What’s in a Name?

The Love in your Heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t Love ’til it’s given away.♥

See this little kitty-in-the carrier? He came home with us today!

He’s only nine weeks old.  I’d been wanting a new cat for quite awhile; I always have at least two cats, sometimes three, and now I have only one; I felt like Girl Kitty needed a friend.  So a few days ago I called the animal shelter in Edgartown, to see if they had any kittens. They didn’t, but they told me they would put me on a waiting list and let me know if one comes in.

I thought it might be months before I heard from them . . . but then, yesterday afternoon, Lisa called from the shelter and said they had one; a male, black and white, “tuxedo.”

I said to her, “Oh good, how wonderful, I’ve been thinking my older cat needs a playmate.”

Lisa said, “It doesn’t often work out that way, but they’ll get along after a while.”

I hung up the phone feeling a little bit worried.

So I Googled: “How to introduce a kitten to a 10-year-old cat.”  And discover it’s not as simple as I thought. After reading pages of expert advice, all suggesting that the older cat (Girl) is not going to be happy about this; we will need to keep them apart until they have time to get used to each other; and how important it is not to disturb Girl Kitty’s routines; it was much more complicated than I’d imagined.  Not the vision of feline harmony that I’d hoped for.  I’m disappointed, but I think perhaps we should say no to this new kitten.  I don’t want to ruin Girl Kitty’s life!

But, after all, we did ask the shelter to save us a kitty; it can’t hurt to at least go look at him.  It might even be rude not to.

 Just in case, we better put the cat carrier in the car.  Probably won’t need it.

We drive into Edgartown.  On the way, Joe says, “What do you think you’d want to name him?”

I smiled, “I was thinking about that this morning.  I don’t know; I wouldn’t want to name him Man Kitty again.”  (I’ve named all my male kitties “Man Cat,” then call them by nicknames: Mr. Momo, Momita, Mannie, Manita, Moesome ).

“How about Livingston?” I suggest, “then when we see him we could say ‘Livingston, I presume.’ “

 Joe says, “But Man Cat’s a good name; at least it’s easy to remember.”

 I say, “Yes, that’s for sure, OK, we’ll just name him Man Cat.  It’s probably best.”

Joe says, “How about Jack? You could name him Jack.”

I say, “Jack?  Jack!  I like it!  We can name him after my dad.  Jack, Jackie, Jackarina, Jackolantern; it works! “

By then, the inner me was saying, People do it all the time, get a new cat, it’s not impossible, we can do this.

 And then we arrive at the animal shelter, and we see him for the first time, with his funny French mustache, a face only a mother can love, and his look that says, I really want to go home with you and live with you for the rest of my life; pick me.

I’m thinking, this is a very cute kitty.  And then he lifted his head, and the temporary collar he was wearing around his neck had something written on it.

The women at the shelter had named him Jack.

 The end. 

There was never any choice really.  It was meant to be.

Girl is still Queen of our Bed; we’ve given Jack the Peter Rabbit Room for the time being.  I visit him there every hour or so; I roll his furry self around and around in my hands.  He loves it.  He turns on his back for more.  I’m already madly in love.  Wish us luck that he stays healthy, that he won’t play “Tarzan” in the Christmas tree, that Girl Kitty learns to tolerate him someday soon, and that he lives with us forever. ♥  

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436 Responses to What’s in a Name?

  1. Pamela Jo says:

    Good Morning, Susan & Family! One of the first things I thought of this morning was Jack! I wonder if Girl Kitty has met him yet? Hope all goes well when they discover each other. My Molly was so funny last night. I always give her dry food in the morning, and canned food at night…at exactly 8:30 (so it lasts through the night. Otherwise, she won’t let me sleep). Of course, the time changed yesterday and Molly must have an inner clock. At exactly 7:45 last night, she kicked her bowl from the kitchen into the living room, sat at my feet and cried. Her MEOW sounded much like “NOW!” She thought is was 8:45 and I was late with her dinner! My Sweet Molly has me trained quite well! LOL! Cats add much happiness to life. Hoping you have twice the happiness now that you’ve added Jack to your family! ~xoxo~

    • sbranch says:

      Lol, “kicked her bowl into the living room!” hahaha I hear Girl say NOW too, especially at bedtime. You, in the chair, UP, it’s bedtime, let’s GO.

  2. Last Christmas my daughter gave us a wooden cat plaque with quilting in the center embroidered with this saying “The Cat Lives Here with It’s Housekeeping Staff”….so true and we nailed it to the outside of their room. I am a big Christmas Tree person and am the type that has to have every string hung perfectly straight and every nook/cranny filled with just the right ornament I have never had just bulbs we have figurine ornaments and it takes me days to totally decorate our tree just to have the cats rearrange all the bottom ornaments….I finally went smaller and put it up on a table and put a fireplace screen around the table to discourage them from going under the table and nothing worked. We could never leave the house during the Holidays without fear we would come home to see the tree knocked over and it was very stressful. I didn’t want all of my precious ornaments broken then I got this idea one night why not put the tree on the wall??? and low and behold I went on this website called Improvements Catalog and there was a prelit 4ft tree that I ended up decorating with minature ornaments, bows, and icicles and put clip on poinsettias around the bottom. I hung tapestry stockings around it and it solved the problem and kept all of our stresses down and maybe wasn’t what we were all use to; but, don’t we all make adjustments for our furry little friends?? Susan, it really is a time of adjustment for all of you right now we are going through the same thing in our home, we just recently moved since the death of my Mother in Law this past June and for several months we had to leave our kitties in our old home until this past month when we brought them into their new home and it was very hard for them. All that matters to animals is that they are with the people that love them, and we do as our cat plaque says….become their housekeeping staff!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I moved my cats into this house years ago, and one of them went back to the old house constantly, and it wasn’t that close. I was so worried he would get hurt. Someone told me the old wives tale: Butter their paws. So I buttered his paws, and I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but he never left home again. When we brought Girl here from California, I buttered her paws first thing. I have NO idea of this helps, but it can’t hurt!

