Idgie / Amber

I was out playing with my nine month old puppy, Madeline, just a few minutes ago… I came inside and found instant messages sent from Jenna to me, telling me that her cat Amber had died.

That’s our cat actually, and hearing the news hurt.

Amber was a cat we rescued from the North Pinellas Humane Society last year about this time – it’s within a few days of the one year anniversary of getting the cat. Jenna had just moved into her apartment at Sabal Walk and wanted to get a feline friend to compliment her brood of dogs in the apartment. Meanwhile, I had the inkling of getting a cat for my brother Andy’s birthday – but I soon retreated on such an idea as they (at the shelter) said – giving animals as gifts isn’t such a bright idea.

Me and Jenna had gone to the shelter on a Sunday morning… I can’t exactly remember the details leading up to getting inside the shelter — I think we cleaned out her van in the shopping center across the street from the shelter as we waited for it to re-open — but I can remember inside. The cats were all penned into seperate fenced in areas. Some had unhealthy looks in their eyes from being in captivity too long. Several had been their for years, while others had been their for months on end. Me and Jenna had taken to a few sweet tabby cats that had been inside for a while… It was a pity party of sorts. I started making a list of preference cats in my head as we moved through the building, but every selection was a pity selection more so than a prized discovery.

Then we came to the last cage in the cat area… We were interested in looking at the dogs soon – just for the hell of it — but wanted to see the cats within the pen. It was crowded in their – maybe 12 or more cats all tucked into it. It was mostly longhairs. Several didn’t want to be touched and several were only interested in keeping their position in the cage.

I had basically given up on the the pen and was ready to move on when Jenna noticed a cat tucked away inside a cinder block. The block was already basically hidden under a platform that held several cats… The block was also surrounded by other cats lounging…

Jenna pulled the cat out from the abyss and lo and behold we found the prize of the Humane Society. The Needle in the haystack if you will. Her hair was mostly white with tints of brown and orange… It would be an elegant coat if not for the cat being in a dank cell and her hair matted against her body. She was a ragdoll.  We looked over the chart outside the cage to try to find the name of the animal. It wasn’t quite clear to me which of the dozen+ animals on the list it was… Though it seemed to be one of three or so, and most likely a cat named “Idgie.”

Idgie had been in the shelter for only a few days compared to the other cats. She was terrified in that cell, she would hiss when held near other cats or over other cats. She’d struggle to get out of your grasp and run back into her hiding space from time to time…

But she also had the demeanor of an animal that didn’t belong in a pen like that. She seemed violated and desperate to escape.

We browsed around the dogs – Jenna took to a golden retriever that was up for adoption, but my mind was on “Idgie.” Would she even survive a few minutes without us? We had to get her out of there… I mean we just HAD to do it.

And that’s just what we did.

The adoption only took a few minutes and “Idgie” was brought out in a cat carrier. It ran through my mind a few times what this cat must have gone through and must be going through. Her papers said she was six and that she had been put up for adoption because of a new baby at home where she had lived. She was already declawed and though she was a tad volatile in the pen, it was obvious she wasn’t an aggressive animal by nature.

We got her out to the car — she was adopted officially by me but she’d be Jenna’s cat — and decided right there she needed a new name because… Well, Idgie? There are uncommon names and then their are REALLY uncommon names. Idgie didn’t even look pronouncable on the information sheet we had been given, let alone was it something that either of us would willingly call an animal. We decided upon “Amber” as her new name.

And that was the begining of her new life — andn that life would only last a year.

She was sweet, that much I can remember. She was scared when we brought her into Jenna’s apartment and she hid inside Jenna’s closet most of the time. I was always concerned for the cat because of the change of situations she was facing, but she came out fine. We cleaned her up and indeed she was a beautiful longhair. I’d almost think that she was a show cat because of how smart she seemed to be.

But now she’s gone….  Though the memory lives on….

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