As many of you know, we had to put down our beautiful cat, Hiro, this summer after finding out that he had a brain tumor at age three. We were devastated. I was determined not to get another cat, because I knew no cat could compare with our beloved “Nugget.”
But after a couple heartbreaking days of coming home to an empty house, going to bed without our little spirit guardian, and Gus wandering around saying, “Ina?” (his name for Nugget) and searching high and low for him throughout the day, I realized that even if I wasn’t emotionally ready for another cat, we needed one for our little family to feel whole again.
Because Hiro died so young, though brain tumors are not genetic, our breeder wanted to give us a replacement for him for free. I cried when she told me that, because being that Ries is a student, I was working in hospitality, and we have a toddler, we would not have been able to afford another Maine Coon.
(Yes, yes, I know we could have adopted one from a shelter, but if you’ve ever met my cats, they aren’t like other cats, and that’s largely in part because our breeder breeds her cats for their personalities, but also because Maine Coons have huge personalities.)
Oddly enough, our breeder, Ginger, told me that one of her breeder friends had died of cancer with kittens that were twelve weeks old. Ginger had inherited them, and had just the kitten in mind for us.
I was a little nervous because the kittens had been living primarily on their own in the breeder’s house while she was in the hospital, so they were very skittish when Ginger inherited them. But this was our only chance for a kitten, and so we drove down and met Ginger in Chattanooga at the end of June to pick up our new kitten.
We had the names “Margot” or “Echo” picked out, but when we met our kitten neither seemed to fit her very well. “She’s a bit impish,” Ginger told us. So we kept thinking about names.
The reason Hiro had essentially two names is because we named him before we really could tell what his personality was like. Eventually we started calling him “Sir Fluff Nugget” because he was very regal, and the we ended up having to shave him due to mats, and his name was cut down to just “Nugget,” which forever stuck.
We were driving back from Chattanooga, and we were talking about the show “The Magicians,” which is actually where we got the name “Margot” because a character is named “Margot, the Destroyer,” and we kept iterating through possible names. I said, “I think it needs to be something kind of whimsical,” and Ries said, “How about Whimsy?” And we looked at her and knew it was a perfect fit, and she’s been Whimsy ever since.
Having a kitten and a toddler has definitely been a challenge, but we are so confident that our choice was the right one. Gus and Whimsy are the best of friends and get into so much trouble together. We chose to get a female cat because of the personality difference—female Maine Coons are very much “family cats” while males bond primarily with one person. I was very much Hiro’s person, and I miss having such a devoted shadow, but I’m so glad to have Whimsy for Gus. And in a couple years, I think we’ll get another male.
We miss you and love you Nugget.