This is Jack, the cat. He lives here. Here are some fun facts about Jack!
Aliases. At various times in his life, Jack has gone by Jackamus, Jacko, Whacko Jacko, Jackie and Moe. His two sisters have been called, among other things, Curly and Larry.
Age. Old. Jack’s presumptive birthday is on April 1, and April 1, 2011 will be his 14th.
Ocular Plenitude. Not so great. Jack only has one eye (his left). Jack really only had a few weeks with two eyes and seems to get along fine with one. (Good thing about his belonging a predator species, I guess.) The vet left the dead eye in place (eww!) while Jack was growing rapidly during his first year, then scooped, snipped and stitched him into the rakish man of mystery you see before you today.
Origin Story. The year after I graduated, I was living in a house at the beach with some old college chums. One of them was a really wonderful person named Brooke, whose parents were veterinarians with a practice over on Roanoke Island. Jack and his sisters were brought into the vets’ offices, and Brooke decided to help Jack (and eventually one of his sistors) get adopted by bringing them to spend a few days in our tiny crowded shack. Days turned into weeks turned into months, and then suddenly I’m the last one at the house with two cats, so I guess that makes them mine. I was happy about that, by the way. Jack was awesome.
Jack is Awesome. He was so little and cute at first, just hiding and poopin under the end tables and stuff. Awwww. Jack grew up to be really big for a house cat. He purrs like a freight train. You will think that I am exaggerating, but the following is all true. Sometimes I would let Jack stretch out on my head while I was laying on the couch watching TV or something. Sometimes, a particular part of his chest would end up on top of my ear. And more than once, I had to shift because the purring was uncomfortable and left me with a ringing in my ears. It’s a fact.
Jack is a big baby. You know how cats sometimes knead a blanket or your couch our your flesh before they settle down for a nap? This is an inborn reflex, and helps to stimulate mother’s milk flow when they are nursing. I’ll bet cats keep doing it when they’re grownups because of its association with simple comforts. Jack kneads with a fervor and persistence that can only be characterized as pathological. He’s a psycho kneader. Awesome! And when he really gets going, his eye kind of rolls back and he starts to drool. When I type it out, that doesn’t sound so adorable. But sometimes it’s nice to be kneaded.
Jack is not a dog, but is kind of doggy. When we lived in Cary, NC, we used to go for walks around the neighborhood. Jack and his sister would walk with us. Also, Jack will come when you whistle. Well, when I whistle. You can’t whistle, and even if you could you don’t know the special whistle. You may one day recall it as the whistle I use to help your mother find me when I become disoriented in the grocery store.
You are not allowed to sleep with Jack. It is sad but true. We have let you try sleeping with our other cat in your room with mixed results. You just don’t like to go to sleep when there are mammals around you could be talking to and playing with. So Jack’s super purr, his devotion to passionate kneading and the fact that he is a big cat and it really hurts when he steps on your hair and you’re trying to sleep — all of this means no sleeping with Jack for you. I mention all of this just because it’s kind of a shame. But for his old age, Jack is a perfect little kid’s cat — patient, affectionate and docile. (In his outdoor days, Jack was known to bring home dead stuff from time to time, but I’m pretty sure that all of the victims had been snuggled to death.)
Turns out Jack is mortal. Probably. I guess there’s still room to be proven wrong on this. But he has gotten a bit thinner over the last year and a little slower getting up onto the table where we keep the cats’ food. He went in for an annual checkup a couple of months ago. There was nothing in particular wrong with him, but the vet did volunteer some advice on how to recognize a turn for the worse. 14 is old for a cat, particularly when six of those years were spent as an indoor/outdoor cat. So I’ve been thinking about Jack’s mortality and how you may not have very concrete memories of him when you’re older. So I figured I’d write a few things down.
Next up (probably sometime in May, given my blogging pace) we’ll meet Grace before moving on to the canidae. Until then, here are some more pictures of Jack.