LIFE of Jack or Why You Need a Petty-Pet of your Very Own

Here we go, it’s the Life of Jack, who, if you don’t know, is the youngest of our two Kitties.  I finally decided his story needed to be a permanent part of the blog ~ I’m posting it here first, and later you’ll find it up at the top of the blog under “About Me”.  I’m in California right now, far away from home and pets, and thinking about them and thought I’d have fun by writing about how we came to get Jack and what he’s meant to us . . . he’s an excellent example of why, if we can, we should all have a kitty!  And if you’ve never had one and are curious, here’s kitty info from me and Jack to you with love. Con Musica

When the shelter called to tell us that a male tuxedo kitten had come in and asked if Joe and I wanted to come look at him, we said OK.  On the drive to Edgartown we talked about what we would name him if we decided to take him.  I was tired of naming all my kitties the same thing, always “Man Kitty” for a boy and “Girl Kitty” for a girl (my creativity comes to a screaming halt when naming my cats, I’m terrible at it).  In the car Joe suggested we might call him “Jack” ~ we still aren’t sure why he came up with that but it sounded OK to me, better than Man Kitty.  When we arrived and this new kitten was put into my arms, he tipped his head up to look at me and I could see the paper collar he was wearing.  Lo and behold!  They had already named him at the shelter!  And his name, written right on the collar was “Jack!”  Hello?  Pack him up!  He’s ours!  Even though he kind of looked like there was a big black spider on his face, this kitty was meant for us!  There’s Jack (above) with Joe on his first day home, ten weeks old and sweet as pie.

At this point I was just hoping he would grow into his nose . . . but no matter what, I was in love, mad love.

One of the best things about kittens and cats is that they’re great for people who haven’t the patience for the six months-to-a-year (or maybe lifelong) potty training required for a puppy.  You just fill a plastic box with kitty litter before you pick up your kitty, come home, put him in it, scratch his paw there so he can see how delightful it feels and that’s it!  He’s potty trained!  You are done!  He will always go there!  Brilliant!

And of course, having a soft little fuzzy guy like this in the house is just so much fun!  Like a cuddly baby that doesn’t grow up and can almost feed itself and never needs his diaper changed.

He has the roundest eyes that seem to get greener as he gets older!  He makes me run for the camera about eighteen times a day  because everything he does is just so cute.

 The cuddling never ends . . .

After a while we began to notice that Jack has a movie-star quality.  Like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind or William Powell in The Thin Man→, or even more, like Hercule Poirot, the Agatha Christie detective   ←who’s always getting  himself into trouble, but looks suave while he does it.  Jack had those kinds of superstar qualities.   

We started looking at mustaches with a different view . . .

Sheri and Kellee (whom many of you know from my Studio) felt very connected to Jack from the beginning.  Even tho’ they were in California, 3000 miles away from where Jack lives with us on Martha’s Vineyard, they got into the action.  And in fact, they went out very soon after this and got their own Studio kitties!  Two kittens that live with them at the Studio.  Because what is life without a cat?  Nothing makes me happier when I’m away from home, on a vacation or something, than to go into a store that has a cat in it!  Oh, the fur!  Oh, the contentment!

Me, too, I could no longer bear to have this pillow sitting around as it originally came to me. . . something was missing . . .

I pulled out my black permanent marker and fixed it right up . . . now it’s almost the exact image of Jack!

He taught me what he likes.  The first thing that caught his attention was this furry red ball.  He just LOVED it.  He carried it around in his mouth all the time looking like an adorable greeting card.

Black and white kitties have always been my favorite because they go so well with my furniture.  Artistically pleasing and very graphic.

After a while, I would throw the ball, he would catch it, and, depending where we were, he would bring it back to me to throw again.

Notice that post he’s sitting on?  Joe wrapped a board with an old piece of carpeting and put it in the living room the first day we got him.  Jack loves this post, he knows it’s his and he never scratches the furniture, ever, he just goes to his post.  If you get a kitty, give him a post asap, don’t let him start with any bad habits.  Bad habits are hard to break.