  3. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Yes, it was definitely meant to be , just another example of the magic all around us. Love it.
    When we adopted Ollie our white cat , well let’s just say there was a looong period of adjustment. Jasmine who was 13 at the time was not too happy so we kept Ollie on one side of the house and he seemed to know Jasmine wasn’t thrilled with him. Had some rough times but now Jasmine tolerates him and he is so unbothered by her hisses he just walks by her and plops down and then she is fine. They even sit together in kitchen. Jasmine always eats first then Ollie. (pecking order) Of course Ollie has his own dish of dry food. He just likes to have a little wet food after Jasmine finishes.
    Think your kitten will adapt faster than Ollie did and Girl Kitty might not feel so threatened by a kitten. Smells are important to a cat so I always rubbed Ollie’s head and let Jasmine smell my hand, hoping she would get use to it. Be patient it takes time and depends alot of the personality of Girl Kitty. They may take to each other quicker than you think.
    Hoping you have a great time with your adorable little Jack. His french mustach goes perfectly with his name Jack or Jacques. Nothing like a kitten for some fun and love. xoxo

  4. Aggie says:

    Love your gorgeous Jack – what a handsome pair, he and Girl. Can’t wait for pics of the two together! They will figure out how to get along. Been through that many times over the years with my kitties and they always manage.

  5. Laura says:

    Jack looks so handsome, so regal! I am sure Girl Kitty will come to tolerate Jack just fine. Oh how I wish I could have a cat again but darn allergies prevent that. Please give that sweet boy a snuggle from his “Aunt Laura.” Can wait to watch & see the “Adventures of Girl Kitty & her compadre Jack!”

  6. Sharon says:

    Oh my gosh Susan, I was so happy for you when I read you got your new kitty, I know how much you wanted one. And I got goosebumps when I read his little collar said “Jack”! I don’t have any kitties but 2 little doggies and when I decided to get a new puppy my older dog Heidie was 10. The breeder I got her from said to introduce the puppy to the older dog, you need to bring the older dog outside to meet the new puppy, otherwise if you bring the puppy into the house it would be like she was invading the older one’s territory. Anyway, I sat in the car with the new puppy and my husband brought Heidie out to meet her. Of course she did the usual sniffing, etc. Then I carried them both in the house together and put them down on the floor beside each other. I have to tell you it worked out great. Heidie had never had any babies of her own, and from that moment on she treated the puppy (Blossom) like she was her mom. She licked Blossom from head to toe and the breeder said that was Heidie’s way of marking Blossom to show that she belonged to her. I don’t know if it would work that way or not with the new kitty but it’s worth a try if you haven’t introduced them yet. Good luck and congratulations! xxxooo

  7. Becky says:

    Love the new puddy tat. He is one lucky guy, and Girl “Queen of the Manor” will warm to him. Another heartbeat in a home is always a good thing!

    I’ve noticed your brown transferware in some of your photos. I collect the “Charlotte” pattern, among others. Is that the same for you?

    Thanks for getting up early , puttering around,and allowing the muse to speak through you to all of us. Enjoy this ephermal season.

  8. Oh, I knew it! I just knew you’d get another kitty! How awesome! And when the wanderer comes back there’ll be three! How interesting that you and the shelter came up with the same name! I love his mustache! He was meant for your little family, waiting there in his black and white tux, I just want to pick him up and cuddle him!
    Have fun!

  9. Jody Thomas says:

    Congratulations on your new boy! He is so adorable. I do also believe you were meant to have Jack, just the name alone is a message! What a sweet looking boy. I’d love to cuddle and kiss him! I do that with my old girl until she gets annoyed and tries to escape! I wish I had the confidence to introduce another kitty, but my girl is, I think, too old for trauma. She’s 20+ now. He’s a cutie!!!! Hope Girl Kitty is accepting, and teaches him good manners. XOXO

  10. Patricia Wehner says:

    What an angel baby!!!! Furry children are so important to our lives – unconditional love! I’ve had three black and white kitties – Cristy and Carlos (twin babies who ruled the house) and Tucky, a scottish fold who entertained us constantly and had his own cat walk that spanned the whole area of our veterinary clinic (husband was a vet – I was his tech). I think it might be time for a new black and white kitty!!!! How lucky Jack and GK are to have such precious loving parents!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Patricia, nice to see you here — did you get moved?

      • Patricia Wehner says:

        Not yet – I’m emptying out my house so I can sell it – it’s a precious house – pink inside with a wall of tiny windows so my kitchen will get light – but I need to move to Dallas to be near my grandbabies. So selling the house is first, and I’m packing things up. Still cuddling my precious recipe box every night, and adding my mom’s and grandmom’s (Nanny) recipes in too – I love it. I must figure out a way to put your name and my name on it, with the date 🙂 Hope little Jack is adjusting to all the love 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          They still have wood burning sets! 🙂 I use them to put quotes on wooden spoons sometimes. Good luck on selling the house. It sounds like it’s a hard one to let go of!

          • Patricia Wehner says:

            That’s a great idea!! I’m hoping someone will buy my house who truly loves it and will give it lots of life.

          • sbranch says:

            I know how you feel, I recently met the woman who has my old house (a house I still dream about!) — she has taken such good care of it! I was so happy — she gave me a tour. It was wonderful! I hope you find someone just like that!

