Homage to Ginny

News from home: Ginny, my little cat of nearly ten years, has died. A couple of days after I left for New York, he stopped eating and drinking and just sat around with his eyes half-closed in a daze. And so, stoically, little Gin (né Haya-ji) slipped out of this world during the night.

Tim & Gin

I picked little Gin out when he was a kitten at an animal shelter near our home in Maine. He was just sitting there in a cage, looking slightly cowlicked and wolfish. I knew he was coming home with us. So we named him Haya-Ji after the Japanese god of whirlwinds. He was skittish and wild, but finally settled into a calmer attitude.

Anyone who’s ever been bitten or scratched by Gin knows that he still had quite a terrifying wild streak, which he most brutally demonstrated by pulling apart the bodies of small animals like moles, mice and birds. We joked that he was a serial killer, as Gin seemed more interested in dissecting the creatures than in eating them (but why would he when Mum was feeding him bowlfuls of kefir, boiled chicken and scrambled eggs?).

Once, after telling a group of college friends about the existence of fishers (or “fisher cats”), my friend Jazmine and I took a trip to Maine to visit my parents. During the trip, Ginny lunged at Jazmine, who was sitting peacefully on the floor, stroking his back as he paced around. He left such scratch marks on her body that we went back to school with tales of wild fisher cat attacks that were told far and wide.

Despite his outbursts of violence, Gin was a loving companion who always knew when I was sick or upset, and would curl up beside me to make sure I was ok. I’m going to miss his big old double paws.


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