Fifteen years she's been with me- longer than any of my three wives. I'm not comparing Stimpy to a woman, of course. She's a cat. |
But for 15 years she has been happy to see me when I come home, jumping on my shoulder or climbing onto my lap, giving and receiving affection without question or condition. One gets accustomed to that. She was the one thing I could count on, no matter how anything else was going, no matter what problems with people, work, or money I may have had. One living creature in all the universe loved me unvaryingly, for none of the complicated reasons that people decide to love people.
And without thinking much about it, not needing to say it or explain it, I loved her. She knew she could count on me, too, for a gentle hand to stroke her fur, a chest to sleep on while I slept, and for food and water. Sometimes I'd scold her when she used a little too much claw to hold on, but I knew she didn't mean to. It's not easy for a cat to keep track of the difference between bare skin, clothing, and blankets, but Stimpy was usually quite good at it.
Two years ago Stimpy inspired me to write the following, for my Multiply blog:
My cat Stimpy doesn't like other cats. It's nothing personal. She doesn't really want to fight with them, but of one of them approaches, she will clearly communicate "Get the hell away from me."
That attitude does not wane over time. If she has to stay in a room with other cats, she will remain apart and make sure they know to stay away. On the other hand, she likes me, and she'll usually be friendly to other human guests.
There's no great mystery. Stimpy grew from kittenhood as an only cat, with humans as her only companions. I have said before that she thinks she's human. Actually, I doubt that she thinks much about what she is, but her fellow cats may as well be a different species: she doesn't relate to them.
For Stimpy, that's not a real problem. She stays in my bedroom by herself. When I'm there she demands attention, and likes to sleep on my chest while I sleep.
I have noticed that many humans are like Stimpy: they don't really like their own species. The reasons are varied and complex, and their behavior is not as obvious to the casual observer. Humans learn the social protocols that are needed to get along and earn a living, and they may hide their lack of real socialization quite well. They often associate with others who also don't genuinely like other people. Those in such groups may call one another friends, but they are really more like co-conspirators, protecting one another from having to endure real friendships.
These are the people who not only want to acquire good things for themselves, but delight even more in trying to prevent others from doing the same thing.
That of course was written as commentary on political behavior. Politics is not a problem for a cat with a human friend.
Stimpy lived a good, long life, and I believe a happy one, as my loyal companion. I am going to miss her very much. She died today, July 7, 2012.
Rest in peace, Stimpy.