In 2004, Chris and I adopted a cat from the Edison shelter, a kill shelter near Rutgers, and brought him home. He lived in Chris’ college house, in what was essentially a large closet, until Chris graduated and got his first apartment. He was a loudmouth and loved meowing at the other cats who lived in the house. He also loved to jump from the bed to the dresser when he wasn’t curling up under the covers. But his favorite thing in the world was sitting at the window and chattering at the squirrels outside.
In 2005 Chris moved into an apartment and Guinness discovered that the world was larger than one room. He loved his catnip and could chase a laser pointer all day. Stairs were a new concept but the sliding glass door to the balcony was the best new aspect of life. He would stare out the door and windows for hours.
In 2007 we bought the condo and suddenly Guinness had two floors to explore! The world outside the sliding glass doors was exciting and full of life. Chattering at the birds and squirrels would sometimes take up his whole day. When we came home from work we would find Guinness sleeping on our bed or the guest bed. Sometimes he was curled up in the office chair. If he could jump onto it he would sleep on it.
In 2009 we brought home Dublin. We weren’t sure how Guinness would react but he put Dublin in his place right away. They played together and argued over toys and Guinness always won. He loved sitting on the half wall and dangling his tail just slightly out of reach of Dublin. He’d race up and down the stairs, enticing Dublin to chase him and then he’d jump out of reach.
In 2011 we did it again and brought home Bailey. She thought she was going to be the boss, and she was. Well, she was the boss of Dublin. Guinness put her in her place with a few well-placed swipes of his paw. Those kitty claws didn’t mess around! Bailey loved to chase Guinness and he loved to be chased.
Guinness moved again in 2014. He was not thrilled but he adjusted better than I expected. He never really got used to the new layout…..a ranch was not his first choice. But he did love the windows and he especially loved the bird feeders. Most of my bird feeders are right outside the window where he liked to sleep and he’d watch them for hours. This past summer I added a bird feeder to the kitchen window and he would stalk the birds who were brave enough to swoop in and steal a few seeds. He also snuck out of the house a few times after we moved but he always ran to the porch within a few minutes of getting outside. He was an indoor cat, through and through.
When we lost Bailey Guinness took it harder than I expected. But over the past few weeks he was doing great. He was playing with Navan a bit and eating like a horse. He was definitely a senior kitty but after losing some weight after Bailey’s death he was gaining some back and playing on his cat tree again.
Today Guinness suffered what was most likely a stroke or an aneurysm. I came home from school to find him in bad shape, even though he was perfectly fine when I left in the morning. My amazing vet saw him immediately but there was nothing any of us could do. I spent a few minutes with him saying goodbye and then it was over.
We’ve said goodbye to two pets in the past few months. Bailey suffered from lymphoma so we had time to say goodbye. It was impossibly hard and I never wanted to go through that again. Guinness’s death was very sudden but that did not make it any easier. I’m going to miss him begging for food while we eat dinner and walking on the back of the couch while we watch TV.
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