I lost my Ginnie a little over a week ago. Her leg hurt, then her back hurt. Then the cancer was found. I wouldn’t have her suffer. She had been working hard to not show me her pain. And I would have given anything for one more afternoon with her, on my bed, telling her how important she was to me and how much I loved her – but they told me her pain was too much. So I held her, and talked to her, while saying the final goodnight.
I fostered kitties and enjoyed it – became attached to one of them but he went to a good home who would look after his special needs. And I thought I wouldn’t foster for awhile as it tied me down. When you foster a cat, usually they have come out of a home of neglect, overcrowding, abandonment -and they need a special kind of love. But when I decided I missed their company I looked to adopt a cat. Ginnie and her lovely green eyes caught my hazel ones.
When Ginnie arrived I knew her story. But I didn’t know that she would be afraid of all movements and noises. Even my walking from room to room was a stress for her; I tried walking softly, and lightly, and slowly for her. She was her happiest the week I had shoulder surgery. I was tired and slept a couple hours in the afternoon for a week. She was right up with me on the single bed – lying against my leg. I realised perhaps her past owner had been really immobile. She was comfortable when I didn’t move!
We had a wee break from each other. Like any relationship – when it has a core issue you wonder if perhaps a reassessment is needed. I certainly wasn’t going to stop moving around, and as much as I wanted to nap most afternoons – it wasn’t feasible. Somehow that did it – I missed her and she seemed to understand that “movement is good!” and when we got back together she was my forever cat. And she knew it.
And it was about then that she decided that she would like it if I baked her a turkey breast twice a week; so I did.
And as all of us who know animals well know what happened. It was her house, and she let me live there. She wasn’t a huggy cuddle cat, but she found her voice and communicated her chirps and verbalisations extremely well and conversed with me often. I had a reason to come home. I had a reason to be home. I knew the mornings were her “in and out” time. She liked to go out on the back landing and have a “nosey”. For an indoor cat she developed a taste for watching and smelling the world go by – in the morning. The afternoons were for napping. She liked dinner on time.
And, very much like my Shih Tzu did 30 years or so ago – she was in charge of bedtime. Choochoo was happy to go to bed around 10 PM. Ginnie started in at about 8. I could delay her a bit and she would sit quietly near me, watching. Then I could make the excuse that indeed – it is warmer upstairs and as well I do have some reading to do. And it can easily be done in bed. And she could then do her kitty thing – purring, rubbing, kneading, chirping in a furry of attention. Made all the more better if I was doing my instagram as she loved to rub her chin on my iPhone. Then she would settle – and I would let her watch a few squirrel videos with me. And she would gaze at me and we would make squinty eyes…..the day was complete. She knew she had a forever home; she knew she was loved. And I did too.
When she was hurting, I would sit on the floor with her and pet her and just “be”. This was before I knew what was wrong. I tried reading her a book with a cat in it. She got up, turned around and settled with her back to me. I could read quietly to myself and just “be” with her. I thought winter had been hard on both of us. And as I studied my yoga lessons, just “be”ing was something she was supportive of.
Thank you, Ginnie. For everything you were to me. I look at your photo daily. It has taken me awhile to even return to writing this. It has been two months and I still cry. As you have seen, I am fostering a kitty right now – and you remind me of the advantages of a “more experienced” cat (Nina is under year). “I told you so” she says.
And I miss you so. xx