Last year we lost our cat Stanley to the ravages of old age. Stan had been ‘quite the cat’ who, as a kitten, was adopted from a Chicago shelter and first lived with us near Chicago’s downtown. Stan had a long and exciting life, as my daughter can attest, because he came to live with her in Minnesota. Life in a college town suited Stanley very well; there he was able to pursue the indoor-outdoor life he craved. A life which had been impossible in the City of Chicago.
Fast forward eighteen years and Stan came back to us to enjoy ‘his retirement’ at Sontheim. He was dropped off with the comment that “there was a warrant out for Stanley’s lynching” because the neighbours were no longer able to endure his nightly yowling concerts. There was also a longstanding lack of song birds in the neighbourhood which rightly or wrongly had been attributed to Stanley’s hunting skills.
So Stan came to Sontheim where he yodeled to his heart’s content. Initially the dogs, Sophia and Lilly, were terrified by his sounds. Neither one of the girls had encountered a cat before and especially not a feisty one like Stan.
Within a year Stanley’s health declined and he left for the happy hunting grounds in the big sky. Once he was gone, we made the decision not to bring another cat into our home. The family was complete, especially after the arrival of our big boy Sam. A house without the litter box, without the necessity to prevent a prowling cat from escaping out-of-doors, without the constant vigilance to keep birds safe from cat attacks, that was the goal.
But alas, it was not to be!
Within a few days of Stanley’s passing, his mirror image appeared on the porch of our apartment in Chicago. George called to let me know that a shy Stanley was hanging around. For months I occasionally heard about the budding friendship between the big guy and the little alley cat. Then one evening I got the news that the stray had overcome his fear and followed George inside; and I was told that he would be taken to the Chicago Humane Society in the morning. A few years ago George did precisely that, he rescued a pretty little alley cat, took her to the Humane Society, and she was promptly adopted out. But alas, this is the year of over-crowded shelters and George was told that Stanley’s double would have to be transferred to the City Pound were he would likely die alongside so many other unwanted cats.
In a panick George called and we decided that certain death was not an option. The cat would have to travel to Wisconsin, get checked over by our vet and get a name.
So let me introduce our new cat to you. Meet Felix, who we suspect was sent or way by Stan who just could not imagine the family without the company of a cat.