Jack showed off his multi-talented self from the beginning, gathering his toys together in one spot.  Hunter gatherer.

I would find little groups of his toys in piles around the house. One time I picked up the scale in our bedroom, because he was sniffing around it suspiciously, and under it there were seven ponytail bands.  I would throw them to him and never see them again.  He’d been scooting them under the scale.

He’d lost interest in the ball throwing and retrieving, and instead, he wants me to shoot ponytail bands for him . . . so he can catch them in mid air with his two paws, put them in his mouth, and bring them back to me!  You can see him clutching onto one of the bands here.

It’s what he loves to this day . . . we do it every morning and every night and sometimes at lunch!  At times, like this ~ have you seen Simon’s Cats?  Simon has his finger on the pulse of a kitty . . .

Jack’s on a bench in front of the windows on the far side of our bed.  I stand at the bedroom door, shoot the ponytail band across the bed, he catches it in mid-air, brings it to me, and goes back to wait (like a hawk) for me to shoot it again.

A young man and his pony tail band . . . purrrrr.

Our lives are so much more fun since he came into the picture . . . he keeps us laughing  all the time.  Here he is at his first Christmas.  We thought he might climb the tree, or tear the ornaments apart, but he was perfect, and was our Jack in the Box, the best present of them all.

He was curious and in on all the decorating . . .

. . . making the whole room prettier and cozier while he’s at it.  Sometimes I marvel that God gave us these little creatures to live with us inside our homes, purr in our ears, rub against our legs, cuddle with us and our children at night.  They are love and it’s love that makes a house a home.

Even taking a bubble bath is more fun with Jack to help!

Cooking is more fun too . . . he usually watches me from the top of the fridge.

This is my favorite photo ever.  Jack’s eyes on that bug!

No bug is safe in our house.

And Jack LOVES ladders.  Joe was painting the kitchen and Jack was helping.

He was so comfortable . . . I think he wished I would put his food dish up there.

Sleeps like a dream on a narrow ledge even with his leg dangling over the side.

But he knew he had to come down to eat . . . and this is how he did it, just walked down the rungs the same way Joe did. (Except Joe doesn’t do it upside-down!)

For a while I thought we might have to leave a ladder up in the house forever.  No matter where the ladder was, even if it’s leaning against a wall, Jack loves it.

I put the ladder up to bring down baskets from the pantry rafters ~ turn around, and there he is!

I love it when he poses photogenically . . . he is a purrfect kitty model.

I don’t even have to say, “OK Jack, be cute for the camera.”  He just does it.  That’s how talented he is.

When I iron, he tries to help me there too.  SO, I must go get the camera!

If I don’t pay attention for a moment, he stretches out a glossy leg and looks like this in front of me and oops, excuse me while I go get the camera!

He’s wonderful when he poses, but he’s a total nut in motion . . .

I love his lunatic eyes

Especially here, with my girlfriend Elizabeth —  I catch some of his best expressions when he’s moving . . . Look at him look at her!

Then he looks at me with eyes that say, “why are you letting her do this to me?”

(I don’t really know, give me that kitty!)

Jack didn’t come to a catless home, my older kitty (guess what her name is) Girl Kitty, was here.  I thought Jack would put a bit more interest in her life, but Girl is not warming up to Jack.  She sees his existence as pointless, awkward, and even disturbing.  She growls when he tries to come near her.

He would love to play with her … but they’ve been more or less like this from the beginning, Jack wants Girl, but Girl does not wish to have Jack, he’s a bit too much for her.   They don’t fight, they just don’t mingle much despite the yearning in Jack’s eyes.  I have now learned that if you have an older kitty and you want to get a new little one, get two — that way your new kitty has someone equally rambunctious to play with and will not torture the older one.

She can just be her imperious self and there could be two little crazies under the table.  Poor little boy . . . but he is almost three now . . . to introduce a new kitty, would make all new problems.  We’re good, we’ve figured it out.  But next time, I’ll get two.

