When you see Ginger happily snuggling beneath a hand-knit blanket in her adoptive family’s home, it is hard to believe that just three months ago, this same kitten was living in deplorable conditions as one of 71 cats and kittens living in a hoarding situation.
“Ginger was a very shy kitten, but she had the most amazing personality once she got comfortable around you,” says Chloe MacBeth, manager Chilliwack BC SPCA.
Ginger spent some time with a foster family who taught her how to use a litter box and helped her get comfortable being around people. Then she was ready to go to her forever home.
Fern and her family first spotted Ginger on the BC SPCA site. They were focused on finding a kitten who was ready to be loved and pampered for the rest of her life and the perfect pal for Anubis, their eight-year-old cat at home.
They went into the Chilliwack BC SPCA to meet Ginger on Jan. 4. She was terribly shy and was hanging out with two other kittens when they were introduced. “At the beginning she stayed as far away from us as she could get,” says Fern. “She tracked all of our movements while we played with the other kittens. You could tell she wanted to come over and meet us, she just wasn’t sure yet.”
They knew if they were patient Ginger would eventually come around and slowly but surely she made it clear she wanted in on the action. “With some quiet patience it wasn’t more than 30 minutes before Ginger started to pounce on the feather toys and let us pet her,” says Fern.
They knew Ginger’s mix of playfulness and quiet would be a perfect match for their cat Anubis, who loves to play but is starting to slow down a little as he gets older. “My daughter fell in love with Ginger’s super soft fur and her personality,” says Fern. “Ginger took to my son really quickly. She jumped on his lap and after that she was the only kitten he wanted to bring home.”
To help her get accustomed to her new home, Fern and Ginger’s new dad Todd set her up in her own room leaving the door open so she could go out and explore when she was ready. “She was very sensitive to sound when she first arrived and would run back and hide whenever she heard something loud or new to her,” says Fern.
Ginger soon discovered her own hidey-holes in the house and Fern, Todd and their children, Phoenix and Trinity could tell that she was slowly starting to find safe spaces and feel more comfortable.
“We had already set up the house with cat walks and lots of places for the cats to climb, hide and zoom around when we got our first cat, Big Kitty, many years ago,” says Fern.
Ginger sleeps in Fern and Todd’s bed at night and they soon discovered a cute habit. “Ginger bites our toes while we sleep,” says Fern. “The nibbles are super ticklish. Our laughter is still a little startling for her, so she retreats to the bedroom closet where we set up a little hiding spot for her.” The closet has a shelf with baskets that Ginger can hide, spy, and “spring forth from” and offers her some sleeping options.
“Ginger is also a huge fan of her new Dad’s beard,” says Fern. “She loves to rub up against it especially when he is snoring at night.”
Ginger’s older brother Anubis has warmly embraced her. He loves to groom Ginger, especially the back of her head, and loves to play with her. “Ginger has really been a life-saver for Anubis,” says Fern. “We lost our cat Big Kitty in June 2021 and then our beloved Sheltie Roonie, shortly before we adopted Ginger.”
Big Kitty, Roonie and Anubis were bonded as siblings and Anubis was always at Roonie’s side during her last days fighting kidney disease. “Anubis was sad, not eating, depressed, losing weight and alone in the home for the first time in his life with no one to play with or snuggle up to before Ginger arrived,” says Fern. “Now he is so happy, purring all the time and just loving showing Ginger the ropes.”
One of Ginger’s favourite new things is a blanket that Fern knit. “This may be the last blanket I knit,” says Fern. “Ginger loves to play with the yarn. I get a few stitches in and then she wants to play so badly, I end up putting it down to play with her instead.” Ginger’s older brother Anubis has been showing her how much fun it is to squirm underneath the blanket and create a tunnel. “This is just one of the many things that Anubis has been showing Ginger,” says Fern.
Anubis is also teaching Ginger how to open all the doors to the rooms in the house. “Ginger watched Anubis open doors in the house just once and she mastered it. We couldn’t believe how quickly she figured it out.”
In addition to learning how to open the doors inside the house, Anubis has been showing Ginger how much fun water in the bath tub can be. At first Ginger didn’t love getting splashed by the water but now she loves it. “The faucet is the same lever-style key as all the doors in the house, so we soon discovered that if we didn’t turn the water on for her she just did it herself.”
Everyone has been showering Ginger with attention. “My husband and I work at different times so there is always someone at home with her,” says Fern. “It has been so great to see her become comfortable in our home and watch the bond between her and Anubis grow every day. She has made such a huge difference in our family already and we are looking forward to many, many years of happiness.”
The BC SPCA is grateful to all the animal lovers who contributed to help us care for the 71 cats and kittens brought into our care and the 22 kittens that were born in our shelters.