I first saw Ginger, when I looked out of an upstairs window on the day our much loved cat, Tom, died Ginger was with his semi feral mother and two other females a calico mother and her baby. He was the cutest little kitten, and as I've always had a soft spot for ginger cats, it was love at first sight.
We hadn't intended to get another cat, but Tom's food was still in the house, and four hungry felines were on the doorstep. It seemed logical to let them in and share the food amongst them. Ginger, the smallest, was also the hungriest and mewed pitifully as my mother put the food in a dish.
He was also the shyest apart from his feral mother and to begin with, only my mother could coax him to come in, as we thought visiting cats would help ease the pain of loosing Tom.
Initially, Ginger and the other kitten, whom we named Josephine were very close to each other and would sleep on a chair, curled up together. However, if there was any trouble, Ginger was always in the centre of it and proved the hardest to house train.
After one accident on my best carpet, I determined not to let him in again and shouted, "Go away, you naughty cat!" He started to cry so pitifully, that I immediately relented and never had any more problems. It was as if he understood.
As he grew older, it was obvious he was the most timid of the bunch. The two females, by now called Queenie and Josephine would come inside for the evening, but Ginger preferred to stay outside and only creep in to eat the scraps the others had left.
It became obvious that Queenie was going to be a mother again, while Josephine and Ginger were growing fast. My mother realised something would have to be done before we were overrun with kittens. We discovered the cats were the unwanted pets of the next door neighbour so with their permission, my mother contacted the Cat's Protection league, who arranged to have Josephine, Ginger and the semi feral cat taken to the vet's to be sterilised at once, while Queenie waited until after the kittens were born. The neighbour said she didn't want them back, so although we only wanted one cat, my mother thought it a pity to part Josephine and Ginger, and arranged for them to be brought back to our home from the vets.
Josephine shot straight out of the cat carrier and jumped on the windowsill to see what was happening, oblivious of her stitches. Poor Ginger cowered in the back of the carrier and only emerged, as the lady from the Cats protection League was arranging to call back for the box the next day!
As Josephine grew up, she rejected poor Ginger, who became the odd one out. He was delighted when Queenie's new kitten Leo came to live with us and immediately took him under his wing, or should I say paw?
Despite his shyness, Ginger is a real character. He loves to lick my shoes or my feet or even nibble my toes if I'm not careful.
He is very partial to yoghurt and loves to lick a carton after I've finished with it, his agile tongue reaching where my spoon can't
He is also fond of milk and if the jug is left on the table is quite capable of lifting both a plastic basin and a tin off the jug, with which, I've vainly attempted to cover it!
Ginger rarely hunts but one night to my considerable disquiet, he came home with a huge koi carp, which I attempted in vain to revive. I hoped this was a one off incident, so I was horrified when he brought another just a few days later. I never discovered from whence they came, which was maybe as well, or I'd been presented with an enormous bill, which I'd have been morally obliged to pay. After that, Ginger lost his taste for fishing, much to my relief.
He rarely sleeps on my bed, but loves to sit on my knee after standing on his two hind legs to ascertain that my lap isn't already occupied.
Once installed, he proceeds to knead my leg, often leaving my dress the worse for wear and my leg covered in scratches, but as he purrs all the time, how could I be cross, especially when he rubs my nose with his in an Eskimo kiss? He's so intelligent; a kiss is mine for the asking! .
Ginger is still very timid and will go out in the rain rather than brave any visitors in the house.
He's a dignified gentle giant and a very special cat!