 Jack has had to accept this as his brother, the ever-vigilent, wide awake, but not that much fun, Petey.

The seasons change and Jack watches everything from the window.  So far I haven’t let him outside.  I heard that if you live where there’s traffic, you should keep them in for at least the first two years, until they have lost that “chase anything that moves” syndrome where they follow a butterfly or a bee right into the street without a thought.  They’re like babies.  Can’t let them go on their own until they’re older.  Maybe next year, after I’ve thoroughly scared the bejeebers out of his relationship to the great outdoors.  I let Girl out, but she never goes more than ten feet from the house.  Just the way I like it.

When a neighbor cat comes into our yard, Jack will follow it, running madly from window to window to keep it in his sight!

And of course, in all seasons, he’s endlessly entertained by this, we have feeders outside our kitchen windows and we are a very popular bird restaurant!

I want him to get used to NOT EATING birds before I ever let him out.  Would like him to see them as “Normal.”

The hardest thing I ever have to do is say goodbye . . . he watches from the window when I drive away, even when I go to the store!

And his joy is obvious upon my return (that’s his head, upside-down, at the bottom of the screen) and I feel just the same way!

Jack has become famous lately — he has fans like “Bentley” reading about him in books~ . . .

And he’s recently been immortalized in felted wool by our friend Suzanne at Strawberry Patches Quilt Store . . .  and yet, despite that,

 . . . he remains humble and still helps me with the laundry. 

Another reason to have a kitty (or a dog, bunny, bird, hamster, parrot, fish) is not just because they need us to protect and love them . . .  it’s a two way street . . . we need them.  They are good for our physical and mental health . . . they build strength in the happy gene and even lower blood pressure, that’s how good they are; owning a cat makes you 37% less apt to have a heart attack!  Any information you would ever need to have about owning an animal is available through Google.  Ask and ye shall receive. ♥  

Some people search all their lives for purpose when anyone can see that God served us purpose on a silver platter.  He gave us the earth and all of its magnificent treasure to care for.  That’s our purpose.  He made us strongest of all, and that comes with responsibility.  We are the stewards of the air, the oceans and waterfalls, flowers, woods, and homegrown tomatoes; He gave us the profound gift and responsibility to care for the critters big and little, lions and elephants, chickens, puppies, chipmunks, snakes, trout, polar bears and kitties, every wonderful living thing that makes up the magical chain of life, including us with each other, the strongest to the weakest amongst us.   If for nothing else, that’s why we’re here, to take care of the beauty that God has given us. When I play with my cats, I look up and inside my head I hear myself whisper, “Thank you, God!”  If you ever see someone being cruel to an animal I encourage you to call your local Humane Society or even 911 and get that person straightened out!

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337 Responses to LIFE of Jack or Why You Need a Petty-Pet of your Very Own

  1. Julie Marie says:

    Oooh, I love this post so much!… Jack is soooo adorable, but then, you already know that and so does he!… I can just see you spending an entire day just photographing his antics, love the action shots!… I had never seen him as a baby kitty cat… too cute!… and I love how he plays toys and rubber bands… you are so right about critters giving us “purpose” in life… I have spent my entire life (and so has my Jack, who by the way, is not a kitty!)… rescuing all of God’s precious creatures… you know Susan, I am a very nice lady… but if I see someone, anyone, hurting an animal, I become their worse nightmare… I am only 5’3″, but I don’t care if it is a 7 foot 250 lb weightlifter, I will hold my own against them!… my precious Tessy who you featured on a previous post reading “A Fine Romance” was lost and alone… we took her home and tried for two days to find her owners… when we did, they did not want her… after meeting them, even if they had, they would not have gotten her back from me… she is truly a gift from God… she needed us, and we needed her… and just like you said, my blood pressure has gone down drastically since she came into our lives… thank you for always looking out for God’s creatures… the birds, kitty cats, all of our precious little loves in life… I want to start a charm bracelet with the charms you are selling in your shop… how about a “Jack” charm… maybe with some of the proceeds from that one going to an animal shelter?… I would buy one for all the girls in my family!… and that way, all of the “girlfriends” can have a sweet little “Jack” of their own… kitty kisses Jack and Girl Kitty… I love you!… love you too Susan… oh, and Joe too!… (kitty dad)… xoxo Julie Marie

