Today is a sad say in the Cootiehog household. We had to put down Ginger the Cat, who was probably about 16 years old. Of our four cats she was my favorite, and before I had kids she WAS my child in every way. I loved and adored her, and her sweet, sweet Calico spirit.
She came to us as a rescued kitty a long with her brother Fred. They had been abandoned and we took them as a pair rather than break them up. She was very skittish when we first brought her home to our apartment in Queens, NY. She hid a lot and we couldn’t figure out how to make her realize she was safe now. However, one day while we were at work she got herself stuck between the oven and the wall in our kitchen. In trying to get her out, I was terrified that we’d crush her – it took forever because there was VERY little wiggle room to get that oven out from the wall to get her out. From the minute I “saved” her she became my shadow – it was as though getting her out from that predicament helped her realize that we loved her and would care for her.
Sure, she’d sometimes drive me crazy with the neediness and constant begging for petting and affection. But I loved cuddling with her on the sofa while I watched TV. One time I woke up to find her sleeping on my head. Other times, if she was hungry at night and the food bowl empty (we kept dry food out 24 hours a day since she and Freddie had serious food issues due to their previous owner’s lack of care), she would jump on the bed and proceed to jump over my head multiple times, just brushing up against my face, until I woke up and put food back in the bowl.
In the past year she started to show signs of her age – she started getting very skinny, for one. I took her to the vet, who confirmed she had hyperthyroidism. We attempted to give her medication, but as she had no teeth (she didn’t have them when we adopted her – they had all fallen out) and we therefore had no way to get her mouth open and STAY open long enough to pop in the pill. We finally gave up and just decided to continue as is until it was her time to go.
A couple days ago we came home from work and couldn’t find her anywhere. She wasn’t in any of her normal hiding/sleeping spots. On a lark I pulled the sofa out from the wall and found here there. She has NEVER slept there in the entire time we’ve lived here, and so I took that to be her way of hiding to save us the pain of having her leave us (outdoor domestic cats are notorious for going off to pass away in a neighbor’s yard rather than be at home with their caretakers).
And so today I took her to the vet to be put down. She lived a good life (well, she did once we got her – I can’t say her life before us was good due to her previous owner), and we loved her very much. She was a great cat, a very sweet cat, and can never be replaced.