Ginger

September 2002

 

Ginger just arrived. It was probably 1998 when he first appeared. We don’t know how old he was. He was rumoured to be sleeping in the barn up the road. The cows kept him warm. Kindly souls made sure he didn’t starve.

It was some months before spouse proclaimed “That ginger cat has just let me stroke him.” It was the start of a close friendship.

His worst trauma was being hit by a car. Neighbours told us he’d been hit and that he’d run off towards the farm. We searched the wet fields to no avail. Nor was there any sign of him next morning – until we spotted just a slight movement in an old basket left in the garage. It was then that we knew we were his home. The vet cleaned up his wounds and gave him the magic jab.

He moved into our kitchen. At the time, we had an ailing elderly she-cat. We treated his ear mites, worms and fleas. He was like a walking chemical lab. He accepted the ear drops with quiet resignation.

When our lady cat died, he moved in proper. He should have been named Norton, because with his loud purr he did a very good motorbike impression. Edward would have been a good name too – reflecting his dignity and placid nature. But by then he was simply Ginger.

July 2004

He was a fine figure of a cat. He’d outface any dog. And he was the terror of other tom-cats. Through his scraps, he lost first one, then two more of his four fangs. But we never knew him to catch a mouse or a bird. His one fear was the car journey to the vet.

Ginger was a contemplative cat. We used to think he was working on a theorem. The markings on his forehead looked like a perpetual frown. The markings on his sides were like the rings of a target – ideal for paper pellets. After his op, he lost the sex but he still relished drugs and rock ‘n roll. Catnip he found irresistible. And he got very wild when rolled up in an old wool rug. He enjoyed sitting on a knee, watching TV.

August 2004

He didn’t pester – just sat silently by the empty food bowl or by the back door. He was really an out-door cat – sitting for hours just surveying his patch. The call of the wild was still there but so was the call of the central heating. He always ambled up to the car to greet you and give you a rub.

October 2006

He tolerated a co-habiting she-cat for a few years. But when she died, a new trouble entered his life - a tiny kitten. At first she was terrified - and easily bullied. But she persisted in her overtures, steadfastly ignoring his rude rebuffs. The relationship grew like Shrek and Donkey.

Then slowly, over 2006, his health declined, his physique dwindled, his eyesight failed. A nasty abscess on one eye did respond to treatment. But he ended up near blind. The vet didn’t know whether it was a heart condition causing a lung problem or vice versa. We thought he was rallying in early January but then found him keeled over when we got home from work. His coat was still beautiful.

Ginger 1995? - 10.Jan.2007