Saturday, January 12, 2008

Goodbye, Sweet Jo


The title of this blog is Zen Cats Yarn. Zen, for my daughters initials and all other implications, and yarn because I love knitting. For the most part, I focus on those two things. However, I put cats in the title for a reason, and today I wanted to devote the blog to that portion. In particular, to say goodbye to Josephine, our sweet manx kitty who we fondly referred to as Jo the Tailless Wonder.

We didn't pick Jo; she found us. It was late summer/early fall of 1999. Nat and I had gotten married in June. We were looking for homes to buy. We already had three kitties, Sunny, Daisy, and the now sadly gone Tito Blue. We were living in an apartment on True Street in Columbia, South Carolina. We were up on the third floor, and the apartments had non-enclosed hallways. For some reason this little tailless kitty decided that the third floor was a good place to search for food. She was quite the charmer, and apparently was being fed by at least two of the four third floor tenants. If you know anything about Columbia, you know it doesn't get very cold. However, with winter coming, I was concerned about this kitty, and I wanted her to have a home. I began calling the kitty Tailless Joe. Nat is a big baseball guy, so I was playing on Shoeless Joe Jackson. I later found out that Nat is none too fond of Shoeless Joe, so the name did little to endear Joe to Nat. I found someone at The State (the newspaper in Columbia where both Nat and I worked) who agreed to take Joe. I told them I would take care of all of her shots, and get Joe an exam. Our vet saw Joe, and the receptionist first let me know that he was a she, and thus Joe became Josephine, or just Jo. With her regular exam, the vet tested for FIV (a feline immunodeficiency disease, frequently compared to HIV, but not really the same). The people who had agreed to take her didn't want her after they found out she was sick. So, with some coaxing, I talked Nat into letting her stay with us. It was really four against one, because Sunny, Daisy and Tito also thought this was a very bad idea. Needless to say, though, I won, and Jo came to live with us the week of Thanksgiving 1999, and I've always considered that her birthday. Initially, Jo was sort of an aggressor, even backing Daisy (an alpha cat if I've ever seen one) into the corner. That lasted about a week. By the time we moved into a house on Lancaster Street, Daisy had reasserted herself completely. So much so that Jo was afraid to use the litter, and just terrified of Daisy. We sought intervention, and we can vouch for the University of Georgia veterinarian department, where we referred to for some kitty psychiatry. A lot of work went into it, but eventually all that was needed was for Daisy to wear a bell so that Jo would know when she was coming and be able to relax a little bit. She remained skittish, but she was very loving once she knew she could trust someone.
This is Jo in her final day; she perked up a little when Nat put the cats video "The Birds" on the TV. She got to watch a bit with her friend, Sunny, before she became too tired for even that.

Jo moved with us to Fishers, Indiana, and that's still where we lived when her kidneys began to fail. She had seen the vet the day after Thanksgiving 2007. All seemed well. We noticed she seemed lethargic and had lost interest in eating. We took her to the vet on Wednesday to find that she'd lost 1.5 pounds. That's more than 10 percent of her bodyweight in less than two months. The doctor drew blood, and the results showed serious renal failure. The doctor said there were things we could try (IVs, etc.), but given her FIV status, it would be putting off the inevitable, and probably would not be the most humane choice. We decided to let her go on Thursday morning. It was so hard. She was a really great cat, just as sweet as could be. She was a part of our family, and we miss her more than words can ever say. It is our hope that she is in a happier, more comfortable place now, playing with out dearly departed, and dearly loved, pets.


Oh, and when we had ZEN, many people told us that the cats wouldn't mean as much, that the family dynamic wouldn't change. I don't think that's true. We love our cats just as much today as we did one, two and three years ago. ZEN loved Jo (see her shirt in the picture?), and we think that Jo might have even liked her. She was quite patient with her, even as we were trying to teach her "be gentle with the kitties". Oh, and you know how Nat was initially reluctant to add another kitty to our crew? Well, Jo charmed him completely, and he is just as devastated as I am to lose her.

Rest in Peace, Jo, may you have happy days ahead.

10 comments:

Soo said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. She was obviously a well loved cat, and I know how hard it is when one of them leaves us. Take care.

weezalana said...

I'm so sorry. It sounds like she was well loved. {{{HUGS}}}

Beverly said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Our pets touch us in ways that is always surprising to me. Hugs to you.

Jo said...

I'm so sorry about Jo (great name, btw).

kemtee said...

Cats are almost like wee fuzzy people, and it's no wonder we take it so hard when they pass.

Mourn your friend, but know you did well by her, and she loved you back with all her furry little heart.

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry to hear you lost your furry baby girl! It's always hard to lose one, even when it's time. Big hugs!

Jill--starstruckcat said...

Holly, Nat, Zoe, Sunny, & Daisy--

You know we are all thinking of you guys and sending our VERY best thoughts to your family. May the memories of your time with Jo be sweet and comforting.

xoxoxo, The Carnells

meegan said...

I'm sorry about your kitty. Jo was a beautiful cat and it sounds like she was well-loved and had a happy life. My two cats are 15 now, and I know they're in their last days -- it's so hard to let go.

Georgiann said...

Lucky and I send you hugs and peace. Jo was loved -- if only all abandoned animals could be as fortunate to find a family like yours.

Amanda Cathleen said...

I am so sorry to hear of your cats passing. She was obviously a very loved and cared for cat. She picked good people! It doesn't matter how many kids you have, your pets are just like your kids.