Today, after a life spanning 20 years, we said goodbye to Punkin.
Punkin was born in the spring of 2003, in St. Andrews, Manitoba. She, her mother, and her siblings were taken to the Winnipeg Humane Society, which is where I met her, shortly after Christmas, 2003.
When I saw her, she was the only member of her family left at the Humane Society; Everyone else had been adopted. When I picked up this little orange fluffball and started brushing her, she fell asleep in my arms. That’s when I knew she was meant to be with me.
The Humane Society had named her ‘Rebecca,’ but I changed her name to Punkin, named after Punkinhead, the mascot of Eaton’s Toy Land.
She came to live at my condo on Stradbrook, joined shortly after by Kurtis and Sam. While Punkin was not a fan of Sam at first (despite Sam’s obvious love for her), they eventually learned how to live with each other – and, I think, loved each other in their own way.
After a few years, we moved to our condo on Portage. Moving day was stressful on both Punkin and Sam (and Kurtis, who had to corral them), but they quickly adapted to their new home.
We lost Sam a few years ago, and Punkin definitely felt the loss. Her personality also changed – the patio, previously a place where she ventured out with trepidation, became a favourite hangout. She also became more vocal than ever, no doubt missing her partner in crime.
If you met Punkin, you know she had a unique character – even her colour was somewhat unique, as orange cats are, more often than not, males. She had stubby little legs, but always criss-crossed them when she walked, like a little model. She loved people; Even with dozens of people at our house for a party, she would be in the middle of everything… Usually on someone’s lap. She never met a lap she didn’t like and, often, would hang her legs over each side of yours, like a lion sitting on a branch. She also had a little ‘lion’s mane’ – tufts of hair around her shoulders just a little longer than the rest. And a big, gravelly meow for such a little cat.
She was photographed by a few professional photographers in her time (including Colin Corneau and Mike Peters) and has been painted/drawn by Jess Dixon and Paul Grindey. Julie Kentner also had a gift to capture Punkin at her very best in photos. Thanks to you all for these images. I will treasure them always.
Punkin had so many great people in her life, but I’d like to especially thank those who took care of her for us when we went away: Karen, Nico, Eric, Julie, Sharmyn, Jamie, Neil, Mary Ann, Adam, and Andrea… And I’m sure there are others I’ve missed. You fed her, snuggled with her, played with her, brought her toys, and even sang to her. Thank you for your kindness.
Thanks also to Dr. Hawkes and the staff at Pembina Veterinary Hospital. As Punkin aged and her health issues mounted, she became a regular at the clinic, and the staff has always been kind, compassionate and friendly – even when the little old lady was feisty.
We were lucky to have her with us as long as we did. But it was still hard to say goodbye.
While I’ve had many pets in my life, Punkin was in my life the longest, and had the biggest impact. She was one of a kind and, although she was a little cat, she leaves a huge hole in my heart, and countless memories I will never forget.
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