  11. Laura Ann says:

    Jack is so cute! We have a black and white kitty with a mustache, too–my kids named her “Milk Mustache”, but it was too hard to say, so we call her “Tasha” (short for mus-tasha) instead. We also just added a new kitty to our household and our two older cats are NOT happy!! The invader is about a year old, orange and white with double paws, and has pale green eyes outlined in black. There have been several fights and scratched-up noses, but Contessa seems here to stay. The older cats like to guard the cat box and the food, but the new cat is Queen of the Stairs. It’s not pretty!

  12. Mary Weir says:

    Congratulations on your new love and good luck with getting the two cats to tolerate, then like, each other. Just wanted to say bless you for adopting a shelter animal. So many more need homes and I hope others will follow your example.

  13. pat addison says:

    oh Susan he is adorable, and you are in for such fun as a younger cat somehow makes the older cat a kitten again. at least that what is going on our cats, when we brought Tabitha home for the first time, it was almost instant, she was the lil princess of the house. the older males, Tabby and Midnight, were quite surprised and there was the usual reowr and hissing going on, but it didn’t last long and they were all play buddies and pals. now whenever the mischief is going its not a question of who did it as it is more of who started it and who is involved, and its usually everyone. we had the cats play Tarzan in the christmas tree, but solved the problem of them knocking it over by attaching a small but strong wire from the tree to the ceiling to anchor it. and we only put ornaments on it that were not breakable around the bottom layer of the tree, that way they could swat all they wanted and we would just pick up the ornament and put them back on. it took about a week for them all to get along together and now they are the best of friends, Tabitha has brought life back into our home and those boys have to scramble to keep up with her. LOL!!! the house is much more lively now and we thank heaven everyday for letting lil Tabitha come and stay with us. you are in for such fun, be sure to have plenty of toys and yarn balls around, and feather toys and ed loves to tease and torment the cats with a remote control mouse…got that for him last christmas. you are in for such fun and girl kitty will have a pal for life, be prepared for races around the house and loads of mischief. he is so sweet and such a sweet and handsome face. congratulations on your newest addition to the family, all the love and happiness to you all!!!! hugs….. 🙂

  14. Ann Y. says:

    LOVE the moustache !!! So happy for you – enjoy !

  15. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sweet Sue…& Congratz to You & Joe (Mommy & Daddy)…. 🙂 We Welcome Jack…what a Wonderful Story….& about His Name…(Goose~Bumps)….I Know Girl~Kitty…♥…is going to L♥ve Her New Baby~Brother…Her New Playmate…The Two of Them will be Rolling around… getting Tangled up in The Yarn…watching all The Birdies…Purrrrrrrring in Your Laps…Being Happy Joyful Kitties…Yay!…Your Holidays will Be Even for Jolly! sending lots of Kitty L♥ve…& Cute “Meows”…& Kitty~Hugzzzz…Wishing You a very Fun Week! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  16. April O'Toole says:

    Jack is adorable! Happy nesting with your new kitty!

  17. So glad you gave him a home…I’m sure it was meant to be!

  18. Marsha Robins says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of your precious Jack. It was definitely meant to be that he become a part of your household. Perhaps since he has a little French mustache, you should spell his name “Jacques”!

  19. Karen says:

    What is it about God’s little creatures? They just grab our hearts and won’t let go! Congratulations on your new baby, Jack. The story of his name is so amazing~sounds like something right out of a Susan Branch book!

  20. Lucy de Leeuw ( Miss Lucie) says:

    Welcome JACK! Kitties are fun at any age. I have at least two cats at all times. There is always a “bossy pants” within the group. They will learn to get along, just like the “get along gang” Enjoy!

  21. Gail says:

    I am loving Jack! Congrats! I’m sure he will love Girl Kitty soon. Good luck, he is a very lucky kitty for sure!

  22. Lynn says:

    Twelve years ago, FOUR tuxedo kittens (1 week old) came into our lives. We still have three of them: Queenie (the only girl), Grimm and Oreo. They look very similar to your Jack. I wish you luck and lots of kittie races to enjoy with Girl Kitty and Jack.

  23. zinnia patch says:

    Hi Susan – so happy for you with the new kitty! he is ADORABLE! I have two and they are the sweetest fur babies…. constantly making me laugh…. well, you enjoy little Jack and give him and girl kitty a pet for me….. have a happy day!

  24. OHHHH Susan!

    This is almost exactly what’s happening in my life too!!! How I got her is a bit of a long story so I won’t take your time, but I now have a new little girl kitty named Nico and she and my big baby Zo (she’s almost 11) are not falling in love as fast as I’d hoped.. The baby is all into making friends and is the most loving and affectionate little kitty I’ve ever had (and I’ve always had cats) but big Zo is VERY upset about this little pipsqueak coming in and disrupting her Queendom…

    Please update us on how the feline harmony is progressing in your house and I’ll keep posting about mine…

    p.s. I don’t comment very often but I’ve been a big fan for so many years now I can’t remember… You were my inspiration to start painting and drawing in my 30’s and now I’m 50 (Ugh)… I once wrote a letter to you and mailed it (snail mail) waaaaayyy back to tell you how much I admired you!..

    Anyway, thank you for the inspiration you’ve always been and continue to be to me. I may not pipe up much but I’m always watching from a distance…

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so nice to hear! That makes my day!

      I fear that I may end up with the same situation as you, kitty-wise. But I have hope; so many great comments about having patience and everything working out OK.

