G adopted Ferdinand (and his brother Dexter) a few months before I met him in 1993. Ferdinand was always second fiddle to Dexter the alpha cat. His big love was eating. There was the unfortunate incident where he was found behind the garbage can in the TV room with some way old frozen Jimmy Dean sausage that he had pulled out of the kitchen garbage and hidden for periodic nibbling. And the time he nipped an entire kielbasa off the table and tried to run upstairs with it in his mouth. Ferdinand tried exploring the outdoors a bit, but was bitten by another cat in the neighborhood and developed flesh eating bacteria in the wound. It was quite touch and go for a bit, but he pulled through (although he looked like he had had some uneven liposuction done after that). He moved to Cambridge, MA with G. At our second apartment there, he went missing for 24 hours after we moved in. We finally found him inside and up the chimney, huddled on a ledge. G pulled him out, but he was covered with ashes. I gave him a bath in the sink (worried about him licking up all those ashes) and never made that mistake again. Still have a scar on my neck from that one!
Ferdinand and Dexter both moved to the South End condo as well. Dexter (truly, a cat of nine lives) fell ill and slowly deteriorated over a period of many months, and finally passed away in early 2004. Ferdinand was finally able to shine. (Used to be that Dexter could make Ferdinand cower with just a dirty look.) Whereas guests used to think we only had one cat, now Ferdinand was coming out to meet people. He did get a lot more demanding though. He was great with C–always put up with her petting and even sat still once as she tried to sit on him. Ferdinand moved to our townhouse in Somerville with us. And then in February 2005 he was diagnosed with cancer. (A kind of cancer that is caused by getting shots. Which was never mentioned when the vet was recommending the shots.) We had the cancer removed, but decided against chemo or radiation treatments, because the prognosis was grim either way and Ferdinand *hated* going to the vet. Within about six months, the cancer grew back.
Against all expectation, Ferdinand hung on to move to Washington with us this spring. With a backyard now, he was able to go outside a bit. We would find C at the foot of our bed in the morning, talking to Ferdinand, "Hey Buddy, hey Buddy". She knew that he had "ouchies on his back" and was always very gentle with him. He was eating less and less though, and losing a lot of weight. Yesterday, we decided that the suffering was starting to outweigh the joy. He ate an entire can of tuna last night and we had a nice long pet and purr session. Today G took him for his final visit to the vet.
Good bye Ferdie, Grubber T. Chubbalot, the Grub. You were loved and you will be missed.