Let's do a quick jump from how Dude came to live in Germany after being a US citizen for 10 years to his old age.
Dude had gone through one or the other storm, I've been told. There was Mim, the cat who was brought in for company, but who wasn't much interested in feline company, there was Magica, the kitty girl who fell in love with Dude when she got in heat for the first and last time and confused the heck out of him (who remembers Confuse-A-Cat by Monty Python? ;-)). There was the first big disease he had to fight after moving through which he stayed under the bed, with Mom on her belly on the side of the bed so she could feed him chicken (the first chicken she ever cooked), small piece by piece. There was the kidney diet and the night when he almost strangled himself with a computer mouse cord, but those are all different memories.
Today is about how a blind cat reminded Mom of Dude.
Dude was a gentleman and it was never clearer than when he got older, a little slower, rolled his eyes at the little ones' behavior. He was about 17 when Mom started going nuts, well, even more. She told me when Dude slept she regularly checked on him and once she almost gave him an heart attack when she woke him up because she couldn't see him breathing.
When she noticed he was getting even slower than usual, she really got worried.
The revelation however came when she saw him go behind a door. He stopped for a second, looked confused and came back out. "He can't see anymore!" Yes, Dude had become blind, but you could hardly tell from his eyes and don't forget, he was the first old cat they had to care for. Now what?
There was no "now what". After so many years Dude exactly knew his way around the house. He had his special spot at the dining room heater, he still played, he still jumped up on the bed. Most amazing were the younger cats, though. As if they knew (much earlier than the humans, I'm sure), they changed their behavior towards him. They got out of his way and they treated him gently. Mom says she was so proud of them. Pfff, as if cats are not civilized.
Dude lived to be 18 1/2 years and left us almost exactly 12 years ago. He is still being missed.
P.S. And for all those who wonder about the book Mom read ... why don't you have a look at Homer's story? It's very special.