      • Ahh how sweet of you to read my post. You have some very wise readers, friends and fans, so I will give the patience thing a try too and hope they find tolerance in their own time… 🙂

  25. Connie Michael says:

    Mr. Jack is absolutely as handsome as they come. Tuxedo kitties are just the best! Have fun with your new boy! 🙂

  26. Jennie says:

    OH! Congratulations on such a cute furry bundle!! Definitely meant to be! I adore his little ‘mustache’and I am sure Girl Kitty will adore him too!
    Years ago my Husband and I brought a kitten home when we already had two adult cats at the time. I was nervous about it too, especially because the two we already had took six months to warm up to each other. But bringing Perkins into our family ended up being a piece of cake from day one. In fact our male cat ‘Louie’ loved Perkins so much, he became a sort of ‘mama’ to him.

  27. Janie Phillips says:

    What an amazing “meant to be” moment, and what a darling little kitten Jack is! I’ll be interested to know how Jack and Girl Kitty adjust to one another. I’m betting that they’re going to be friends. I know nothing about cat psychology, but I wonder if you could get Girl to associate him with something pleasant. Maybe have her eating sardines from your hand when she sees him. I’m wishing you the best of luck with them. They’re both as precious as can be! xoxo

  28. Cindy Dickinson says:

    How purrfectly wonderful! Smooches to Jack.

  29. Patty Opaczewski says:

    Hi Susan!!

    Congratulations on your new family member! I had one cat, Jinxy, who is kind of a tough guy cat, not a lap cat, but when he chooses too, he graces you with some affection and will jump up on my while I am resting on the couch and purr while he allows me to show him some affection. My boyfriend (can you call a guy your boy friend when you are quickly approaching 60? – lol!!) also had 1 cat, a ferrel cat he had adopted and brought inside, his main man “Tiger.” Last year Ron decided to adopt another cat, a friend for his Tiger. He was looking for a grey cat as he had had one who died the year before. In the process of lookin around for a cat for HIM I fell in love with a sweet long-haired calico, whites and carmels and just oh so pretty! She looked like a kitten she was so small and dainty but was 3 years old and actually they said that would be better for me to take home to my 5 year old male. They said that it was also better that I not get another male, territories you know!!! I named her Isabel because she thinks she is queen of the house! As little as she is she still staked out her territory, took Jinx’s spot away on my bed (and any other spot she sees he likes). Well it has been about a year and a half now. Some times I feel bad that I have let another cat encroach on Jinxy’s territory. He was “Lord of the Manor,” but they do have plenty of times that they run and chase and play together and pounce on each other from high couch backs and such and they eat side by side. I got lucky and really no problems.

    Ron on the other hand didn’t have such an easy time of it. His new cat hides ALL THE TIME and has just started coming out and allowing him to pet her for maybe 5 minutes or so. But unfortunately the territory being invaded caused poor Tiger some emotional distress and he started peeing all over the house, the new carpet, the new furniture, and poor Ron has been following him around on his hands and knees using every cleaning product known to man. He tried keeping him in the bathroom for awhile with a litter box, he took him to the vet, got him on antibiotics in case of an infection, but in the end we both knew he was upset that Ron had brought home another cat. There was only one thing for him left to do, so since he started out being a ferrel cat anyway, Ron started letting him out for awhile every day, despite the fact that he had had been declawed (I know they frown very much on this now and consider it akin to child abuse). Ron lives in the country on 23 acres so Tiger has room to explore. It is taking a chance since he has no claws but it has made Tiger much happier and since then (it has been about a month) there have been no more accidents and every day he has his play period outside and returns to his warm home.

    So I guess what I want to say is take it slow, slow s l o w!!! It seems like it would be so simple, introducing a new cat, but sometimes it isn’t.

    I will be hoping for you that things go well. Each cat loves you in a different way, it is just like children. They keep me company and love me unconditionally. I work at home so I am here all the time and Izzy is usually sleeping next to me on my desk. Sometimes I get a dirty look from Jinxy when he saunters in for a neck scratch, but we have our special times too.

    Congratulations on your new little kitten. Jack is adorable and wow wasn’t that kizmet that his name was Jack before you decided on it??. Meant to be!! It is dreary and raining here in South Bend, Indiana but the colors outside my window are beautiful and I love burning my scented candles and drinking my white chocolate espresso in my warm little house! ♥♥ Good luck and have a beautiful and blessed day!!! AND thank you again, you seem to enjoy all the little things just like I do and it is SO NICE having a friend to bring your attention to them!!! patty xxooo ♥

    • sbranch says:

      OK, I get it, SLOW!!! I just won’t hurry a thing. I get sort of excited to see Jack out of that bedroom where we can play all day, but I will just bide my time until Girl says it’s OK. Thank you!!

  30. Ann says:

    Congratulations to you and Joe! I’m not a cat person (love the dogs), but he is awfully cute. And could be Girl Kitty’s cousin with his coloring. Things will be interesting at your house for a while.

  31. stevi says:

    I just adore his French moustache! Jacque!

  32. Susan Edwards says:

    Susan … Jack is such a beautiful (can you say that about a boy kitty?) Kitten … love his color and markings. I can see how he was hard to resist and needed to come home with you and Joe. I know that Girl Kitty will enjoy his company.

