She came into our lives mid-July of 2006. It was the first year since my sweetie and I had met that we weren’t performing at the Ren Faire. As people began to move back on the Faire site and prepare for a season we wouldn’t be a part of, a feral cat that had holed up in a booth abandoned her litter. There were three kittens that needed homes and serious care. My one-time joust partner called me at once.
Though Don and I already had the two engagement kitties, we had occasionally discussed adopting a third. The timing was fortuitous. We took the black kitten. She’d already had a rough start in life, so we gave her the name of a hero: Zinda, aka Lady Blackhawk. Zee was so tiny, shaky on her feet (she would not stay still, feisty from the first), her eyes a milky blue. I’d never had a cat so young. It was an education: feedings every three hours. Helping her eliminate waste afterward. Trying to teach her as Mama Cat would. We did the best we could. I took her to work with me, using my breaks at the bookstore to feed and play with her*. I tried to teach her manners, but she was a scrapper. She liked to wrestle, she loved to bite. When, as suggested to me, I tipped my fingers with Tabasco sauce, she simply licked it off with every evidence of enjoyment. She was an adorable demon kitten.
Although I was the one to administer the feedings, to encourage the internal maintenance, to clean and guide and nurture Zinda, my company was merely acceptable. Her adoration, her true love, her complete devotion was reserved for Don. He was her person. When he showered, she’d sit on the edge of the sink and wait for him to finish. When he’d dressed, she’d climb up on his shoulders and perch there, quite happily, until it was time for him to work. It was his lap she wanted, his skritches she preferred. The love was thoroughly mutual.
She was a bit of brat. She was a sleek, sable beauty. She was fearless. She owned her place with my sweetie and I as well as the other kitties.
When she was just over two years old, she developed a problem in one of her eyes. We took her to the regular vet, then to a specialist. Tests were done. All the while, things grew worse. It was clearly indicative of a systemic problem. After a couple of weeks, we had a diagnosis: feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a brutal disease for which there is no cure.
It was gutting. I’d never lost so young a pet. I wrote about it on my livejournal, the diagnosis and the saying goodbye. Here, I’ll share some photos, a bit of her life. I’m crying as I write this. It’s been six years, but I miss her still and am so very glad she was in our lives. I suspect Zinda knew exactly how much joy she brought us, how very lucky we were. She was a savvy kitty.
Note: all photos can be clicked to embiggen.
From Day One, Zee was Don’s girl.
*I was a rockstar. Everyone wanted kitten time; Zee ate it up.