[note: this post originally appeared on a self-hosted WP blog.]
Dec 1, 2011
Ginger died today.
Our vet suspects cancer, based on a mass he found in her abdomen.
Bean, as we called her, came to us this past June. While living at the apartment, we met many stray and feral cats. This kitty, however, was the first to walk right up to me and nuzzle my feet.
We noticed, while watching her eat some food we provided, that if another cat came near, she ran away. Yet she came right back to us.
I took advantage of this to put her into a carrier and get her spayed. While she spent the following 48 hours in the bathroom, recovering, Sam and I decided to keep her.
She got her name when Sam filled out the intake form. In time, Ginger became known to us as Ginger Snap, Ginger Cookie, Ginger Rogers and then Ginger Bean. Finally, just Bean.
She was a torti, which brought our total to four (Dot, Midnight Oil and Creedence are the others). We could tell her apart from the other because of her tipped ear. Her demeanor also set her apart. It was as though she didn’t understand that the other cats were like her. The first few weeks she spent in the bathroom, or on a shelf in the bedroom.
Eventually, she started to explore the apartment. She found the large art table, and spent most of her time there.
When we moved all 10 to our house, she adapted well. She found the back of the easy chair, and spent many days of the past month sitting there.
About two weeks ago, Sam noticed how lethargic she had become. A visit to the vet revealed a slight temperature, so we did a round of antibiotics and did our best to coax her to eat and drink. She was on the mend until yesterday, when I got a feeling that she wasn’t doing very well.
A visit to our vet brought suggestion of cancer, or feline AIDS or leukemia. He felt a mass, but was unable to get a clear x-ray.
Today, her breathing became really labored. We got x-rays, which underlined the worst. One doctor asked if Ginger had been hit by a car.
While on the examining table at our vet, Ginger quietly stopped breathing.
Her death bookends 2011 for us, with Blondie having died last January.
It’s not easy to deal with loss of any kind. Loss of a beloved pet hits me because I can’t help but wonder what I did wrong. In both Blondie and Ginger’s cases, there is very little we could have done to save either cat.
I’m also amazed at how brief a time span can affect us. Blondie was with us just over 3 1/2 months. Ginger was with us just a few days shy of six months.
It’s possible that pets, like people, come into our lives for a finite period, and sometimes they go when they’ve ‘served their purpose,’ so to speak. Sometimes they leave before they’ve finished their work.
I see glimpses of Blondie in my other cats, and his gentle spirit in some of the people in my life. I suspect the same will hold true for Ginger.