As all artists know, our lives influence what we create… whether we create visual, auditory, or literary art, life fuels creativity. Today, my life was altered by the passing of my dear feline friend… Gidget. For those of you who hate the word “pet” because it does not properly encompass all that they are to us, you will understand this the most. For those of you who don’t get that the connection can be just as strong as with a human being, and sometimes more so… this probably isn’t the post for you… and that’s okay. Carry on… I’m sure the next post will be less pet-centric. Now, on with my tale….
Gidget came into our lives almost exactly eight years ago… I’ve always loved cats and was living with my boyfriend (now my husband) who also had an affinity for feline kind. Anyway, my aunt’s cat had recently had kittens, and she had promised me one… when I arrived to look at them, two remained, and I couldn’t choose between them… So I took them both home with me. One, all white but a grey spot atop his head, I named Ghost. The other, grey and white, my aunt had been calling Gidget because she liked the name… and I didn’t want to change it.
So, I returned to our pre-/mid-renovation home, two kittens in hand… and I haven’t looked back since. (He-he… sorry, I had to throw that in.) In the next two years, we picked up two more cats (one was adopted, the other we found on our back porch in the middle of the night with a broken tail) but these two were what started it all. Our first “pets” away from home, in a new home, on our own… no one else’s. Of course, they were automatically family but quickly became our friends.
Gidget was the fearless one… and Ghost only went where she went. She was unafraid to love us from the start and unafraid of us loving her… Ghost had to be coaxed… but eventually came around. They spent every moment together as they became adult cats, spending the first few months climbing up everything, including us. As we renovated our house, they had countless adventures.
When we brought our third cat (the adopted one… Little Bit) into the house, Gidget disliked him immediately. He was flashy and flirty… and obnoxious… and a bit of a bully… But I truly believe she was happy, as long as she was with us. Of course, she couldn’t have been too excited about the fourth cat (Joey, the baby), especially since she was now outnumbered three-to-one. But she soldiered on….
All of our cats grew to be quite large, but Gidget was a smaller cat with a very large, round belly… something we have blamed on spaying… and the vet that performed the surgery… she was never quite right physically after that. But we did what we could to make sure our feline friends were healthy, from spaying/neutering to regular vaccinations and check-ups. In any case, that was often the first thing people noticed about Gidget — her size. But it didn’t take long for them to realize she was the sweetest, most lovable cat pretty much on the whole entire planet (you get the idea…). 🙂
And, oh! Have I mentioned how smart Gidget was?! This cat could get out of just about any situation. At first, we couldn’t figure out how she was getting into or out of certain rooms… Then, one day, we saw her jump up and hit at a doorknob (over and over again, if necessary) until the door opened… Yeah.
But late last year, we noticed a lump on her shoulders… and when we took her to the vet, cancer was the diagnosis. We were shell-shocked but had hope… until just before we planned on starting radiation and a chest x-ray showed the cancer had spread to her lungs. With feelings of guilt (for not catching it soon enough), anger (at the universe and the vaccinations that seemed to cause it — Vaccination-induced Sarcoma — we now suggest to any cat-owner reconsider vaccinating their indoor cats unless absolutely necessary), and a great deal of sadness, we took her home with the sole purpose of keeping her comfortable until the time came… Well, today what that day. It was quick — almost too quick, even with all the time we had since her prognosis — and we’re still a bit shocked by it all… But aren’t we all when we lose someone we love? We can never be truly prepared… even when it is “just a cat”… Of course, we all know she was more than that.
Sure, she could be pushy when it came to lovins… but she was quiet and bright and strong (mentally and physically)… and stubborn and perceptive… and so many things. She will be missed in all her kitty simplicity and complexity.
When it comes to our animal friends (especially when we’ve lost one) we sometimes might wonder if the short amount of time we have with them is worth the loss we suffer through in the end… It is. Every moment we experience in their presence is a gift. Their lives may be short but their love can have as much impact as that of any person.
For such a small creature, Gidget came with much impact… And, though I am hurting, I am grateful for that. So, I have written this post (and wow, you’ve read so far now — thank you!) not only to help me deal and begin to heal, but to honor the memory of my friend and companion.
GIDGET (2004 – 2012) We love and miss you… Thank you for sharing your life with us.