Ode to Morrie and Ginger

This post is in remembrance of my Australian cats Morrie and Ginger, who are still sorely missed.

Morrie (Morpheus) – 1999 to June 16 2008

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Morrie was the “Sweetheart of the Week” at the Cat Haven and caught my eye because he seemed to want to come home with me, rubbing back and forth on the metal gate, meowing to say hello.  When I went inside to meet him and picked him up he immediately flipped himself over into his signature position – face to face, paws wrapped around my neck in a hug.  I thought he looked very distinguished with grey hairs scattered through his black fur coat.

When I took him home he was very shy and scared, and immediately took post under my bed.  But when you went upstairs and lay down on the floor beside the bed, he would emerge and rub your face and head-butt you to say hello.  He was a sick cat at first, with worms, a dull coat with dandruff, and a touch of cat flu.  Soon he got healthy and started eating… and eating and eating.  Morrie ate like every meal was his last, and very soon was a big fat cat.

Morrie was a crazy cat and would often race around the house for no reason, inventing games to play with himself.  He would often jump on Chris and I kamikaze style from behind the couch, knead our rolly bits to get a good spot, and lick our faces.  At bedtime he loved when he could sneak in the bedroom and take his usual spot next to my head and lick my face all night.

Morrie enjoyed eating, rolling in the sand outside, following me around the house, meowing, sleeping on pillows, running around for no reason, pouncing on Ginger, head –butting, licking faces, and being in the centre of the action.  Morrie and Chris had a special bond and Morrie would often jump on Chris’ chest and settle down for naps.

A few months later Morrie was diagnosed with diabetes and required insulin injections twice daily.  Morrie was the perfect patient and soon learned that needles weren’t all that bad – especially because they came with food!  The vet and vet staff soon grew to love Morrie and all knew him by name.  Our vet said he was the perfect cat as he was laid back and calm and loved to cuddle.

Morrie was truly a kindred spirit and we were lucky to have met him.  He enriched our lives with his curiosity, craziness, vulnerability, and love.  He taught me that nothing beats a good cuddle.  He will be sorely missed.

Ginger – 2001 to June 2 2008

Ginger caught my attention at the Cat Haven because he was a large proud ginger tom with a sweet face and beautiful green eyes.  It seemed like he knew his fun wasn’t over yet – being cooped up in a cage was a mere bump in the road.  Soon he would be out prowling the streets again, seeking new adventures.  He wasn’t a cat to be held hostage for long – and he proved that by chewing and clawing his way out of the cardboard cat carrier provided by the cat shelter!  They had to get a heavy duty plastic and metal carrier just to get him to the vet’s office so he could be examined.

Once I got him home he was a happy cat until he realized what was on the other side of the door – freedom!  I lived in an apartment at the time and letting him loose was not an option, but I slowly introduced him to the outdoors after his constant yelling at the door.  He soon learned how to escape from the balcony even though I had tried to cat-proof it with bamboo matting, planters, and carefully tied string.  One day I found him upside down, hanging off the second storey balcony, ready to jump… it took quite a bit of work to untangle him from the string and get him back on the balcony.  He didn’t seem phased, probably planning his next escape.

With the continued attempted escapes, as well as Ginger’s new habit of spraying in the house, I thought I should take ‘outside’ to a new level.  I purchased a cat harness in hopes I could take him for walks.  Unfortunately the cat harness was not made for ‘robust’ cats of Gingers stature – I had to buy a puppy harness just to fit it around his belly and neck.  With the newly fashioned harness, Ginger had his first tastes of outdoors in a long time.  He took to walks like a fish to water.  Everything was interesting and fun, never scared of cars or wind, and he often led me around the building (much to my neighbours’ surprise and delight).  All went well until it was time to turn around and go back.  Usually Ginger retaliated to me picking him up by a growl or hiss, and often a quick paw-swipe to the face.

Once I moved into the house, Ginger was really in his element.  A yard to dig and roll in, plants to rub and lie on, and a whole neighbourhood of interesting noises and smells.  The first day I let him outside for a peek he immediately hopped over the neighbours’ fence into the un-mowed grass jungle next door.  After a delicate retrieval operation, we got him back into our yard, but the love affair had started with the untamed jungle next door.  I’ll never forget the sight of Ginger ‘s silhouette sitting on our fence one night, overlooking the empty bulldozed yard next door after the demolition crew had finished, mourning the loss of his jungle.

Ginger always seemed to be up to something, whether it was climbing on the neighbours roofs at night, climbing on our roof and popping by our bedroom window to say hello, or having heating discussions with the neighbourhood feline population.  He would always greet me when I came home from work, running up to me and meowing, walking back with me to the house, telling me of the adventures he had gotten up to that day.

Ginger got into a few scraps but he never instigated them.  From what I saw he never started a fight, merely stood his ground and waited for the other cat to make his move.  After he had an operation to clean out an infected abscess (due to a bite) he was a very depressed cat.  The thought of not being allowed to go outside for a few weeks was too much for him, and he could barely manage to move from his spot on the couch until the stitches were out.  However once they were out, Ginger had a glorious last weekend outside, enjoying the warm sun, fragrant grass, flowery bushes, and sweet smelling soil.

This is how I want to remember Ginger, happily lying in the sun, looking back at me with his knowing green eyes, squinting with the joy of it all.

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