Squeak. Ginger-Squeak. Purr-Squeak. Ginger-Snap. Kitten. Ginger-Snap-Crackle-Pop. This cat has so many nick-names. The one that is stuck for sure is “Squeak.” She was nick-named this from the first day we brought her home, and has continued to live up to it ever since.
Ginger was born in El Paso, underneath a trailer surrounded by eight dogs–how the mama cat managed to slip past all those dogs to get under the trailer and give birth is anyone’s guess. We got Ginger from the shelter just a few months after Juniper arrived. Cats are like potato chips–you can’t have just one.
Introductions between the kitties went better and faster than expected–in spite of the fact that, at their first meeting, Ginger dashed up to Juniper and tackled her full in the face. They were soon napping together, wrestling and chasing each other around the apartment like creatures possessed.
Ginger is, in many ways, the opposite of Juniper. For one thing, their appearances are quite different–Juniper’s brown-and-tan tabby coat, missing eye, and snaggletooth give her a roguish, wild-cat look, and she is often mistaken for a male. Next to Juniper, Ginger’s patchy calico coat looks like a circus clown. There is also no mistake that she is female–aside from the calico give-away, Ginger is small and slim (or was, until she got into the kitten food), her white paws are small and dainty, and she minces when she walks. Pink, especially in its bolder expressions, is not my favorite color–but when I went to pick out a collar for Ginger, there was no way I was getting any other color (it sets off her little pink nose).
Ginger is also–and this is one of the biggest differences between them–by far the most vocal of the two. This is what earned her the nick-name “Squeak” and its variations. After she was spayed, we kept Ginger separate by shutting her in our bedroom. No doubt she was lonely, and every time one of us walked into the room, she would start purring as loud as she could while making squeaking noises (hence “Little Purr-Squeak”). She still purrs all the time, but talks in a full cry rather than squeaks. If she’s hungry, if she wants attention, or for no reason at all, she cries. And if you shut her up–in a room, in a carrier–she goes into full yelling mode. She will probably also tear something up, just because she’s mad. For example:
And this brings us to the next difference. Ginger is far more inquisitive, adventuresome, and downright mischievous than Juniper. While Juniper is content to stretch out in a sunbeam or, perhaps, perch on something as high as the table (although, Juniper is the one who launched herself from the second story of our garage onto our paved driveway), Ginger always has to be doing something–chasing down bugs, jumping onto the highest shelf in the room, climbing atop the refrigerator, chasing her tail while balancing in the coat tree:
Ginger is also the one who discovered that the insides of our couches make great kitty playgrounds. One morning I padded into the living room to discover that the couch was squeaking in distress–or rather, that the kitten inside the couch was squeaking in distress. I panicked a little, wondering how I would get her out safely, and was preparing to perform exploratory surgery on the couch when a little sanity returned to me. I exchanged my knife for a flashlight and pulled the seat cushions out from the couch while calling Ginger’s name. Finally, Ginger emerged, blinking, from the depths. I sighed with relief, replaced the couch cushions, and thought no more of it. Ginger, however, had become convinced that the couch was a fantastic place to play. Juniper thought that this was a great idea, too. No matter what we have tried, we have not been able to keep those cats out of our couches. Ginger has now passed on the secret of her lair to our foster kittens, who have taken things a step further and will sleep inside them. This has become so normal that I forgot to mention their odd playplace to my brother, who came to house- and pet-sit for us this summer. Upon discovering that the couch he was sitting on contained a cat, he panicked, thinking that he had squashed and injured it. To his immense relief, Ginger emerged a few minutes later, wondering what all the fuss was about.
Ginger must know I am writing about her, because she has come and draped herself across my arms while I am trying to type. She drives me pretty crazy sometimes, but I love her. I’ll just try to remember that the next time she tears up a pack of toilet paper.