I adopted Garfield in January 2017 from PAWS, the shelter I volunteer at in Lynnwood, Washington. He was a staff favorite at the shelter because of his gentle, easygoing nature and affectionate nature. The first time I met him, in December 2016, in the Cat Isolation room, Garfield sat on my lap for an hour. I knew then that I wanted to adopt and care for him, no matter what medical issues he may have. It was clear that he had been sick for awhile. He was 14 years old and losing weight at the shelter, and he had been returned once by an adopter a few months earlier due to illness. I fostered and then adopted him because I wanted to be the one to care for him and I didn’t want him to risk losing his home yet again.
In March 2017, Garfield received lifesaving surgery at Oregon State University’s Lois Bates Animal Hospital. A Subcutaneous Ureteral Bypass (SUB) was implanted in his right kidney, saving its functioning and allowing him to live well for another 2 and a half years. The surgery was a great success. Garfield healed completely and the installation of the SUB device worked well, as Garfield maintained stable kidney functioning right up to the end. The trip from Seattle to Corvallis was a great experience for both Garfield and me. Garfield was a mellow cat to go on a road trip with, and the staff at OSU were supportive, informative, and easy to work with during a stressful time. Some of my best memories with Garfield are from our trip to OSU, how he’d jump in the front seat of my car during a rest stop or how he made himself at home in our motel room, acting like he didn’t have a care in the world. I’d like to thank Dr. Katy Townsend, Dr. Isaac Cortés, and the rest of the staff and volunteers for Garfield’s care. The Lois Bates hospital is a special place and I gladly tell everyone about my experience there.
Every cat is special in some way, and Garfield’s gift was his remaining such a loving and engaging cat despite all the medications, vet visits, and declining mobility due to his chronic illnesses. During our 2 and a half years together, Garfield was my constant companion. I liked to tell people that he was a teddy bear masquerading as a cat. He was always on my lap and liked nothing more than to climb up my chest to lick my cheek or tap my mouth with his right paw. At night, he slept with me on the pillow facing mine. He loved to drink water drops from the bathtub, which for some mysterious reason tasted better than the water from his bowl, and he often waited for me after I showered to let him climb in. During the past 6 months, I had to set him in the tub so he could get his droplet fix, but he always knew that if he gave me one of his loud meows and a pleading look, I would do just that. He loved to lay in a sunny spot in the south-facing bay window, where he could feel the coolness of the window and have sun shine down on his orange coat. He became friends with my other cat, Isabel, who groomed and cared for him, especially during his final 6 months as his mobility declined. Up to his last day, Garfield was friendly, social, a big eater, and a great companion. He seemed content to spend his final hours in my arms. Only one hour before his last breath, just before noon on June 24, 2019, despite having become weaker over the previous days, he pulled himself up my chest to give me 2 licks on the cheek and a pat with his right paw. It felt to me like he was saying goodbye. There is so much I could share about Garfield. He was such a loving companion. I miss him terribly. I look at the photo of him included with this memorial, taken only 4 days before his last, and I still can’t quite believe he’s gone. Despite my sadness, I’m so happy I got the chance to care for my little buddy. I will always treasure my time with Garfield.
I hope that anyone thinking of adopting a cat or dog will consider adopting a sick or elderly pet. These animals are special and have a lot to offer if given the chance. Thank you to everyone who cares for and adopts these special animals.
A donation was made in Garfield's memory and the memorial was created on July 16, 2019.