watching television.
The following day, we took Stanlle on one last car ride to the vet and watched him pass. Not surprisingly, with both of our hands on him, Stanlee purred as loud as he could until he couldn't any more.
Honestly, Stanlee is leaving a giant hole in our lives. No longer will he greet us at the door when we come home. Nor will he try to bolt outside onto the porch whenever we go in or out. He won't give us hugs when he's hungry, or try to eat leaves from the Japanese Maple when we're not looking -- and then puke them up two seconds later. There won't be any more army crawls between us in bed while we read, or him licking our feet when we get out of the shower. No more 5-minute urination sessions at 2am or purring that lasts the whole night through. He won't watch football with me anymore, or attempt to clean Levi when she's not paying attention.
The big, orange snaggletoothed cat known as Fat Stanlee has passed and gone on to bigger and better things. His life will be remember by many people who couldn't help but love the big oaf. And, ultimately, he leaves me saying the same thing that I said the first night I met him, "holy crap, that's Fat Stanlee."
He was truly one of the world's greatest cats.
Levi, you're gonna have to learn to let Ashlee pick you up.
+ original post date: December 11, 2009 09:27 AM
+ categories: Family/Friends