  33. Jolene says:

    Happy Monday Susan! I doubt you’ll remember this story, seeing as you get so many emails, replies, comments and such…but I had mentioned in one of my comments on your other blogs I had lost my big boy, Kosmo, suddenly in September of an enlarged heart He was all black…11 years old…(he looked like a mini panther he was so long!!)… I remember bringing her (Luna) home when Kosmo was about 3, and their first couple of weeks together! It wasn’t long till they were inseperable! I would sometimes refer to them as Kibbles & Bits (from the old dogfood TV ad). Someday I would love to get another kitty but as for now, due to circumstances I am living with my sister & brother-in-law and they have 4 (yes 4) kitties and a Border Collie….so for now Luna & I will have each other and maybe…maybe…someday she’ll have a friend. Congratulations on your newest addition!!! Before you know it, maybe they’ll be like Kibbles & Bits too 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I sure hope so! Right now Girl is just ignoring him….she doesn’t go sniff under his door! So we are still waiting to see what happens next!

      • Patty Opaczewski says:

        LOL!! You just reminded me the first several weeks after we brought Izzy home Jinx would walk past the bedroom we kept her in (mind you he hadn’t even seen her) and would hiss everytime he went down the hall past her room!!! They know!!! So funny!!

  34. Pam K says:

    Hi Miss Susan,
    This is my first time commenting but I’ve been following your blog and it’s a favorite of mine. I write because I am so tickled for you and your family. Jack is just adorable and seems so very affectionate from the pictures. His French mustache is just too sweet. Jack is one blessed kitten. For you and yours to adopt from a shelter warms my heart.
    I will watch for more pictures of him and Girl Kitty. I miss my orange tabby, Hobbes, who died four years ago (my husband’s cat allergies prevent another adoption). I am happy to live vicariously through you and your cat adventures. Good luck with the fateful meeting! Here’s hoping Girl Kitty and Jack are long-lost soul mates. PK

  35. Cathy says:

    I think you should call him by his french name….Jacques! Since he has a cute, little french moustache….the name fits.

  36. Paulette says:

    Yeah kittens! We have two brothers, Fred and George, both orange. They will be 6 months old next week, we’ve had them for two months. They’re sadly moving out of the wiggly phase, but are inseparable (that’s good and bad). I’m sure we’ll have plenty of tales about the Christmas tree….we’ve already ruled out tinsel this year!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m thinking how beautiful a great big undecorated tree, tied to the wall, will be. How simple and refreshing! 😉

      • Karen P says:

        The first Christmas that we had our two sweet kittens, Josie and Lily, it never dawned on me that having a tree might be an issue (how naive was I?!….never a pet owner before). One day I came in the living room and heard a little “mew-mew”….Lily (the perfectly behaved one) was sitting and looking at the tree and Josie (the naughty black and white adventurer) was up almost to the top of the tree clinging to the trunk! Their favorite place to lay was on the tree skirt under the branches! So sweet.

        • sbranch says:

          I probably wouldn’t have thought of it…I’ve never had a kitty that went after the Christmas tree, but Jack strikes me as perhaps, the type. 🙂

  37. Michelle A says:

    Congratulations on your new baby. He is just too cute. Im crossing my fingers for you that in time(sooner than later) Girl Kitty will except and love him just like you do .

  38. Jo says:

    I, too have a Jack cat except she is a female. We found her wandering around our porch and I just couldn’t leave her so she became a member of the family. My daughter thought she looked like Capt Jack Sparrow (which is her “official”name) so Jack she became. She likes to sit behind me on the couch and put her paw on my shoulder but my other cat loves to chase her around-poor thing. Jack’s a good name!

  39. Sarah Anne says:

    Jack is absolutely adorable and I’m sure Girl Kitty will think so too…eventually. =^.^=
    Three years ago, before Christmas, we lost our 17 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Millie. I was absolutely inconsolable..she was our child. The house was so quiet and lonely but I couldn’t bear the idea of getting another dog. So a neighbor took me to our Humane Society to adopt a cat! We walked through a room full of cages of cats and one of them stretched his long arms out through the cage saying, “I want to love you!”. Well, that was it. He rescued us from the misery of losing Millie. He’s a beautiful “Tuxedo” like Girl and Jack. We had him neutered and brought him home on Christmas Eve! We were trying to decide what to name. I was watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” and I thought about George Bailey…”the richest man in town

  40. Jennifer says:

    Congratulations Susan! Sweet little Jack is a lucky kitty to get to live with you. Girl will get used to him in time…it was meant to be since the name Jack came to Joe 🙂 Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  41. Patty says:

    Oh Susan! Your new addition is purrfect for your family! GK may never be completely happy with him, but she will enjoy seeing what he is up to. He will be good company. Then again, she may just decide she loves him! We are waiting to hear all about it! Wishing you the blessing of a peaceful, purrfect home.

  42. Tammy in Colorado says:

    HOW WONDERFUL! I am SO happy for all of you! And I just know that Girl Kitty will come around. Jack is the cutest kitty ever! I can tell by the pictures that he is just full of love and devotion! I have no advice about Girl Kitty, however, I would advise that you keep him away from Christmas ribbon – if they swallow this it can be very bad. Don’t want that!

    And I love the idea of a plain and simple tree =) That will also give you more time to play with your kitten =)

    I hope you’ll share many more pictures and stories of the love adventure. And that he will live a very long, happy, and healthy life with you, Joe, and Girl!

    How exciting for all of us, because we get to share the adventure through your wonderful blog. I’m so glad that you love to blog, because I sure LOVE to read it.

