The McArthur Zoo is mourning the loss of Jingles today. Gary put her to sleep last night after weighing the options with a heavy heart. Jingles was one of our oldest cats; she and her sister are 18 years old. Gary adopted Jingles and Noel a very long time ago, way before the Nicole Era began. They had been dumped on the vet clinic’s doorstep right around Christmas and Gary eventually took them in.
We have a lot of bold personalities in our house, but Jingles was not one of them. She was the non-descript black cat who kept to herself. She was at the bottom of the pecking order and often faced the brunt of whatever feline rage was happening in the house at the time. We moved her out into the garage several years ago so that she could have her own space, which she enjoyed. Gary would feel bad that she was out there all alone, so he would bring her inside the house…all she would do was try and get back out into the garage. She had a nice little bed with a heating pad, a big ugly green chair on which to lounge, her very own food and water bowl as well as a personal litter box. She relished the times that Gary was home and opened the garage door; she sunned herself in the driveway and watched the action on our court. But mostly she would just hang out in her bed on the shelf, purring as loud as Gary’s diesel truck motor.
Jingle’s health had been declining gradually, but we always chalked it up to getting old. And occasionally I would take her in to work to run some blood work just to make sure her kidneys were functional, as most old cats seem to have some degree of renal disease. She had some minor abnormalities on her last blood work, and her lungs didn’t look very happy on radiograph. So we treated her with some meds, hoping she would magically return to kittenhood. But she continued to decline, wandering aimlessly, getting stuck in corners. We really didn’t feel like putting her through a neuro work up, even though Dr. LeCouteur’s words “age is not a disease” kept echoing through my head. Eventually, Gary made the agonizing decision to euthanize Jingles.
I knew that I would be sad about the situation. I knew that I would be sad for Gary. I didn’t expect to cry when I stepped into the garage and realized that Jingles wasn’t there to greet me with her raspy “Owww” (she never really ever squeaked out the entire word meow). How I took that little greeting for granted. And when I took the trash out back and saw her bed laying inside the garbage can, I had a complete break down. I was sad that she was gone. I was feeling guilty for not having spent more time with her. I was worried that she would be cold in the freezer. And I was scared that Chloe was going to ask me where Jingles went because I’m not ready to answer that question yet.
So here is to you, Jingles the Cat. You squeaky, skinny, loner of a cat. I hope that wherever you are, you have a nice warm bed to curl up in and a long driveway to wander to your heart’s content. You are missed.