rest in peace, stitch

Stitch joined our family on a whim in the fall of 2002. She was the last of the litter, a tiny tuxedo spitfire who introduced herself by crawling up Tim’s shoulder and perching there, expectant, as if to say, “I’m ready, let’s go.”

She slept soundly in my lap on the 45-minute drive to our Brewer apartment; Nala was mostly Tim’s cat, and it appeared Stitch would be mostly mine. She trotted into her new home and greeted Nala by rearing up on her hind legs, asserting her dominance in one fluid motion. Nala might have been twice Stitch’s size, but that didn’t matter. “Though she be but little she is fierce.”

Stitch loved to climb. Her small frame and sharp little claws made it easy to scale the curtains and our legs. She chased laser pointers up the walls to impressive heights. At bedtime, she’d crawl under the covers and snuggle up between us, making me paranoid one of us would roll over and squash her. Even full grown, she was a tiny cat with a short, stubby tail. We called her “The Stitchenator” and decided she had plans for world domination, a la her namesake from Lilo & Stitch.

Stitch moved with us from Brewer, to Bangor, to Orono, and finally to the County. She stood by and watched disapprovingly as we adopted Pippen in 2007 (yuck), had kids (big yuck), brought that godawful dog-thing home in 2012 (torture), and adopted Ginger in 2018 (why must you torment me so?)

She liked to keep me company while I worked in my office by climbing my chair or laying on my keyboard or snoozing on the floor. Her favorite sleeping spot was her pillow (which also happened to be my pillow when she was feeling generous).

Nala passed away at 14 years old, but Stitch, who was only a few months younger, was still as spry as a kitten. We joked that she’d probably outlive us all; that coastal Maine grit is sturdy stuff.

Over the last several months, the old girl started to show her age. She gradually lost her vision, to the point where she regularly bumped into things and couldn’t find her way around. Her weight fluctuated, so we spent a lot of time with her at the vet, adjusting medications for her blood pressure and thyroid and treating chronic bladder infections. By the time we made the difficult decision to put her to sleep, she’d stopped using the litter box, had stopped snuggling or purring, and was only mildly interested in food. She spent most of her time sleeping, drinking, and peeing on the floor. It was time. I bundled her into her crate, snuggled her until the end, and said my goodbyes.

And then she was gone, the last vestige of our college lives. Stitch did not achieve world domination, but she dominated our hearts for 19 years; an admirable feat for a runty little scamp from downeast. If I’m honest, she was always my favorite.

Rest easy, Stitchy.

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