George the Brave, Gentle Maine Coon

Gentle George, Orleans native, dead at 10 from cancer

I am very sorry to report that George the brave, gentle Maine Coon passed away this evening after an heroic battle with urinary issues. He was a rescue cat whose age is estimated at ten years old.

George was rescued by the Animal Rescue League Brewster Shelter in the fall of 2007 and came to my house in November of that year. In the spring of 2008 he developed various urinary problems that escalated over the summer and led to surgery on his bladder in October 2008.

George was a happy, playful Maine Coon. When he "sang" as Coons are prone to do, he had by far the best voice of any of my Maine Coons.

After a very brave recovery, George was very much himself by mid-November. He had a couple of complications from his ordeal which included occasional very painful bladder spasms. Each of these episodes resolved in a couple of days with medication and rest.

This past Wednesday he exhibited some bladder spasm symptoms and we started him on the usual course of medication. George was progressing normally through this episode. He was relatively bright this morning and had eaten well overnight.

When I arrived him this evening, George was collapsed on the floor and breathing with difficulty. I checked on him and visited with him throughout the evening. Despite his condition, he changed locations a couple of times - floor to bed, bed to sofa..etc. He died at 8:45 p.m. We found him at the foot of the stairs, which must have taken a tremendous effort for him to get that far perhaps to be nearer to us at the end.

George was a happy, playful Maine Coon. When he "sang" as Coons are prone to do, he had by far the best voice of any of my Maine Coons. If there was a lap available in the room, George would be in it. He loved human companionship and was the most outgoing of any of the five house cats. He loved to play with toys, especially anything with a rattle or beans inside of it.

The wide sunny windowsills here were George's favorite place to spend the day. If the sun was not out, my bed made the next best place to dream. At night he enjoyed sleeping on the bed with the other cats. If he wanted my attention when I was sleeping I often got one of his big Maine Coon paws in my face (claws retracted). He also liked to wake my by smacking me on the back of the head. George's purr was magnificent, deep and excellent music by which to fall asleep.

George's final year was challenging for all of us. He was very brave and put up a valiant fight to survive.

George is survived by his two giant playmates Tiberius and Misty. There is nothing like the havoc wrought by three large, athletic male cats tearing through the house. Upended lamps, torn screens and many dead mice were left in the wake of the Three Horsemen as they thundered about. George is also survived by Anne whom he adored and Gracie whom he did not. If Grace walked past George he felt that was an invitation to chase her and off they went. The last fun I saw George have was chasing Grace up the stairs as I left for work two mornings before he died.

In the past when one of my cats has died the others seemed relatively indifferent to the body. Not with George! When I brought him out in his bed for the last ride to the crematorium everyone had their moment with him. Tiberius and Anne both nuzzled and pawed gently as if trying to awaken him. Misty crawled into George's bed with him and created a heart-wrenching scene. Grace merely checked to verify he was dead and sauntered away.

George's final year was challenging for all of us. He was very brave and put up a valiant fight to survive. Through all of his ordeal he never once lost his good humor and loving disposition. Even in his final hours he still tried to give head bumps and nose rubs as he clung to the life he loved so much. Though he was only with us for a short time, George touched us all in a special way that will not be soon forgotten.

Farewell to George... George the Gentle, George the Brave, George the Hellraiser and George our beloved friend.

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