Friday, May 27, 2005

In Memory of Abigail

This is my cat Abigail, a k a Rickey, Gabby, Gaberdini, Sausage, and Biggie Paws, as well as variations on those known aliases. She was about 12 years old and had been with us for the last few years. She also had the feline leukemia virus, and today I'm sad to say she finally succumbed to her illness. In memorial tribute, I'd like to share some photos and tell you a little about her.

In her youth, she was a farm cat called Rickey, who lived with at least one brother and sister and an elderly couple who took care of them. She came to us a few years ago after one of her owners passed away, and the widow wasn't able to take her cats to her retirement home.

We found her with her siblings at a pet adoption day at PetsMart in Maplewood. Jenn had been petting a kitten on the top level of cages, who was cute but bit and clawed her hand. Meanwhile, in the next cage there was an older, large calico watching and rubbing her head against the door of the cage, carrying on as if to say, "Why would you bother with that little thing, when you should be over here petting ME!" When we opened her door, she immediately invited our hands to pet her--four hands at a time would be fine, as long as there were only two of us there and that's the best we could do. No sense in encouraging any idleness. She purred and talked and rubbed against us and carried on like she had known us for years. Jenn was charmed, and I have a special fondness for calico cats anyway, so we had to take her home.

We found that she wasn't putting on any special show that first day; it was no con just to get her sprung. Although she always was skittish when we were walking around--like our other calico, Pearl, she preferred her people to be seated or lying down--she really loved to sit on a person's lap or chest and be petted. Loved it, and she was never shy to let you know how much she enjoyed it. I usually felt particularly happy to be petting her and scratching the back of her neck. It was especially satisfying and comforting, because she so obviously appreciated it. Her feedback was a wonderful thing. She always was a demonstrative, gregarious kitty who could gab, gab, gab, gab, gab when she had something on her mind.

Most of the time, like many an older cat, she liked her quiet solitude, upstairs or on the porch if it was warm. She spent most of her time with Pearl, one of the more timid creatures on this earth, who had once lived in an abusive home and still tends to get bullied by the other cats in our house. I mean, it took a few years of living with us before Pearl would even come out of hiding in the daytime. Whenever another cat runs at Pearl, she turns and flees for hiding every time. Living with Gabby has been good for Pearl, though. She's becoming more assertive and vocal about communicating what she wants, and last week when the kitten pounced on her, I heard a little skirmish and looked up just in time to see Isabella running away with Pearl chasing from behind. That has never happened in the 6 years we've had Pearl, and that was all Abigail's influence.

We've known that Abigail had the feline leukemia virus since the first month she came to stay with us. We're still not sure if she or Gusto had been the original carrier; some mistake was made with one of them... but I guess it doesn't matter now. Anyway, we had known nearly all along that she had a terminal disease, and this day would come. She had been showing symptoms of feeling seriously ill the last couple weeks, so we had prepared as best we could. We're glad to say that for nearly all the rest of her time with us, she lived a happy and comfortable life, and it was a pleasure for us to have her, too. Wherever she's gone now, we hope she has a farm and familiar faces waiting to welcome her back again.

Farewell, Gaberdiniolini. We'll keep you in our hearts.


At 5/29/2005 11:50 AM, Blogger SBG said...

Sorry to hear about Abigail. Thanks for the story. Will share it with Lucy.

At 5/29/2005 11:57 AM, Anonymous Kristi said...

It sounds like Abigail had a really good life, first on the farm and then in your home with four hands to pet her and more kitty friends. :)

At 5/29/2005 12:08 PM, Blogger Moni said...

Really sorry to hear about Abigail. I also had a kitty that I loved very much but went on to a better place.

At 5/30/2005 9:53 AM, Blogger said...

Even if it was for a short time, you made "Gaberdiniolini's" life better, and yours, too, because of the lovely memories.

At 5/31/2005 12:11 AM, Blogger Batgirl said...

'Wig and Jen, I'm so sorry about Abigail. What a beautiful girl she is. Our thoughts are with your family.

Batgirl, Jeb, and the Batkitties

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