  43. So sweet that his name was Jack! I {heart} it when that stuff magically happens! It was totally meant to be!

  44. Karrie says:

    Oh I am so very happy for you !!!!! His little fuzzy self just needs lots of love. Girl Kitty and him will figure it out and she will remain Queen of the Roost, putting him in his place quickly. Our oldest was 6 when we added another and after 3 days the pecking order was firmly established. Congradulations

  45. Sandra says:

    This warms my heart! I’ve also been looking for either a white cat or a black and white cat to join our household. We’ve never had trouble but once, introducing new cats or dogs to the household. We rescued a Plot hound once and she took to the cats right away…but in a very bad way -smile- so Chloe had to find a new home where she could do what her heart demanded…hunt, but not cats -smile.
    I’m getting ready to adopt another Jack Russell; her Pa died and now her Ma has to find homes for the babies. Dave used to tell me, “one day we’ll be on the Drudge Report…Cove couple has 57 dogs!” I’d look at him and grin, “You say that like it’s a bad thing!-”
    Dave passed away Saturday; thanks for the cheer you bring me.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh nooo. Here I am writing about Thanksgiving for the new Willard, about my grandma, listening to her favorite song, all teary eyed, and then I read your note Sandra, and now I’m a sobbing mess. I’m so so sorrry. I was laughing about his comment about the drudge report. . . and then he is gone. Sending love and prayers for you and yours — our animals are such a comfort at times like this . . . xoxo

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      I’m so sorry Sandra, you and your family are in my prayers.

    • Martha Ellen says:

      Sandra–My thoughts and prayers to you at this time. Take care of yourself! xoxo

  46. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Jack is adorable! Is there anything cuter than a new kitten? Nope….I don’t think so……. Here’s to a long and healthy and happy life to both of your kitties! Congrats on taking a leap of faith with Jack. Maybe in a while when they are buddies they won’t mind a third? I have a dog and two cats and they all love each other. Dog came first, then kitten (boy) and then kitten (girl). Dog was the most level headed of the three. Kittens were more of a challenge. I know you’ll be fine! Please keep us up to date with their progress. This is gonna be fun! ; )

  47. Candice says:

    What an adorable little Jack he is! He reminds me of our little tuxedo kitty, Sadie Boy (long story on that name!). I know he is thinking he has died and gone to heaven to have been able to go home with you.

  48. Debbie says:

    Dear Sandra, you are in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort in your sweet memories. Take care

  49. Christine Brubaker says:

    There is a childrens book in Jack and his story……

  50. Donna Valentine says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love your story, and I hope that everything will work out for Girl Kitty and Jack! We have a long hair all white cat named Dixie Cup, (can you believe that my husband picked that name?He is really good with names…I love it!) and she has one blue eye and one green eye. She actually was a stray that we took in. Because she has such long fluffy hair, it sometimes gets matted, and she ended up with a big clump on her back that needed to come off. So yesterday my friend and I worked with hair clippers and shaved off all the mats, and now the poor thing has an almost bald spot on her back for a while, but it needed to be done. But it was so hard to do, I think she thought that she was being tortured or something! All the rest of the day I kept petting her and loving her. But she wouldn’t go near the chair where we performed the dreaded task! We also have a big black dog named Billy Bob, I think my husband picked that name too. They get along wonderfully. I really hope your two will too, take it slow…so glad you found Jack the way you did, it was meant to be. He is sooooo cute . Animals, pets, are surely a gift from God. They are wonderful to talk to and such friends. Sandra…you will be in my prayers today. God bless you…and you , Susan, and Joe, and Girl Kitty and Jack. Thank you for ever, for all your inspiration…Take care, Love Donna

  51. Joan B says:

    OH tears when I got to the picture with his name on the collar!!
    How sweet – he and Girl Kitty will be just fine – I had a tuxedo cat for 20 years and he was the sweetest, kindest, most playful kitty ever.
    Congratulations and blessings to your entire family.

    Joan B

  52. Debbie P. says:

    Hi Susan~
    I just wanted to stop by and say, “What a beautiful new baby!” After losing our 15 year old beagle, Buddy, a few weeks ago, George and I decided that we were too heartsick to even think of getting another pet for a while. We’ve had 2 cats over the years – Tinkerbell and Charlie – actually, Charlie grew up with Buddy but died a few years ago. At the breakfast table Sunday morning, I was showing George your sweet little Jack and the pictures of Girl Kitty and you could almost hear our hearts softening to the idea of perhaps getting a kitten! We will go to our local shelter when we’re ready ~ so many babies need homes. I think maybe God had a hand in me discovering your blog this fall…so often what you’re writing about strikes a chord in me as well.
    I also want to add my prayers to the other girlfriends’ prayers for Sandra. May God give you the strength and the courage to go on without your dear husband. Know that many are thinking of you, Sandra, even though we’ve never met.
    We’re having exceptional warm fall weather here in central NY…hope it’s nice on MV, too…have a wonderful day, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      66 degrees out at the pond today, so beautiful, sun shining through yellow leaves! So nice what you said to Sandra xoxo

    • Sherri says:


      If you get a chance you might like to look at “Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant. It is a picture book and the text is very comforting to those of us who have lost a treasured friend. I’ve given this book to several friends and relatives at their time of loss.

      I hope it won’t be long before your memories bring only joy and less sorrow.

  53. Dee Storie says:

    Susan, I think you’ve got the perfect story for a children’s (or cat lovers) picture book! What a great story!

  54. Dee Storie says:

    Oops…guess I should have read the comments before I posted mine 🙂 Someone else recognizes a great children’s book topic when they hear it!

  55. KathyRS says:

    If it’s any encouragement I brought a new little kitty into my home and my 9 year old angel from God did NOT appreciate it! It’s taken several months, but I have just starting finding them laying together in the den, just snoozing in the sunshine. So there is hope, even for the most resistant! My 2 girls are a good example of that, at least.

