Friday, February 16, 2007


Some friends of James Baldwin had a black cat named Jimmy, after him, which warmed my heart to find out, because J. and I used to have a little black cat named Jimmy. She was not named after James Baldwin, but she was a great cat.

Jimmy had lots of problems, starting with the ASPCA telling us she was a boy, which we believed until she went into heat. We thought she had gone insane, but it turned out she was not crazy, just female. When we pulled out her paperwork to take her to the vet, we saw that the ASPCA not only thought she was male, they thought she was a dog.

This was back when I was with B., my first long-term partner. When we got a dog, Jimmy started to pee on the floor and couldn't be persuaded not to. We didn't give up on her. She peed on the floor every day for 2 or 3 years until B. and I separated. I took Jimmy and our other cat, and B. kept the dog. Jimmy stopped peeing on the floor a few days after we moved to our own place.

When I moved in with J., he had two cats, so Jimmy was one of four. That's when she really came into her own and ruled the roost. Four cats in a studio apartment in New York. She was the smallest and the least likely to back down. Even during that very ugly spell with the infected anal glands.

She had a congenital heart defect, which we knew about all along. When she was about 15 years old, her heart swelled up, huge. She was very sick and suffering, so we had her put down.

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