Wednesday, April 12, 2006

G is for....


I adopted Ghiradelli and his sister, Godiva, (I named them, btw, can you tell I have a thing for chocolate?) from the Chicago City Pound in Jan. 2002. Neither of them was in very good shape and I sincerely think my vet thought neither one of them was long for this world. Ghiradelli looked especially bad--emaciated (you could feel his vertebrae when you pet him) and his fur was all funky; it was not particularly pleasant to pet him. Both of them had rotten teeth and Ghiradelli eventually had 7 teeth removed and needs to have another three pulled in the near future. Ghiradelli had a heart rate that was half that of a normal cat. And these cats did not come in off the street--their owner brought them in.

This entry would've been called Godiva and Ghiradelli, but in the fall of 2003, Godiva became very, very ill. She was having difficulty moving around and when I took her to the vet, I found out she had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). There is no cure. She was suffering and so with a heavy heart, I had her put to sleep. My eyes are tearing up as I write this. She was a good kitty and had just finally opened up to me and then she was gone.

Poor Ghiradelli was left alone and I could not get him a new kitty companion. There is no doubt he was exposed to FIP and he remains a carrier of the disease. I did get him vaccinated, but the odds of that working are very slim. So, the virus lays dormant inside him and one day may arise and I will lose him, too.

But, enough of this sadness! Ghiradelli is here now and he is a wonderful cat. He is incredibly laid back and relaxed and very friendly. When new people show up he comes out to check them out. He'd probably lead a thief straight to the family silver. He is a "mature" kitty; I'll never know his exact age, but when I got him, he was probably about 10 years old which would make him 14 now. But, he's still very playful and active and he will get those damn pigeons who sit on the windowsill if it is the last thing he does. He's useless with bugs--he just plays with them, he doesn't eat them. He's not so into catnip--he could take it or leave it.

Ghiradelli and my hubby have something resembling a sibling rivalry. John refuses to let the kitty sleep on his pillow and Ghiradelli defiantly gets up on the table no matter how much John yells at him (though it might work better if John didn't just come into the dining room and point at the cat and say, "Hey! Yes, you!" [because G will look over at him like, who are you talking to?] "Shoo! Get down! Bad kitty! Shoo!" while G just lays his ears back and pretends not to notice until John gets right up to him, then G will proceed to walk across the entire table before getting down). But I know he secretly loves the kitty. Once, while I was at a conference John told me over the phone that he didn't sleep very well because, "kitty was snoring" (he never uses G's name--it's just "kitty"), and he "tried poking him a few times to get him to stop." I guess it never occurred to him to put the cat out of the room.

Ghiradelli has grown quite attached to his people and definitely notices when one of us is gone for a few days. He's been known to sit and watch the door in the evenings, waiting for the missing party to return home. G likes to be in the same room as me, wherever that is (including the bathroom). He really likes to be on me, especially if I'm reading something (he'll be on the reading), or knitting (so he can bat at the ends of the needles and get tangled up in the yarn and generally be a pest), or eating, or well, just about anything. He particularly likes to eat his dinner (I give him a small amount of canned catfood twice a day in addition to his dry food--it's hard for him to eat the dry food because of his teeth) when we are having our dinner. If I come home late, having eaten dinner somewhere else, he has often not eaten very much of his dinner, so I'll go sit in the dining room so he'll eat.

My family has always had cats and I have always found them to be great companions. I've never had a cat that wasn't friendly; I don't know if that's something to do with me personally or if I've just been really lucky.

I know that my time with Ghiradelli is limited. Even if he wasn't a carrier for FIP, he's getting up there in years. But I'm going to enjoy every minute he's a part of my life.


  1. Oh you've got a kitty who snores too! And he's so handsome! I miss my children--even their snoring. Ours are shelter cats too. Even if G is a carrier, know that you've given him a wonderful few years.

  2. *sniffle* You and Ghiradelli are both so wonderful! He seems like a wonderful cat, and you are a saint for taking in two obviously sickly cats. The Denver Dumb Friends League has a special section for "special needs" cats, and I want so much to be in a place (financially) where I can adpot some of them and show them the love and care they deserve. They so often get left behind, and most of them are fantastic companions who just need a little extra care.