  56. Suzanne says:

    Omg Susan, Jack is just a darling. New kittys are the most wonderful thing, happy little fur balls all playful and sweet. I hope Girl takes to Jack, as maybe it bring out her maternal instincts. My Maggie carries around my fuzzy slippers thinking they are her babies, sometimes she cries like she misses them, as when I adopted her she had just had kittens. Well he will keep you busy, but what fun and excitement, a new member of the family…..congratulations!!!!!!

  57. Martha Love says:

    Susan…….Oh my! We had a kitty named Jack and he was a tuxedo cat! He was known as the snake hunter on our little island. He was a stray that we took in one Halloween night…hence the name Jack ( o lantern). He didn’t take to being an indoor cat all the time and so we let him out for an hour or so and usually, we would get a call from one of the neighbors telling us that Jack had successfully left a dead snake on their front porch. Jack never told us why he would choose one neighbor over another to leave his gift of a dead snake! He didn’t hunt birds or any other creatures that I know about. Once he had successfully finished his hunting he would come back home and remind our 85 pound Golden Retriever who was boss. We had 12 wonderful years with Jack the Cat.
    Having said all that….I just know you will have many wonderful years with your Jack!

  58. christina says:

    aww he is just so cute.

  59. Darlene says:

    {{{Sandra}}}, I am so sorry for your loss…please know that warm thoughts and prayers are withh you. xoxo

  60. Sherri says:

    There something very Adolphe Menjou about that mustache in a dapper, adorable way.

    This is the first time I’ve left a comment. I love you website and your blog. You don’t know it, but I have lunch with you several days a week while I eat my cottage cheese and pears at my desk. It’s just like having lunch with a good friend.

    Thank you for so generously sharing yourself with all of us.

  61. Christine Barnhart says:

    Hi Susan, Greeting from Enumclaw Washington! Congratulations on your new little family member! Jack is very cute, and it sounds like it is ment to be! Give Girl Kitty a little time and she will come to love him as well : ) I had a new kitten addition last year and intro to my older kitty who just pasted away. Walter has helped heal my heart from losing a 18 year friend and family member Wiskers. Your blog brought happy tears to my heart. Enjoy him being little he will grow fast. Cover your legs with long socks 🙂

  62. Janell from Whidbey Island says:

    I don’t even like cats… dare I admit that?… but your story of getting Jack absolutely melted my heart! Loved it!

  63. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Sandra – Prayers and love to you. God Bless you!

  64. Nnacy Jo says:

    oH bOY!! a NEW puddy cat. Gotta love those big front feet, well the back feet too. Kitties are so much fun and this one looks like a winner. Give the big kittie of the house a pat for me, she is special too.
    Nancy Jo

  65. Kristy says:

    So sweet! What a wonderful story and I know those sweet kitties will be best friends soon!

  66. Laurie says:

    We have a new little Tuxedo cat in our lives, too. We’d seen this kitty in our yard for months, happily catching gophers and mice. One evening she meowed and meowed and curled around our legs as we sat outside to watch our chickens. Later that evening this cat got into it with the pesky racoons that maraud around our yard each night, and we brought her in for safety. She immediately loved us, and we loved her. We looked for “Lost Cat” signs, with non to be found. Took her (“Jet”) to the vet and they found her to be chipped, and located the owner 🙁 Did the right things and returned her…but lo and behold this kitty kept coming back, now with a collar and tag. We called the owner, who retrieved her, and graciously said that “cats are cats” and she would be OK with (our) Jet/(her)Olivia hanging out with us if she chose. We swapped numbers and Jet/Olivia went home. Guess what? She immediately came back…We put her outside during the day, to encourage her to go home, but she likes it here. and she doesn’t bother our chickens. Thank you, Celia, for so generously sharing your purring bundle of fluff with us!
    and Susan & Joe…I think Jack and Girl will get along famously…what a lucky kitty to have found you!

  67. CAROLYN says:

    Yes, the stars were all in alignment when “Handsome Jack” came into your life – What a handsome little man – love his mustashe – what a wonderful home he now has with you all – Handsome Jack will help with new creative ideas, he is a newly added boost to a wonderful creative spirit that nurtures us all – c

  68. Carol Divis says:

    Sandra, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. God Bless!
    Susan – best of luck with adorable Jacques. Have 3 cats and still haven’t been successful integrating one with the other 2. But J is still so small, GK may take to him as a Mama. Love the mustache!

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone has a different story, some get really lucky and the cats love each other, and then everything in between. I think we just have to play it by ear!

  69. Carla says:

    This story about Jack made me cry. It was meant to be~

    Happy Kitty Mommying

  70. Mama Bear says:

    Fate, that’s what it was….I was telling Granddaughter the story of ‘bringing Smokey’ home, just yesterday as we struggle to put the cat puzzle together….it has a yellow calico kitten on it and that is what I wanted when I started looking for a Cat….never even dreamed of owning a BLACK Cat….but we knew as soon as we looked at each other through the bars of his cage and I said to him, You’re Smokey, aren’t you….it was meant to be, even his name came readily to my tongue……Right now, Smokey Bear is curled up on top of my arms between my chest and the laptop as I type….

  71. Rosie says:

    Hello, recent addition to your long list of ardent readers, have just been reading along and loving it all – but the Christmas tree and cat subject led me to comment.

    Years ago I made special little stuffed birds and other cat toy types of ornaments for the lower third of our tree. Have used them every year, and the cats love them – especially the pheasant I made from pheasant-print cloth. They stalk the swinging ornaments, swat them off, I hang them back… it goes on all season. We, too, always wire the tree into its spot for stability.

    Watching the cats stalk the tree and lounge around on the tree skirt is all part of the holiday fun! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think like you do, I sort of want to see what happens! Love the idea of the “cat” ornaments . . . I might have to do that! Right now Jack’s favorite toy is a very long brown feathery boa on a stick. Wouldn’t look good on the tree, but by Christmas, he’ll probably want something new anyway!