  2. Kate says:

    My two labs and my six hens keep me entertained all the time. I can sit and watch my chicks scratching in the soil and I can feel my blood pressure go down. My brown lab, Belle, waits at the back door and as soon as I touch the doorknob she is there with her bone in her mouth for me to throw for her. I could not live a day without a pet. I’ve always had one and always will. I love your Jack. He’s a sweetie.

    • sbranch says:

      Love it Kate . . . this post is going to be so fun hearing about everyone’s favorite critters!

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Well, ya just KNEW I HAD to write about the schnauzers now–right! We have two–one raises our blood pressure and the other lowers it! LOL! Seriously, when we had only one, one night we were sitting watching a movie on TV and Norm, who was sitting there holding Fanny like a baby, looked over at me and said, “I feel sorry for you!” I said, “Whatever for?!” He replied, “Well, I have a schnauzer in MY lap, YOU don’t!” and he laughed. I said, “Well, I could probably take care of that problem pretty fast” and believe it or not–we heard about Betti the next week–that she needed a home! So, that is how we ended up with the two. We love them both dearly and whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, our lives sort of revolve around them…Thank goodness God made dogs and cats!!! 🙂

  3. I love the story of how he got his name. It’s like when I saw the ad in the paper for a little white dog and called and they told me his birthday and it was the same as my first son’s, well, “hello?” is right!

  4. Susan Cook says:

    Can’t imagine our lives without our four legged “kids”. One cat, Suikyi, two dogs, Ticho and Buffet. We have recently lost a dog (Billy)and a cat (Selene) and we miss them terribly.

    Jack is a cutie! Girl cat is adorable her own self.

  5. Nellie says:

    Happy Sunday afternoon, Susan!

    There is really nothing like a cat to keep you entertained! With the capability to jump and climb high into the air, there is no limit to their antics! We truly enjoyed both of the cats we have had. None now, though, and because of allergies of some family members, will not be adding another.:-(

    It is easy to see how much you miss both Jack and Girl Kitty. I was hoping she might have warmed some to this new addition. He apparently doesn’t feel the “snub” too strongly. After all, he has you and Joe for his “playmates!”

    Time passes quickly, and before you know it, you will be heading back to MV. Jack will definitely be happy for you to return.

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      Who knows, while we’re away, maybe they will turn to each other! Hope springs eternal.

      • Suzanne says:

        I was thinking the same thing – while mom’s away maybe I will play with my little brother. Just wouldn’t want her to know that I really do like him.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Wouldn’t it be fun to have a kitty-cam in your house – so you could see what REALLY goes on with Girl and Jack when you’re away? They might surprise you… :>)

        • sbranch says:

          I would love it! But we would have needed to have children to get that complicated of a thing done! 🙂

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            LOL! I understand completely. My nephew, now 18 but 9 at the time, installed my new DVD player without even a glance at the directions in the box. If it were up to me, I’d still be reading and trying to understand the directions! Really, maybe there’s an available kid in your neighborhood – because “Girl-Jack Kitty Cam” would be seriously awesome. PS – check out “HenCam” – so much fun to watch Terri’s barnyard friends!

  6. My kitty Sam is gone now, Susan, but you have me remembering some of his classic moves. The song that came to mind while reading your post is one you may remember: “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I just found and listened to it and pictured your two kitties as the line “two cats in the yard” repeated in each chorus.

    Have a lovely week.


  7. Susan, you’ve done a wonderful service to encourage people to take in an unwanted animal. There’s a wonderful site called where you can enter in the name of your city and find a list of animals that need homes.

