Thursday, April 03, 2008

In Memoriam: Inkspot Ferguson, 1990-April 3, 2008

This evening sometime after 5:00 p.m. Inkspot, our wonderful, happy-spirited kitty passed away. She had been our dancing cat with the lightest paws -- they hardly touched the ground when she'd see us and come to meet us. She spent her days with Curte, sitting on his desk while he worked, our dear friend and companion. I will write more very soon. Tonight, just hours after she has gone to be with Zip Zip, my heart is too broken. Someday we will see you again, darling. For now, you're with your kittens in a happy place.

100_0156 inkspot on window sill 2

Inkspot sometime in 2004.

Days Later, the House Is So Empty

It's been five days since Inkspot has left us, and the shock has hardly worn off. Curte tidied up in the evening and had an armload of things to bring upstairs. "Must leave room to carry Spot," he thought, and then it hit him that she no longer would stand in his arms as he brought her upstairs for the night. I pass the yellow barrel-back chair that she favored in the living room: its seat is a thick down cushion and it's close to a skirted table she could leap onto that gave onto a great view of the front yard. Usually I have a little startled moment as I realize that she no longer naps there. Yesterday something close by sounded like a cat retching after she has eaten grass, and I thought, "Oh boy, better check on her", but the sound came from outdoors.

On winter morning in late 1991 or early 1992 as I was struggling with my master's thesis and very bored, I glanced out of the dining room window, and saw a small black and white cat emerge from under a parked car in the lot below. It was such a thin little being, and I'd not seen it before.

So I went to investigate and found a bony young kitty with a big stomach and spots of engine oil down her back from having rubbed the underside of a car. She was terribly skittish. It took time, perhaps a day or two, and tuna fish and dry cat food to lure her to our second-floor landing, and from thence into our house. At first I said she'd stay on our porch at the back of the apartment, but that lasted a few hours and then she was wandering our rooms, sniffing and tentatively happy. I recall she found and ate the wrapper from a stick of butter. Clearly she had been on her own and trash-picking for some time.

We named her Inkspot for her tuxedo patterning -- not that engine oil on her fur -- and when I opened the door to the outside some days later, where it was warm and sunny, she stood near the threshold, but would go no further, and she looked at me and meowed. She did not want to leave us. So that was that. She was part of the family.

Her thin-thick self proved not to have a worm infestation but to be bearing kittens, and when the time came to deliver them, she wanted my sister's affection and help, unusual in cats, who often like privacy. She asked for help in caring for the five little ones, too: as the kittens grew she couldn't easily lift the biggest of them, fuzzy blue-gray boy Woolly Bear, and on the way from an old den to a new one, dropped him in the hallway, meowing for us to pick him up and carry him for her. We helped her carry each kitten. When the kittens used us as jungle gyms, she rested nearby.

Her Spotness, International Cat of Mystery, our Miss Silly, sweet tater purrpaw, Little Spot, she was svelte and when she purred, if you listened closely she might favor you with a breathy, elegant sound intermixed with the deep inner vibration. As the years passed, she discovered the joys of lap sitting and sleep on the bed, and took to Curte, so much so that in pictures we have of him at breakfast, there's Inkspot next to him on a chair, paws tucked under has he reads the paper; there's Inkspot next to his rocking chair on the front porch, there's a quiet moment for man and cat on the back deck in the sunshine, there she is sprawled as he works on house renovations in Atlanta. There she is perched on just three inches of chair arm in his office as he works, or on his desk next to the mouse pad, so he has to circle his arm around it to get to the mouse. There they are out in the back yard, touring the grounds together, cat in front a few steps, sometimes starting up for no reason and tearing pell-mell to a tree to climb it halfway in the joy of being alive.

My sister also wrote about Inkspot: see her post.

You were about 18, we guess, when you left us, but you graced us with sixteen delightful years. We miss you, sweet Spot.


Lauren Christine said...

My heart goes out to you. I pray you will find comfort. Inkspot will always be with you in your heart.

CreewJulie said...

Oh sweet little Spontnick! Inkspot I will so miss you - scratching you just at the base of your tail where you liked it so much, burying my face into your skinny little frame to hear your deep purrs...
Natalie I and so sorry for your, Curte's, and the boys loss of such a dear companion! I cry at the loss of her, but also at how scary the last while might have been for her as she declined in health and abilities. As impossibly hard as is must have been, you made the right choice.
Many hugs,
Your sister, and Inkspots other mother

Rebecca said...

Natalie, I'm surrounding all of you with many prayers of comfort. I know that she's dancing in heaven with Zip Zip and our frisky hounds, Anastasia and Sasha...


Jodes said...

My heart goes out to you! It is hard to lose a pet, who has so long been a part of your family. I am sitting here trying not to cry over your loss. What a lovely tribute to a dear, furry friend!

JodieR from S&S