A Man and his Cat (Part 1)

Jack came into our lives as a nine-week-old kitten – a fluffy ball of gray fur with tawny eyes. We tried to make him a house cat, but he had a wild streak that refused to be tamed. As a result, Jack did nothing to advance the cause of cats who aspired to be seen as man’s best friend. He was independent, aloof and hard to approach. A fraction of a second with the door slightly ajar was all he needed to dart to freedom and return when it darn well suited him.

Jack was also a one-person cat, and that person was me.  Ben is one of the few men I know who likes cats, but he and Jack lived parallel lives. They avoided each other if possible, and eyed each other warily when their paths did cross. Until the last year of Jack’s life.  Then a truce and even a friendship were forged between man and cat.

In his final months, Jack lost a lot of weight and started having seizures. He would fall off the couch and hit the floor with a thump louder than an 10-pound body should ever make. We would race to him and one of us would cover his little body with ours to stop it from repeatedly slamming against the floor during convulsions. Often it was Ben who did that. Each time, we hoped the tests the vet was running would offer a solution  quickly.

It was during that time that I saw the shift in their “relationship”.  One day, Ben was shaving with the washroom door open.  From where I stood at the end of the hallway, I was astonished to see  Jack venture into the room, sit at Ben’s feet and look up at him expectantly.

In his prime, Jack could gracefully leap from the floor to the countertop. (No, this wasn’t allowed but Jack was never one to follow rules.) But his poor diminished body could no longer make that jump. Unaware that I was watching, Ben picked him up and gently placed him on the counter. Then he turned the faucet on to a light trickle and waited while Jack swiped his paw in the stream and brought it to his  mouth several times to quench his thirst.  Afterwards, Ben set him back down on the floor, cleaned the counter and the faucet and finished shaving.

It was humbling to see this once proud, independent little beast accept his vulnerability and trust the other human he lived with. It was also a tender moment to watch Ben help the little guy get the drink of water he wanted.

In the following days, we had heart wrenching discussions about what to do about Jack. His quality of life was not good, but we hoped the problem could be found and solved with surgery or medication. Jack always did do things his own way, though, and this was no exception. He took the decision out of our hands when I came home  one day to find that he had quietly left this world. RIP my fierce little friend.

14 thoughts on “A Man and his Cat (Part 1)

  1. As a longtime cat servant I can attest to the utter strength of Jack’s character. Only the most resolute felines can cross over without help. I’m sorry for your loss but happy you met, bonded and ultimately, helped each other. What a lovely story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have never heard the term ‘cat servant’ before but it is so appropriate! Jack has been gone for a few years now but we do still miss him. He is buried in the far corner of our backyard and when I mow the lawn in the summer, I always stop at that spot and tap the earth with my foot as a salute to him. (Crazy, I know, but I still do it.)

      P.S.: I think one of your first blog posts I ever read was about “Galentine’s Day”. It was memorable and I hope you will re-blog it this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As another lifelong cat servant, may I offer my condolences on your loss, as well as hats off to a beautifully written tribute. You have captured the essence of the special cat-human relationship, Linda. My husband agrees!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. my deepest sympathies on the lost of your families beloved companion. while i have dogs myself, i know our 4-legged companions can play a significant role in our lives. I often think that they enrich ours and allow us to grow in ways that far exceed what we offer them in return.

    My deepest sympathies to you and your husband in this dark time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being a cat person, this touched me deeply & brought back memories of our 19-year-old Max who died in 2016 & our struggles to make sure his quality of life was the best it could be when it ended. He was so much a part of us. He wasn’t like your Jack at all but loved both my husband & me equally. What made me think of Max while reading this is what definite personalities our special cats have & how they continue to take up so much room in our heats when they’re gone. My deepest sympathy on the loss of Jack. I’m guessing your Ben feels the loss just as deeply. This is a lovely tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading. Jack has actually been gone for a few years now but, as your Max was, he was an important part of our family. Cats do each have their own distinct personality – from quirky to affectionate but they each have a way of worming themselves into their owner’s hearts.

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