Senior bookends life by adopting cat 82 years after being 'raised' by one
Don is walking towards the bushes near the front of the house, searching for the latest character in the story of his life.
"I think this concept of writing chapters in your life is a good one," the 82-year-old Saanich resident says.
This chapter features a cat named Curi (short for Curious), who Don decided to adopt a couple months ago. "I'm experimenting!" he says. "I haven't [lived with a cat] for mega years it seems."
Don will show us how long it's been in a moment, but first he has to finish what he was doing before I interrupted him. "As you can see," he says with a laugh, pointing to the leash in his hand. "I'm walking a cat!"
This chapter in his life couldn't be more different than the last one. It featured Don making the most of retirement; doing all the things he couldn't do in previous chapters (working as a university professor, raising a family). That chapter was about him, unlike now.
"I'm committing more time to something else," he says before looking down at Curi and correcting himself. "Someone else!"
Don doesn't have any perspective on this chapter of his life yet – it's just the beginning. But he did have a similar character in the very first chapter of his story. "Susie," he says, before showing me a black and white photograph. It shows baby Don smiling next to a cat sitting beside him attentively.
It seems Don was raised, in part, by Susie the cat. "It decided that I would be part of its litter," he says. Whenever the feline mom would see her hairless kitten crying and couldn't soothe him, she would march into the kitchen to get the human mom's help. "And it would start nipping at her heels," Don says with a smile.
Don shows me another old photograph of him and Susie when he was a couple years older. The cat kept caring for Don until her baby became a boy – until the end of her final chapter.
Although Don still has couple more chapters of his own to unfold, he says bringing another cat into this late stage of his life is interesting. "I'm probably going to go out with one!"
A life that began with a cat, may end with one. Don smiles, perhaps grateful for the simple pleasure in knowing his life story will be bookended by feline friends.