Four years ago today my cat James (named after the character in Ursula K. LeGuin’s Catwings) died at ten years old. Death is an integral part of life and while there isn’t much cause for sadness years and years later, I like to look back over the experiences I had while he was a part of mine. I was around eight years old and wanted to be a vet, so on one of my visits to the animal hospital we got the opportunity to adopt a rescued kitten.
I think all of the time he spent being bottle-fed when he was little had a big influence on his temperament, because unlike many cats he enjoyed being around people. We joined Pets-On-Wheels and were the only people visiting the nursing home with a cat instead of a dog. We’d put a little padded bed on the residents’ laps and he’d fall right asleep while they pet him. It seemed so normal at the time but looking back it was kind of out-of-the-ordinary. He brought joy to the final days of a number of lives.
I spent the most time with him during those growing-up years before I got into high school and working and all that teenager stuff, so remembering James is also a poignant reminiscing of my childhood. I got quite adept at making meowing noises, a skill that sadly has degraded from disuse. For some reason that made sense in my eight-year-old brain I nicknamed him “Wo” (pronounced “woe”), and it stuck.
Most of the pictures I took of him were with a film camera (remember those?) so I only have a few on the computer, and none of the best ones. One of these days I suppose I’ll have to scan that stuff in.