Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Late Gina

It has now been a month and a half since the passing of our dear Gina, and I feel like we are through the mourning process and can now celebrate her life.

Ok, so I've made light of this a little, but for both Andrew and I, Gina was a member of the family.  To all you cat haters out there, I understand.  If you check earlier posts, I was attacked by a cat last summer and certain cats still scare the bejeebers out of me, whatever bejeebers are.

First I will tell you about Gina:
In October 2010, Andrew and I had lived in Fort Collins for about two months.  I was working full time, he was going to school full time.  School ended up being a little more time consuming that he anticipated, which left me alone and bored most weeknights while he did homework or studied or wrote papers or read text books.  One night I asked dear Andrew if it would be alright if we got a kitten, so I could have a friend.  He replied with, "That might be Ok.  Let's look into that."  I do not think he expected me to have found a kitten by the next afternoon.  I called him on my way home from work and told him I had found a woman whose cat had just had kittens and she would give us one for free.  Andrew's retort was, "I said we could look into it, I didn't think you'd have signed the adoption papers already..."  But he loves me, so we went to look at the kittens.

We picked the smallest kitten, a little girl.  We promptly (at 10pm on a weeknight) went to Wal-Mart to get litter, a cat box, and some food for our newest addition.  Andrew picked the name Gina (I wanted Izzy but i wasn't going to complain because I had my kitten).  That first night was....rough.  She slept between us, crawled on our heads, bit our ears, and meowed and meowed and meowed, I'm certain because she missed her family. After two nights of that, Andrew had had enough and we turned our spare room into "Gina's Room"  For the first few months we had to shut her in there during the night or else she wouldn't sleep.  She would start meowing at about 2 or 3am, and one of us would go in, pet her for a second and then shut the door and she would be just fine.

2 days after we got Gina

When I woke up in the mornings I would let Gina out and she would sit on my shoulder while I got ready for work (Yes, my shoulder.  Like a bird.  Or when I brushed my teeth she would hope on my back and fall asleep promptly while I was spitting and rinsing.).

Andrew became a quick fan of Gina as well, and I would regularly find them "studying" together

We also regularly found Gina in interesting places, such as in a hole in the cupboard, and in Andrew's shoe holder thinggy!

Now, just before her one year birthday, we started having some male cats hanging around the house wishing to..."court" her.  Well, our 800 sq. ft. apartment couldn't accommodate a litter of kittens, so we had Gina spayed (after which the male cats were never to be seen again...)  The day we brought her home, the vet said she would be "drunk" for up to 48 hours.  I thought that meant drowsy, sleepy and a bit out of it.  No, she meant drunk.  The vet advised we put her in a room where she couldn't jump on anything.  I don't know about any of you but I don't have a room with nothing in it.  I put her in the bathroom thinking it'd be safest.  I kept hearing this "thunk...thunk...thunk" noise and when I went to check on her, she was attempting to jump onto the tub, but couldn't jump.  So....she was just hitting the side of the tub with her head.  While babysitting her to make sure she didn't cause herself significant traumatic brain damage I got a few videos.

Gina was an unusually social cat as well.  She had trouble getting along with children under the age of three, as well as other mammals, but any other creature she loved.  Andrew and I both grew up with lots of animals, particularly cats.  We mentioned many times how none of the cats we have ever had were as social as Gina.  She wanted to be around people always.  Even when she wasn't hungry!!  She had a habit of jumping into neighbors cars, scaring people on the walkway, and going into other people's houses, just to say hi!

Gina loved to be outside too, and she is a cat, so she loved to hunt.  Although she didn't hunt to kill, she hunted to play.

Her playmate, a little garden snake

It took her awhile to learn, but once she got the hang of climbing things, she climbed everything.  Trees, bushes, sides of houses etc.


 We took Gina to travel with us a couple of times, but it really didn't work out well, and she didn't enjoy it, therefore, we asked friends to take care of her, which she enjoyed because she loved people!  In April of this year Andrew and I went on a trip for a few days.  We asked our neighbor and friend to come let Gina in and out, and to feed her.  We told our neighbor that she could stay as long as she wanted, play with Gina if she wanted, and to let Gina out if she wanted.  When we left, Gina was outside already.

Well...during the weekend, Gina never came around.  Our friend said she came over twice a day and even stuck around for 30-45 min. one afternoon.  We got home on Sunday evening, about 8pm, and left the doors open and lights on so Gina could know we were there.  We started to get a little worried.  

After about 45 minutes of being home, I heard her meow, and she wandered into the house, looking tired and dirty.  She went immediately to her food dish.  While she was eating, I noticed a large gash near her tail, and called for Andrew.  We could not tell how deep or how big the gash was because it was covered by her tail and a lot of fur, but we could tell that she was not doing well.  She went and just laid down, looking like she was in a lot of pain.  She couldn't walk very well and the gash was pretty bad looking.  We decided that we needed to take her to the vet (and on a Sunday night that means the animal ER...which means expensive.)

When we got there, they told us they would need to use local anesthesia to numb her so they could shave her and find out what was wrong.  After several attempts at that, she was screaming and bouncing off the walls, not letting the vet touch her, so the vet let us know that she would have to use general anesthesia and have her out so they could check her out.  After about an hour or so, they finally came to us and told us we could go back.  Gina's butt was shaved and it was apparent that the "gash" was a lot worse than we originally thought. She had clearly been attacked by some sort of animal, possibly a dog or a fox. She had a terrible hole that extended across her rectum and up into her abdomen.  The vet told us she had about a 5% chance of living IF we decided to do a $3500 abdominal surgery.  I cried and cried knowing that we needed to put her down.  At this point it was about 10.30pm, we were tired and the evening had been incredibly emotional and trying as it was.  I cried and cried as they put her down.  

Andrew and I got home about 11:30pm and again, we were exhausted.  We felt the loss of Gina, as strange as it sounds.  For the next several days we struggled, because Gina truly was part of our family.  We felt awful because it looked like the attack happened early in the weekend, and we didn't get home until Sunday night.  I felt like we made her suffer.  It was sad and hard to deal with, but we managed.

That is the short version of our Gina.  I know, she is "just" a cat, and now that we are having a baby, the baby is going to be more important than the cat, but as I mentioned, she was important to us and we loved her dearly and she taught us a lot about patience and love and truly caring for a creature other than ourselves.


  1. No! There are NEVER just cats.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about Gina. I LOVE cats, and they do become one of the family! I hope you keep thinking of your Happy Memories with Gina!

  3. The love you have for your pets and the love you have for your children really is different, but it's love nonetheless. It is amazing the impact our pets can have on our lives, the imprints of love they leave on our hearts, even after they are no longer physically with us. I am glad you are able to write about Gina and what she meant to you and your family. As the years pass I think you will find that the love and sense of companionship you felt from her will not diminish. And I'm sure it will be the same for Gina. :-)

  4. We know exactly how you feel. We believe cats are cats are cats. But still the little beasts are in our charge, and we love them. We are sorry. Rest in peace Gina.

  5. Poor you! Poor Gina-- I think that nasty cat or spawn of that maniac cat that attacked you came back and got her. Wow what a saga. Big hugs!