If you were one of the vets who looked after Templeton during his life, “gentle” is not the first word that would come to mind when describing him. Or the second word. Or the third. Or the tenth. Or the … well, you get the idea. He hated going to the vet. It was nothing personal, we had some great ones here in Portland and in Salem, but his personality changed completely and he got very stressed and hostile.
Legends were written. Tales were told.
“My name is Templeton, cat of cats:
Look on my paws, ye mighty, and despair!”
Even at home, he wasn’t too crazy about strangers, particularly young ones. He could run away to a safe spot at home, though, and he certainly mellowed out later in life and would even come up and greet some of our visitors. But with my wife and I, Templeton was gentle and loving, he loved to curl up on our laps and purr like mad. Even so, we weren’t quite sure what he’d make of Scout when we first brought her home in May of 2001, as he had been the only cat for much of his life.
We needn’t have worried.
He didn’t like to cuddle up with Scout, but he did play with her at times, he groomed her, and he just flat out put up with her when she had lots of kitten energy but not lots of kitten sense.
This isn’t the greatest picture, it was taken with a little compact camera, but it illustrates how good he was with her. She had been with us less than two months at this point, and would sometimes spring onto his back like she was a rodeo rider, and then start biting on his head. At this stage, he’d let her get away with it and let her work out her energy. Eventually he started giving her a gentle little wap to the head when she played too rough, training her on how to get along with others, and she came around and stopped the head biting and learned to play nice.
He never lost his love for play, even right up to the end. He lost some muscle mass in his last year or so and certainly couldn’t jump as high as he used to, but he and Scout would still chase each other around the back yard during their supervised outdoor time, and even at fifteen years old he was so fast that he could easily keep up with Scout.
We should all age so well. We should all live so well.