  8. Pat Stansel says:

    What a lovely , wonderful, happy surprise ! Great idea having a section on your blog
    devoted to your kitties!!
    Every thing your putting up lately shows how much you miss the Island!
    I hope that your enjoying your Ca. home even though your heart is pulling you to
    Martha’s Vineyard.
    Looking forward to Remnants show !

  9. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    I just love Jack’s story, he was adorable as a kitten and is even more so now that he is grown. I don’t think our lives be as fun if we didn’t have our furry friends in it. I adore and love my babies, all of them, house cats and barn cats. my kitties play with anything and everything and I never know what they are going to do from day to the next, from zooming round and round the house chasing each other, or rolling all over the floor and wrestling and swatting each other or trying to get to a glimpse of the funny page on Sundays ( they love Garfield), they are sheer heaven to have and a joy each day. each day brings a new round of mischief, and mayhem and laughter as they sit there looking at me like “well we did it, we sure made a mess and mom is laughing at us” I can’t get mad at them, its too funny. and in my opinion nothing beats the end of a day when your babies snuggle up to you and want to be in your lap for a cuddle or 2 before bed. right now 1 is in my rocking chair trying to clean up a bit and trying to figure how to keep that rocker steady instead of it moving like it does.. LOL!!! another cat is curled up on the kitchen rug and eyeballing a blue jay on the back porch at one of the feeders, another one is curled up on the couch pillows and has discovered a snug little bed for the afternoon.. its naptime I think. and one is chowing down before the rest can run in there and gobble down the treat left in his dish. life without pets is an empty life. it would be impossible for me to live without cats, dogs or other critters, yes even my chickens make life around here interesting. they are so silly at times, and so much like we are, there little groups and cliques they socialize in, and their curious nature, they are just as nosy as cats at times and have to see whatever you are doing, they will crowd near a fence to watch a another bird in the back yard. no life with pets is good, its healthy for they sure keep you moving and I believe pets teach us more about love than we will ever know, for they love us unconditionally forever. they are our best friends and our companions. I think life without pets would be very dull. off to go give my furry babies a special hugs and a session of playing with the new felt toys, they love their toys, especially BOO and EEK ( BOO the ghost and EEK the bat). have a great day everyone, give your pets a hug and lot of love today and everyday. hugs everyone…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing about them all! You’ve made such a great life Pat!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        wouldn’t be much of a life if my cats and chickens were not there, be awful dull. right now 2 fuzzy babies are curled up in their basket by the woodstove, its grooming time, guess the rocker won the battle yesterday. another is lounging on top of a shelf in the bathroom, eyeballing the birds and chattering, and the ringleader is in the kitchen eyeballing the jays and keeping an eye peeled for me, knowing that they all did something to my window display of cookies cutters as those are down on the table instead up in the window, okay who is the guilty party??? but life would not be as lively or full of the surprises each day so I cannot imagine my life without pets. now off to go put the cookie cutters back up in the window and shake a finger at the ringleader, we must have some sense of discipline around here….LOL!!!! hugs…… 🙂

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Pat’s cats love “Garfield” – that just cracks me up!

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          you should see them Janet, they will come up on our laps and swat at the funny page until we read Garfield to them, they love that comic. and Susan my cats love the ironing board to, only after I have been ironing and the board is nice and warm, then its their territory for awhile. they also like “Muffins” the cat from the comic Pickles.

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            Pat, I would LOVE to watch your “barnyard crowd” on a live cam. Do you know “HenCam?” – Check it out at You’d love it I think. Hens, a bunny, goats – really fun to watch.

  10. Donna Miller says:

    New Kitty came to live with me last September. My daughter’s 3 dogs found her in the backyard. She was a teeny tiny calico, that is why Leslie called me! One of my grandsons named her Rapunzel (he loves Disney) but she will always be New Kitty, NK, Nikky to me! I hadn’t had a kitten in a long time, oh my…but I do love her.

    • sbranch says:

      Nikky, that’s darling — We end up giving our kitties lots of nicknames too … Jackster, Jackie, Girlski — one of my Man Cat’s was Mr. Momo.

