"I'm not putting Arlo through that, " she said. Arlo was our aging beagle.
We went home catless.
Mom eventually settled on an older tuxedo. A cat-rescue person brought Samantha and Georgie to our house. Although Samantha was too timid to come out of her carrier, Georgie ventured right out, boldly exploring every corner of Mom's "apartment" as if to say, "Yes, this will do just fine."
She was a lovely, affectionate cat. Every afternoon she and Mom took a nap. When Mom sat in her chair at other times, Georgie often curled up on her lap. She was such a sweet cat that the teen-aged cat-sitter who fed her when we were away spent nearly an hour a few hours before she died, just sitting with her and tenderly stroking her soft fur.
Mom always said, "No one loves animals like me. Phil and Cynthia like animals, but they do not love them and they don't know how to take care of them."
What do you do when you're 99 and afraid of dying and leaving your orphaned baby to inadequate foster parents? Mom's initial idea was to meet up with Georgie outside the Pearly Gates. "When I die, I want you to have Georgie put to sleep," Mom told our daughter, Margaret. "Cynthia will just shut her up in my apartment and I can't stand the thought of it."
After Margaret declined to send Georgie across the Rainbow Bridge, Mom turned to Pat. Pat was a friendly woman who loved animals and old people. She often visited Mom just to chat. Mom painted such a grim picture of Georgie's future that Pat readily agreed to take her after Mom died. I didn't know about these arrangements until Mom's memorial gathering at our house, when Pat asked, "When do you want me to pick up Georgie?"
Mom died in December, 2008. Despite her misgivings, Georgie had a pretty tolerable life with Phil and me. She enjoyed the run of the house, where she discovered and claimed several prime bird-watching windows. She batted toy mice around the family room. She joined us on the couch for Netflix movies. She dined on all varieties of Fancy Feast. Her fake leopard-skin bed was warmed by a heat duct. Her shots were up to date and she had regular dental visits.
When our new puppy, Dilly, arrived last September, Georgie welcomed her with a swat on the rump. After that, it was hiss and make-up. There were daily sparring matches, which usually ended with Georgie dashing out of the room. She never stayed away for long. They might resume their quarrel when she returned or they just might cuddle up together on the couch.