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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hit the Road Jack

I've been meaning to blog about this since Saturday, but somewhere between not being able to talk about it without crying and having my car towed twice in the span of 24 hours, I haven't had the energy nor the time to put my thoughts into words.

My little bastard has a new home. That's right, Jack the Cat has been relocated to Hermitage to live with a sweet lady who will give him a nice second-half of his life. He left on Saturday.

In the spring of 1998, while I was a Junior in high school, I begged my parents for another cat. Our current cat, Fluffy, lived outdoors and was nearing the end of his nine lives (or so we thought; he still had about eight years left). The rationale was that we'd get another cat to hunt mice outside, and Fluffy could show him the ropes. As we all know, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry," and Jack the Cat never quite made it outside. The mice were elated.

We'd never had an indoor cat before, and it was definitely an interesting experience. That cat got stepped on so many times, that his front left paw is permanently disfigured and flattened (see here). I think that was Mom's fault---her sugar-crushers are to blame.

It took us several weeks to name Jack. I was set on "Jack," and my parents were hoping for "Kramer." Everytime Jack would come running down the stairs into the kitchen, he'd slide about ten feet across the linoleum floor, many times just missing our Golden Retriever, Molly. Seinfeld's Kramer also made a habit of sliding into rooms.

As time passed by, I enrolled in college at Middle Tennessee State University, and left the cat behind at Mom and Dad's. Mom would enlighten me with tales of how the cat woke her up in the morning by banging on the blinds, or jumping seven feet high to reach the top of the armoire, or how Jack would go into attack-mode when Mom would talk to me on the phone. Evidently he wasn't getting enough attention---he still does this, btw.

About two years into my college experience, Mom started having some major respiratory problems. The doctor diagnosed Mom rather quickly with a cat allergy. Reluctantly, Dad decided not to evict the cat. When I graduated from college and then moved into the Aspen Bungalow in March of 2004, Jack cosigned on my lease and became my roommate.

Jack was a good cat, very independent. He loved to cuddle with me, but only on his own terms. During the first month of living at my apartment, I began to call him a "bastard" for two reasons: 1) he didn't have a father, and 2) he had an attitude. I'd have friends come visit me at my apartment and several of them liked to pick him up. He hated this. I would warn Lana every time, but she looooooved to harass my cat. See below.

It sounds silly, but Jack was really good company for me. I live by myself (for 2.5 more days), and it was nice to have another animate object in my apartment. And it worked out well for him---he had his days free to sleep, bird watch (a.k.a. stalk the birds), sleep, nibble on food, and sleep. During his tenure at my apartment he was witness to three hatchings of Purple Martins that lived on my porch and daily visits from doves, cardinals and finches. Jack even made a chirping sound, pretending to be a bird himself. Despite his fun with our feathered friends, Jack didn't get much play in the rodent department until Nat came for a knitting date one evening. Click here for the play-by-play.

Jack isn't your typical cat when it comes to toys or other distractions. He had one fake, furry mouse, named "Mousey," that I gave him when he was a kitten. Several months ago, Stella the Puppa came for a visit and ate Mousey. Jack hasn't paid much attention to other mice since, unless you count his enjoyment of following the mouse around on my laptop. Jack prefers ribbon, string, cardboard boxes and wrapping paper, tissue paper or packing paper. He's a simple kitty, really.

Jack didn't have an advanced palate, prefering dry plant-based food over cat treats. He did, however, love Laughing Cow cheese, especially the Creamy Swiss. Loved it.

Last night, I spent some time packing up my Christmas tree for the move (yes, it was still up), and it reminded me of how much Jack loved to chew on its branches. I heard some boxes settling in the back bedroom, and I caught myself thinking that Jack was getting into something he wasn't supposed to. And every night I've walked in this week, I've glanced at the green chair to see if he's curled up, waiting on me to get home so he can have his nightly stretch and belly rub. The apartment seems empty, but it's only for a couple days longer.

I miss him.


Blogger emmysue said...

This makes me sad. :(

10:38 AM

Blogger Rhonda said...

That was a wonderful ode to Jack. He would be proud, and I KNOW he misses you too.

1:38 PM

Blogger Sarah said...

I actually teared up a little reading this. Jack was -- and is -- one of the prettiest cats I've known. I wish him well. And you too as you embark on a REALLY new chapter for you!! big hugs to you

2:36 PM


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