  11. linda g says:

    Fell in love with Jack We have a orange kittie Bochi (so named after Bruce the manager of the SF Giants) Jack and him must be related..very much alike in there love of their human! I am so inspired by you that I entered a photo I took of Bochi taking a bath and drink in my bathroom sink (his morning ritual) in fair this year and actually won 1st place!!! I wish I could send it to you!
    Thanks so much for always bring some joy to my day!!

  12. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    My Grumpy, a black and white border collie, is such a close friend and pal! He is my constant companion when I am home, and if I have been at school, greets me with a very excited voice when I return. My late husband and I bought him as a tiny wee thing at a benefit auction, and he matched the Disneyland shirt Ken was wearing… All black with white! We had dogs all our married life, and Grumpy makes #13. We had a Happy once, as well as a Bogie, and a Brownie, and so, Grumpy just seemed right. Little did we know, because he is one of a very “vocal” breed, people would get the wrong idea about why we gave him his name!
    He really believes he is talking to you, and honestly understands a lot of words in English, without any other clues. He seems to have an understanding of the difference between locations where we are bound and speaks excitedly when he can tell we are on the way to our friends’ house, where there are three dogs and two cats… ( Where Everyone gets along just beautifully!) it is great fun, and we are all such animal people, it’s impossible to think of life without them. I know that at some point, Grumpy will have to move on to doggie heaven, and when he does, a new lovely will move in with me, but they each have their own delightful personalities that will stay in our hearts forever.
    So glad to hear Jack’s story at last, and love the part about his name!


    • sbranch says:

      Some dogs are so amazingly smart. Iris, the dog that visits us, is one of those … understands English perfectly.

  13. Pom Pom says:

    I want a kitty pet very much. My husband still says no, but I am working on it! Jack is adorable and I can’t wait until YOU guys are back home for the holidays. I bet you are VERY ready!

  14. Where can I get the book that features the pages about Jack and Girl Kitty that the dog Bentley is reading? Is that from A Fine Romance? I am awaiting my copy from your second printing via Barnes and Noble. Or is that in another book?
    I love this font that is featured in all your books and that I am printing right here on this comment box. Does it have a name? Would it be on my computer? Or…….is that your personal print style? If so, did you have it specially made for your own use and it is copyrighted and therefore unavailable to others? At any rate, I really like to just look at it and enjoy it while reading your website and many of your books that I have and on your calendar, too, which is the one I buy every year for my kitchen.
    I am so entertained and informed by all your writings every day that you send out something new. I’ve told many friends about you and your website and they are following fans, now, too. Please let me know about that Jack, etc. book and Godspeed on your travels these days and always. Jill A. Kirkpatrick

    • sbranch says:

      That’s my new book A FINE ROMANCE … you can order a signed one in my web store (click HERE), we will get them first and send them out long before B & N sends them. My books are all handwritten, one page at a time, there’s no font. Thank you so much for the compliment, happy to have you here, Jill.

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Jill,
      I have always loved this font too……it is Comic Sans MS in a 13.5 size.
      It also looks good increased or decreased in size. It is a choice in Windows, not sure about Macs.
      Hope this helps,

  15. Carol C says:

    We had Hattie and Ginger for 15 yrs. What a blessing they were (as were the 3 dogs and 2 cats that preceded them. Your wonderful post makes me yearn for a new family. We found that getting two at once is great and I’m ready to go back to the animal shelter! Jim isn’t quite ready but then he’s had to be talked into every pet we’ve had; then he goes completely goofy head-over-heels for them. We even bought the motorhome so they could travel with us in their old age. We have a condo in FL that is two flights up and Jim designed and made a carrier that we could carry them on when they could no longer make it. They were both big dogs so we made quite a scene when we carried them up and down. Some people came out to watch every time our door opened. Some laughed at us but most were sympathetic and wanted to help. When I came home from my cancer surgeries and had to stay in the 1st floor bedroom they wouldn’t leave my side. Losing pets is very hard but the love and joy they bring is unmeasurable! I’m ready to let two more dogs or cats rescue us!!!

