Goodnight Sweet Stuart

His Furness, Stuart III

A sad week here in the Tarn after saying a long-distance goodbye to Stuart III, last in a line of feline companions who brought joy to my mother’s final years. He picked Mum out of a line-up at the RSPCA, delicately extending a paw through the bars of his cage. What was his history? No-one ever knew, but he had suffered multiple fractures to one of his hind legs, resulting in a stiff, retired-Colonel-type gait which went well with his laid-back personality.

My very own bush

No unseemly galloping about or jumping on and off things for Stuart. He was a mindfulness practitioner, sitting for hours in a trance in front of the window weighing up the pros and cons of staying where he was or strolling outside for a quiet nap underneath his personal bush. Indoors, his favourite position was horizontal. Chairs, beds tables – all the furniture belonged to him – and particularly the patch of carpet in front of the central heating vent where he liked to indulge in his personal invention, a home spa treatment for feline arthritic joints. He would lie on one side, clamp all four paws against the burning metal grill, and roast himself to a turn, fur streaming out behind him in the hot air flow like a comet’s tail.

Feeling better after a hot air treatment

When Mum died, he was adopted by his wonderful Auntie Jo who took him from Yorkshire to begin a new life as a Cheshire cat. He loved being at his Auntie’s. In the evening they would cuddle together on the sofa watching nature documentaries. He also helped out on the days she worked from home, warming up the computer by draping himself across it and re-arranging piles of important documents into better positions. She took him for weekend breaks to visit his other Auntie and Uncle, who had a terrace looking out over treetops from which, in Attenborough mode, he could observe the habits of birds and squirrels. He got a bit grumpy when Auntie Jo abandoned him to go on holiday, but could be mollified by a stay in his favourite luxury senior citizen apartment at the Best Exotic Marigold Pet Hotel. Downstairs he was able to catch a few rays undisturbed on his private patio while from an upper mezzanine he could look down on the lesser fortunate guests in the communal dorm.

The Great Horizontal

His health had been declining steadily for some time. I last saw him two months ago, at my birthday party in Yorkshire. His Furness processed from Cheshire in Auntie Jo’s car and took up his role as Guest of Honour with a modest miaow. On Monday this week he died peacefully in the arms of his beloved auntie. We shared tearful memories of his many sterling qualities in a lengthy phone call, at the end of which she pronounced a fitting epitaph:

‘He never made a quick decision’.

Sweet dreams xxxxx

12 thoughts on “Goodnight Sweet Stuart”

  1. So sorry to hear about Stuart. Animals are so close to our hearts. They each have their own incredible personalities that bring joy and humor to the otherwise mundane. I can’t even think about losing Shakespeare. It hurts to much. RIP, Stuart.

    1. Thank you chère Denise, I think Stuart’s furry ears must be burning in Cat Heaven , although to be honest he always knew he was special 😉 You’re so right, they do add something to ordinary life. Your handsome Shakespeare looks as fit as a fiddle. May he live long and prosper so that his parents can take him on lots of well-deserved holidays xxx

  2. So sorry to read your blog and to know that Stuart was no more. You always made us laugh with tales of his antics. Your consolation is to know that after an unpromising start he had such a happy life – even if it was lived on his own terms. ( On reflection though isn’t that the best way for anyone to live their life?) He brought great joy to your Mum and then to Jo. I have always said that the price we pay for the love of a pet is the grief we feel when they die. But again that is the same with people we love. On a lighter note I thought Stuart was such a wonderful name for a cat, only now almost matched by daughter Natasha’s dachshund called Colin!

    1. Thanks dear Elizabeth for your words of understanding and consolation, another one who speaks from personal experience. Yes I think that could be another apt comment to add to the obituary of His Furness: ‘he lived life on his own terms’! The name Stuart was first bestowed on one member of a trio of cats who somehow ended up as lodgers and were named after good friends – not sure how much they appreciated it (the friends I mean). Colin is a cracker. Hope he’s currently getting lots of cuddles from his ‘Mamie’ Elizabeth xxx 😉

  3. Terrific Blog Laurette, you have Stuart to a Tee; and Joanna’s comment that he never made a quick decision, is inspired. He was the bravest fighter in the world, as long as there was a pane of glass between him and his ginger opponent; he brought about world peace between cats and birds in mum’s gardens, never quite summoning enough energy to chase the little blighters. He steadfastly ignored the catflap mum had fitted. He’d sit and stare at it until we went and opened the door for him, I once tried to push him out through it, but he planted his front paws firmly, and I was left holding his backside in the air, while he looked round at me with an expression that conveyed his contempt for my stupidity. I gave in and opened the door.

  4. Oh, Laurette–I’m so sorry that Stuart had to leave! What a hole and what a legacy he has left. We both know that all felines are irreplaceable, each given their distinctive ways of being that distinguish them from all others. I wish I could have met
    Stuart–he sounds like a most wonderful companion on top of being a heroic survivor of who-knows-what horrors before he found your mum. I’m so glad for both her and for him that they had each other, and that Stuart then went on to live happily ever after with his auntie. My condolences to both you and her, and to, no doubt, many others of Stuart’s friends and admirers. What a beautiful and noble boy he was.

    1. Dear Nancy, I knew this would hit you hard even though you didn’t know him! I remember shedding copious tears when you announced the departure of your beloved Morgan (where’s the Kleenex?). Thank you so much, will pass on your condolences to his big fan-club. xxx

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