The first time that we saw George, he looked like a small limp white dish rag in his owner's arms. He had always been a huge cat, his owner explained, but lately he had started drinking lots of water and then losing weight. He had become lethargic and listless, and, that day, he was unable to move or stand. We performed an exam and did some bloodwork and confirmed that George had diabetes. He was experiencing a life threatening crisis as the ketones in his bloodstream had begun to poison him. Unfortunately, George's owners were unable to commit to twice daily insulin injections, and so they sadly gave him up to us. George became the hospital cat. Once he was treated, George began to grow big and sleek. The passive little dish rag became a cantankerous, opinionated fellow. He ruled the roost. Unafraid of dogs walking by, he would lie on his side, flicking the very end of his tail, as if saying, "Go ahead, just try it, and see what happens." At night and on days we were closed, George lived in the cat room in a big duplex cage, litter box on one side, food and cozy bed on another. During the day, he wandered the clinic freely. Oddly enough, he seemed to have a calming affect on our cat patients, and, when he shared the free range of the hospital with Mikey, a big orange male, they hung out together, two big guys, with never a hiss or a growl. Mikey would bat at his ping pong ball obsessively and George would lie on his side nearby and watch, his big, beautiful green eyes showing a languid interest. George was a magnificent cat. An imposing 16 pounds of pure white cat, he loved to lie on the chairs of the waiting room and receive compliments from all comers. George, however, was not a physically affectionate guy. Although he was not above begging for crusts from our sandwiches, when it came to patting and snuggling, he would have none of it. And forget about being brushed! Anyone too "forward" with George would get a swat on the hand or sometimes a serious "play" bite. As he got older, George evolved into a "grumpy old man". Over the past 2 years he developed increasingly severe arthritis and stopped jumping into the waiting room from the office desk. He still hobbled into my office at lunchtime for his piece of crust but most of the time he was content to lie under the main office desk where he seemed to enjoy listening to and watching the office activities. Occasionally, as he aged, George grew to appreciate some patting and attention. And very, very occasionally, he would venture onto someone's lap. Two and a half weeks ago, we put George to sleep. In spite of medications and ministrations, George was in constant pain from his arthritis. The diabetes had taken its toll. He had developed cataracts and then painful glaucoma in his left eye. He no longer enjoyed his meals and found it difficult to get up and walk to the water bowl. We will miss you very much George. In our mind's eye, we see you lounging on the chair in the waiting room, leaving your white hair behind for us to vacuum up. We hear your mournful meow as you beg for crusts or for a piece of bagel. We miss your constant reassuring presence. Your absolute self confidence and philosophical attitude towards life. The way that you loved each of us, in your own grumpy way.