  16. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I liked this so much. Jack makes me laugh, just like a little mischevious boy. I am sending this to my cat loving son! His cat is Ninja. Black with yellow eyes. Ninja is nice and very well behaved, but he doesn’t like hugs. He puts up with them, but groans the whole time. “Oh Grandma is hugging me again!”

  17. Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

    Such a sweet tribute to your Jack! He definitely was meant to be a part of your family. So glad he found you and you found him! xo

  18. april says:

    We have a tiny petite little black and white kitty, too! Her name is “Anonymous” but now she’s just our Annie. Solid black, with three white “buttons” down her chest and tummy. She’s the sweetest creature, moves like a shadow, loves to snuggle, and regularly scares me half to death darting from under a table or out of MY CLOSET(why?). She’s a rescue we got as a wee baby kitten from a dear friend. God knew we needed a doll-baby kitty in our lives. I loved reading about Jack, and he IS quite the dapper gentlekitty with the mustache! Love!
    Thanks for sharing. Happy Sunday! Hugs!

  19. Pat says:

    Love that Jack…his facial expressions are too cute! My daughter has a tuxedo who is 15 this year. He still acts like a kitten and loves ladders too. His toy of choice is a water bottle cap,flick it and he becomes a crazy cat chasing it everywhere.

  20. Miss holly says:

    I have been thinking about you all day…..!! Bought your new book and have been saving it for a special time….I’m on a wee holiday and I started to read it and can not stop … is soooooo wonderful!! I have to keep putting it down so it doesn’t go too quickly!!!!! I’ve been to some of these places so I completely understand how you feel….I had this feeling of…I come from here…this is my history…This is the home of my ancestors!!
    I left 9 kitties at home so I am missing my kitties too…I had 4 in bed with me the morning we left… 🙂 !!
    Anyway just want to say thank you for the wonderful read…
    Just a wonderful book!!

    • sbranch says:

      Well you’re bound to have a happy homecoming! So glad you are liking the book ~ yes, I bet that feeling of home will come for many of us . . . we are so excited around here, expecting the next shipment in the next two weeks. The last time they came in a week early, so now we have raised expectations. It’s like the week before Christmas!

  21. Miss holly says:

    Oh and ours are…Callie, Ish…Rusty..Buster..Izzy..Kabuki …Pilgrim…Gus…and Vinnie!!!

  22. phyllis says:

    He is just such a sweetie, I adore his mustash, and I love the fact that he loves his toys and he sure loves his new home, what a little blessing…Phyllis

  23. Sharon Calvert says:

    Purr-eshus post 🙂 Quick question: do you feed your kitties anything special to get that gloriously glossy coat? My two Siamese girls are 14 and 13, and have never had that lustrous sheen.

    Sharon in Alabama

    • sbranch says:

      Not really, nothing special, they get both wet and dry food. I think, like some of my girlfriends, he was born with it!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        Hello Sharon, I think there is a supplement that will help you keep your cat’s fur nice and shiny, its called Linatone and if you look at Petco or Petsmart you might just find it. one other added benefit in addition to the shiny and healthy fur, it helps control hairballs. hope this helps. 🙂

        • Carol Maurer, formally Eureka, Ca.... now Kennewick, WA says:

          I don’t know if this works with cats, but with dogs, feed a bit of cottage cheese to them. It makes for a glossy coat.

  24. Joan says:

    Ooooh! keep him inside forever – don’t take a chance. With his curiousity I don’t think he could be trusted! He is the MOST adorable and entertaining cat. Loved your blog!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you’re saying. If you saw how skittish Girl is when she goes out, you know she’s not going ANYWHERE. Plus I check on her about every ten minutes!

  25. Thank you Susan for sharing your Jack with all of us girlfriends! I ‘m still away from home and missing my golden retrievers friends dreadfully. They are my best friends… I can’t wait to see their smiling faces again. I want to talk to them when I call home, but I’m afraid that they will be looking all over for me, and I don’t want to make them sad. Pretty silly, right?

