Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Cat Jack

January 6th marks one year since I lost my beloved cat, Mr. Kitty to Chronic Renal Failure (CRF).  Mr. Kitty (whose other names included: Kitty Poo, Kitty-fish, Kitty-bird, K-licious, Kitty Cup  and Kitty Boy Floyd) was my best friend and constant companion for nearly two decades. He stuck with me through my often wild twenties and several moves from one Hollywood apartment to another (not to mention some rather strange roommates!)  He slept on my lap on two separate round trip flights from Los Angeles to Miami when I went home for Christmas. He loved everyone - people and animals alike. No matter who walked through the door, Mr. Kitty would plop down on their lap and begin purring loudly. When Mr. Kitty was two years old, my fiance and I moved in together and he decided to get a pit-bull puppy. This of course, worried me a great deal and I wasn't sure if my cat would be safe or if the two would get along. Nothing phased my big, fluffy, tan and white tabby - he took everything in stride - and over the next sixteen years, they were inseparable.

When Mr. Kitty was diagnosed with CRF in December 2010 - I was confused - I knew very little about the condition or what to expect. Sadly, in spite of a week long stay at the vet's office, a blood transfusion, pills, meds, Sub-Q fluids, a lot of prayers (and money) - Mr. Kitty, who had put up a brave fight, was losing his battle with CRF.  My once plump 22 lb cat, was now only 8 lbs and barely clinging to life. Taking him to the vet that dreaded morning was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. Saying goodbye to my sweet boy was more difficult than I could ever have imagined. The grief was intense and seemed never-ending. I sobbed uncontrollably every waking moment and when I slept, he filled my dreams.

People handle the loss of a favorite pet in different ways. Some, unable to bear the thought of losing another one, choose not to adopt another animal. Others need a certain amount of time between pets. I, on the other hand, felt that welcoming a new cat or kitten into our home was the only way out of the dark pit of anguish in which I was drowning. So, while still deeply mourning the loss of my dearest friend, I began my search. I went online, combed newspaper ads, went to pet adoption events and called several local rescues in an effort to find "the right one". The problem is that I had my heart set on a kitten. This wouldn't have been an issue, except that it was the middle of January - a time when kittens are not exactly abundant. I was up early every morning, to look on Craig's List and Pet Finder but there were very few kittens available.  I would call to inquire about a kitten and find out that it had already been adopted. As each day passed, I was becoming discouraged and feeling even more depressed without Mr. Kitty. I missed him so much and losing him had left such a void in my life. Then one evening, I decided to check Craig's List one more time before going to bed - and there it was - an ad for two 2 year old male Ragdoll cats who needed a home. ( I had always wanted a Ragdoll but felt that purchasing animals from a breeder was somehow wrong when there are so many animals in shelters.) But here were two that could soon become homeless and my chance to save one.

There was a picture of both - one seal point and one blue bi-color - both were beautiful but I knew in an instant which cat was "the one". I sent an email to the owner. expressing my interest in adopting one of the cats. I was so excited, it was hard to sleep that night - I was awakened by a phone call early the next morning from the owner of the cats. She explained that they had belonged to her mother who had recently passed away.  I told her that I had fallen in love with the blue bi-color in the photo. We spoke briefly and afterward she told me that there had been replies from several other people but that she knew in her heart that I was "the right one".  And it was a good thing I didn't choose the seal point, as she had decided to keep him.

The following day, I made the one hour drive to Seal Beach to meet my new cat and take him home. His name was Jack - and I decided not to change it. The first thing I noticed about him was the size of his head! It was huge - with  a broad pink nose and eyes like sapphires. He was gorgeous - 26 lbs of silky blue-gray and white fur and giant paws.  It has been one year since Jack came to live with us and we love him more each day! He is sweet, gentle and very well behaved - He brings us so much joy with his funny little quirks. He is an absolute delight. We recently adopted a new kitten and we weren't sure how Jack would react.  It is normal for the bigger and/or older cat to be a little aggressive to establish himself as the alpha - but instead Jack took the little guy under his wing.  Cuddled up together, Jack will lick the kitten's face until he falls asleep and during the day, they wrestle and play, chasing each other back and forth.

No one will ever replace Mr. Kitty - he was one of a kind and when he died - a part of me died along with him. But I am so grateful to Jack for giving me a reason to smile again.
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