An old, beat-up, one-eyed cat came into our lives last year, homeless, and malnourished. We already had five cats, who were all born in our house, and we did not need another. I did remember seeing this same orange cat with a big head walking around the neighborhood from time to time over the years. He was now in pretty bad shape, and apparently unable to hunt, or to defend himself. I decided to give him some water and dry cat food before sending him on his way, but by then it was too late. Ginger Cat had won our hearts.
We fed and cared for Ginger Cat and his condition greatly improved. He resumed patrolling the neighborhood, as he had been doing for many years, but our house was now his home, where he was loved and fed. I made him up a place to sleep in the garage for when it was cold or stormy, but mostly he liked to sleep in the cat-cube on the front porch bench. We sometimes found Ginger napping on the living room sofa, or in one of the beds. He was very affectionate, and always up for a "head butt" or a good scratching. On many mornings, I would sit on the front porch bench with my coffee, and Ginger Cat would snuggle up next to me and watch the birds in the yard.
Last Saturday afternoon, I watched Ginger head out across the back yard on one of his walks around the neighborhood, and I fixed him up a bowl of cat food for when he came back hungry. I put it in a zip-lock bag and set it in the fridge. I don't know why he didn't come back later that day, but it was not unusual for him to stay out until the next morning. The following day he had still not shown up, and I later found out that on Sunday at about midnight Ginger Cat had been attacked and killed by a dog, about two or three blocks away.
We miss Ginger Cat very much, and we treasure the memories of all the good times we shared with this wonderful friend.
"Good Bye, my beloved, beat-up, old, one-eyed friend. I will never forget you."
Photos by Michael Boyd and Rebekah Fusina