  72. Bev Eckert says:

    I love Jack!! He’s so cute!!! I think Girl will come around eventually. I love your kitchen stuff too!! My favorite tools are too numerous to mention! I collect lots of old stuff, and I do use them, not all, but most. I love reading your blog! We have a new cat too. She’s 2 yrs old, her name is Olivia. She has beautiful green eyes. I would love to have another cat, but haven’t persuaded hubby yet. Maybe a kitten would do the trick!!! LOL

  73. Vicki Hughes says:

    Hoping Girl Kitty and Jack become the bestest of friends, and someday soon, are curled up in a catball together : )

  74. Katharine says:

    I love your story. Yes Jack was meant to be your cat. I love his facial markings. So cute! Let us know how Girl Kitty grows to like him. 🙂

  75. Beth Cummings says:


    This is the first time I’ve left a comment, but don’t think that means I don’t love you…because I do! My sister and adore all things Susan Branch and call each other as soon as we receive Willard.

    I just HAD to comment on Jack being such a fun and adorable kitty. I love his precious face and the story of his acrobatics tickled me. He reminds me of my sweet little girl Catphish a.k.a Phishy. My hubby thinks her name is Crawphish (we live on the MS coast), but he’s mistaken. She’s so lovable and would let me carry her around with me all day if I was so inclined. She too is a bit of a daredevil! Aren’t black and white kitties the best! (don’t tell my all-black kitty I said that)

    Thank you so much for providing us with so many wonderful stories and insights. I showed the photo of your autumn house to my husband and said “Look at my friend’s beautiful home” before I realized we’ve never actually met. But that’s how I (all of us I’m sure) feel about you. You’re like the favorite aunt or best friend who shares all of her fun secrets with us. I’m moving to WV (where I was born) in a month or so, and I’ll be that much closer if you need help decorating or in the kitchen! winkwink

    I do have a quick question for you. Have you done away with the spiral bound planner? I use mine every day and I’ll be hearbroken if you don’t offer one for 2012. Please say it isn’t so! Never fear…I’ll adore you either way!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Your Friend,
    Beth (& Phishy)

    • sbranch says:

      I didn’t really do away with it, the company that licensed me to design it for them decided they didn’t want one this year. There’s still time for next year, you can write them and tell them what you think at: [email protected] — they aren’t listening to me, maybe they will listen to you! 🙂

      Jack is amazing. I love him so much! Good luck with the move!!

      • Beth Cummings says:

        Good afternoon!

        Thank you so much for the reply. I completely understand it’s out of your hands. I will write them right now. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.


        P.S. Can’t wait to try a few cookie recipes!!

  76. Susan W says:

    Meant to be! Made me cry! Sweet!

  77. We did not know about “slowly” introducing a new kitty to an older cat. I will never forget the reaction to one another!!! We kept them separate for a week or so, allowing them to sniff one another thru a door. They are good buddies now and we even added a third kitten later. We live in an area where folks think it is safe to abandon kittens, and I can never turn one away!

    • sbranch says:

      They probably figure it’s safe because you live there! 🙂 Slowly seems to be the trick. Patience is the difficult part — I want to let Jack go. But he is such a baby, and wants to follow Girl Kitty and drive her crazy. Plus he still needs his afternoon nap, just like a baby, I can see it happening, he starts getting a little wild. So I take him back to his room, close the door, and don’t hear a peep for 3 hours!

  78. Pam Korte says:

    Hi Susan:
    What a little cutie pie Jack is. We adopted a male tuxedo about 5 years from our vet. He had surgery to remove part of one of his front paws that had been stepped on by a horse. His owner never returned to pick him up. It was love at first sight when we saw him. Tuxedo cats are the best and little Jack has the sweetest face. May you enjoy many happy years with him.

  79. Denise Glover says:

    Jack’s name story gave me goosebumps! It was meant to be! Thanks for sharing the adorable videos. Nothing cuter than a playing kitten 🙂 I hope I’m not too late to enter the drawing for the new book! I’m enjoying your blog–I’ve been a big fan for a long time. I have most (possibly all) of your books but just found the blog. Thanks for adding beauty to this world!

  80. Lin says:

    Your Blog site is like a breath of fresh air! Thank you so much for sending such a fun, down-to-earth, creative Willard! And we love your new Jack! It was meant to be…………he even “matches” Girl Kitty! We’ve taken in 3 rescue kitties, 2 are now 4 years and 1 is 16 years! They’re so endearing and so “naughty” in such a delightful way! Girl Kitty will learn to love Jack and they will be “siblings” before you know it! How we love reading about Jack’s acrobatics! Makes me want to go rescue another kitten, but there are so many older kitties, I would have to take one or two of them too, which would mean our kitty population was out of control! Happy Thanksgiving and big hugs for Girl and Jack! Lin

  81. Kathryn Mewhort says:

    My friend, Chris, just introduced me to your website/blog… how delightful, informative and fun. So many thoughts raced through my head as I read your notes, my love of bowls – wooden Munising bowls, cute little pottery pieces, crystal or woven. I also adore vintage tablecloths. Something about the smell and stiffness, or even the worn feeling. The colors and the patterns, especially cherries or old travel “state” cloths are always favorites. Can’t wait o start my Christmas decorating and celebrate the joy of unwrapping each special treasure that gets displayed. Have a marveloues Thanksgiving – God’s blessings to you!

  82. Brittanie says:

    That was the sweetest story! That it actually said “Jack” on his collar, how precious. And he’s adorable.

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