|Photo by Linda Sewell|
Our neighbour, Linda, who lives three blocks away from us, is also a foster parent for VOKRA. Because we live in such close proximity, and because Linda has no car, someone in our organization suggested that she call us one evening about two years ago when her foster cat was running low on litter.
When Sheral and I arrived with the goods about fifteen minutes later, we found Linda's apartment door standing open, and a beautiful, mature black cat, strutting down their hallway to greet us. If I remember correctly, the greeting was a great, ear-splitting "MAAAAAH-ROW-WOW". Georgy Girl, Linda explained to us, was twelve years old, and among her other endearing qualities, was as deaf as a post. Since she could no longer hear her indoor voice, she had elected to forsake its use entirely.
We three humans visited and talked for awhile, but the Tall Lady and I used much of that first visit trying to make our best impression on that pretty, black cat. She was petted, caressed and complimented by all in the room, including her proud foster mom. This is quite justifiable, I think. They're supposed to be spoiled; that's why we call them pets.
Over the course of the next two years, we got phone calls from Linda on a regular basis. "It's the pest again," she would begin before going on to tell us what she needed. Whether it was another bag of stove pellets, a few cans of food or a ride to the latest adoption event, we never minded. It gave us a chance to visit her and our friend Georgy.
Georgy was not always a spoiled pet. She was around eleven when she strayed from her home, and she lived on the street for about a year, cold, hungry and frightened. What should be the worst part of her story is that she was found only seven blocks from that home. What is the worst part is this: when she was rescued, the microchip in her ear was traced back to her owners, and they refused to take her back! The best part of all this is that she found Linda.
She's been on our adoption gallery for two years, and has even attended an adoption event or two, although she never seemed to care for them much. When Linda was able to foster other cats, Georgy would tend to bully them - just to remind them that they were just passing through. It was Georgy's home, after all, and Linda was Georgy's person! Because she was a black cat of a certain age, and because she had special needs, Georgy had few visitors, other than her VOKRA friends.
In addition to being deaf, she had an ongoing thyroid problem, which had been treated with both medication and radiation therapy. Recently, the ongoing thyroid problem turned into a cancer.
I think I've explained that she was a fighter, but over the past few days the fight has become overwhelming. She's had very bad days, interspersed with a few good moments. Yesterday it seemed that she was just too tired to try anymore.
Sheral and I were in New Westminster picking up five three-day-old kittens who were on their way to Maria Soroski's house. Maria couldn't pick them up herself because she'd already made arrangements to go to Linda's to assist her and the vet. Half an hour later, she came to our place to pick up the babies. I carried the kittens out to her van, and we talked for awhile about Georgy, Linda and the events of their last afternoon together.
While Maria got their bottles ready, I placed their carrier on the soft, clean, white towel that she had arranged carefully on her passenger seat. She took the little ones into her hands one by one, fed them their little bit of formula, wiped their chins and examined their credentials. It was only after she placed them all into the new clean carrier that she showed me what the soft, clean, white towel on her passenger seat contained.
So, I guess, in my own clumsy way, I did get to say goodbye to Georgy Girl after all. I'd like to think that she'd understand my distraction, and would excuse the indignity. I suspect though, that I may need to think of some appropriate penance. Cats can hold grudges forever, you know.
Georgy Girl was fourteen years old. She was loved, and she is missed.