Jinx, daughter of Lucy and niece of Benson, has now left us after nearly 18 years. The shock and pain of her swift death have left us a little numb. She is the second of our beloved clan that we have lost this year which feels all the more unjust. Jinx was a quietly determined character, the ‘thinker’ of the group. There was many a time she would look me full in the face and seem to be weighing up what her next move would be, sometimes that look could only be described as disdain for the acts of humans.
She generally chose to stay aloof and apart from the rest of the feline group and to be fair Phoebe and Lucy were often a little intolerant of her. Upstairs was her domain from the moment she was born in the bottom of my wardrobe. Lucy delighted us with four gorgeous kittens and the agreement was I could keep one and the others would find new homes. A friend took two, the wonderfully named Bonnie and Clyde, and we were left with Spike and a ‘spare cat.’ Somehow spare cat never moved out and she became my beautiful Jinx
She effectively made our bedroom and my office her main territory and woe betide any of the others straying in that direction. My expensive ergonomic office chair was essentially rendered useless as she loved nothing more than to wrap herself against its contours forcing me to perch on the edge, “push her off” I was frequently told, but that simply resulted in an on-going game of claiming and re-claiming the chair throughout the day – she was, as I have said, extremely determined when she set her mind to something.
She had a long, thin, striped tail a bit like a Lemur that would be held straight up Meerkat style as she ran to greet you or receive her food. It would also regularly beat a loud thumping contempt for whatever was irritating her. She was not an especially vocal cat and would occasionally chirrup for attention or to urge continued chin scratching. Generally she was more specific about what she wanted by poking me with a paw to gain attention, this became particularly painful when she chose it as her method for waking me up and I often received a scratched cheek or forehead.
As she got older she started to unleash what could only be described as a loud wail usually directed for no apparent reason toward the radiator. She would stop if you appeared or called to her and the vet suspected dementia, I now wonder if these weren’t earlier signs of the cancer taking its effect.
She really liked
Raw white fish from the pet shop
The red cushion on the lounge chair
Sitting in the sun on the futon
Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping
Ear rubs and hugs
The luminous yellow toy mouse
She really disliked
Other cats on ‘her’ bed
Being woken up unexpectedly
Benson being closer to me than she was
Sadly, much of the time, my partner – she seemed to take his nickname of the Prince of Darkness seriously and often eyed him suspiciously
Writing about her life with us feels like an act of honouring and is undoubtedly a cathartic exercise; I am ignoring the voices that suggest she was ‘only’ a cat. For me she has been a wonderful companion of nearly 18 years and that leaves its own impression. I came across this piece from Henry Beston that sums up our intertwined nature, I think the concept of animals might be slowly changing and it seems to me that can only benefit humanity.
We need another and wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals. We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complex than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and the travail ahead.
Whereas Phoebe (who I blogged about earlier in the year) taught me about courage, experimenting and testing the boundaries, Jinx reminded me of the need for quiet contemplation, of not acting in haste but devoting yourself completely once decided on a course of action. Her determination showed a true strength of character.
Thank you Jinx.
Deep peace of the running wave
Deep peace of the flowing air
Deep peace of the quiet earth
Deep peace of the shining stars
Deep peace of the infinite peace
Adapted from Gaelic Runes
Jinx is survived by her uncle Benson (18 years) and her sister Spike (17 years)…and then there were two.