Ashley was the "dean" of the Hayman cats. He was adopted in 1984 from the Hamilton SPCA as a tiny kitten. He was very much Judith's (and sometimes Dave's) cat. He knew the sound of our two family cars, and sat and waited on the stairs with great disapproval if we stayed out too late. Or if we were in the door for more than thirty seconds and hadn't fed him yet.
Ashley's favourite summer sport was lying in the sun. His favourite winter sports were lying in the sun and on the hot air register. Sometimes he would play (and play hard and silly), but only if he thought the other cats couldn't see him (dignity at all costs...). At his peak he weighed all of nine pounds (though closer to five near the end). He had huge green eyes, and short, dark grey and white fur that looked like a gentleman in a velvet morning coat. But how many cats do you know that were Captain of their own starship (the USS P'Ahs)? He was named for both his colour and Ashley Wilkes from Gone With the Wind.
At age sixteen he was diagnosed with hyperthyroid and mild renal failure, which we treated, since he was still very playful and a generally feisty little dude. After seventeen and a half years of giving us companionship and trust, Ashley started to show us that it was time for him to go. That last summer was a joy for him, with so many warm sunny days to spend lying on his lounge, on his patio. But his last month he began to fade, and more so the last two days. Right to the end his personality was far larger than his tiny fragile frame.
On Monday October 15, 2001, rather than break his trust, we helped him find the door into his everlasting summer.