Tolstoy, You are Unforgettable

About a month ago, I was notified that Story, my orange cat, “the artist formerly known as Tolstoy,” had died in the night, curled up next to his current human.

There’s a  (no pun) story here, and it’s mine to tell.

Tolstoy was now Story. He’d become Story when his new human, Christine, adopted him from the Monmouth County SPCA. She’d driven east from Green Bay to look at him because I’d posted a plea for someone to look at him and prevent him from living out his life in the shelter.

That’s what I felt like I was doing. In early February 2013, I was about to go into a homeless shelter for men. If you’re in there, you can’t bring a pet with you.

But “pet”? Tolstoy was more than a pet. Over 11 years, he’d become my friend, my son, and my life. Giving him up was devastating. How do you reject your family?

He deserved a permanent address. Yes, the Monmouth County SPCA is no-kill. Seriously no kill. He could live out his life there, hang with the other cats, and maybe get adopted by someone who didn’t need only a kitten, i.e., someone who’d embrace a senior cat. So Chris came east, fell in love, and adopted him. He joined her two other orange cats, Wally and Shammy (now known as the King of Maine because everyone moved north over the summer).

I’d hear about him periodically. He fit right into the mischief of being part of a set of three cats. Chris took care of his health issues and Wally and Shammy took care of friendship.

Then I learned that Story, as he was known, was dying. Chris and the vet decided on palliative care because his kidneys were not going to get better.

And then he died, at Christine’s side, with one of the other cats in attendance.

I have my cat Misha here, my blessing and my answered prayer, so the pain has been alleviated. But Tolstoy was part of my days with a broken heart, and so I grieve him. G’bye, baby.




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