  26. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Oh my…can he be almost 3? I was new to the blog right after you got Jack. He was an adorable kitten with those large expressive eyes and has grown into a handsome, intelligent cat. I have never really trusted people who do not like animals and personally have never been without them since I was 13 years old. We live with 4 cats: 2 barn cats, 2 house cats, and 2 dogs. We have one more house cat than I planned on, but when BB3 lost her eye, she moved into the house. She has already been through 2 of her nine lives and is not yet a year old. Sometimes at night you just have to slip into bed and hang on to whatever realestate you can….it gets pretty crowded ….but I wouldn’t have it any other way!! They are God’s gift to us; to show us what perfect love looks like.
    Thanks for the look back at Jack the Cat and how he came to live at Branch Hall.
    Chris…..where at our home the cat hair sticks to everything but the cat!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m wrong, he just turned two! He’ll be almost three when and if I let him go outside. LOL, holding onto real estate!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Just wondering if Jack is “jealous,” looks longingly etc when Girl goes outside? I’m thinking all the Girlfriends who are saying ‘never let Jack out’ are probably right. He’s too curious and energetic to be trusted to stay in your yard.

        • sbranch says:

          He doesn’t seem to put 2 and 2 together about Girl going out and him staying in. All seems normal to him and he doesn’t seem to pine for the outdoors, thank goodness.

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Oh, keep him inside, Susan! Not worth the risks–not only of moving wheels but feline leukemia, etc…Do you really think his life is any less because of being inside? 🙂

        • Janet in Rochester says:

          Yes, keep him in – let him be your little Inside Man. He’ll never know what he’s missing…

  27. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh I love this post! Jack is so cute and adorable! I would love to have a little Jack around our house..but our dog Rusty would have nothing to do with that idea! Smile… What a tribute to an amazing kittie! Do you think he can feel all this love? They are super intelligent little animals!


    • sbranch says:

      I do think they feel it. But the best part is how I feel it! 🙂

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Gert,
      I have been thinking about you……how are you feeling? Better, I hope!
      Sending hugs and wishes for a Happy Fall to you…..I bet the trees are beautiful now….and I heard you may get some early snow…yikes!
      Stay warm and cozy!

  28. Heartsdesire says:

    We are a two-cat family, Callie, who is six, and Daisy who is 19. Her hearing is pretty much gone now and she meows very loudly most of the time. She has a thyroid problem so I get up two or three times during the night to feed her, but I don’t mind. She has been our pet for so many years, and brought us so much joy that now, in her older years, I want to make her as comfortable as possible. She’s half the weight (6 pounds) she once was, but to us, she’s still a beauty and we love her so. Our other cat, Callie, is a beauty also with a very sweet disposition. Animals, especially cats, are wonderful companions and I thank God everyday that we have them in our lives.

    • sbranch says:

      I am really strict with my cats when they are young, I never ever give them table scraps or even treats. I don’t get them started. I don’t like kitties to meow begging during dinner! Only every-so-often, maybe a quarter-sized spot of half and half when I put it in my tea, but that’s all ever, I know it’s not good for them. BUT all that changed for my last cats who lived to be 18, 19, 20 — toward the end whenever we had fish, they got fist, they got scallops and lobster and any darn thing they wanted.

  29. Joanne Retzler says:

    Oh, I would so love to have a cat again. I used to have cats when I lived in Massachusetts, but not here in Arizona. It is so tempting to get another kitty now, but my hubby does not want to. I MUST convince him! Your Jack is so adorable, and Girl Kitty, too. I’ve always admired them in pics when I see them. So beautiful, the black and white. Enjoy them. xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      My ex-husband had a kitty living with us for three days before he knew it. I’m not suggesting anything, it’s better when they are at least somewhat on board, but really, I think he’d be surprised at how adorable they can be + there’s all the stuff about the heart attack reduction!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Joanne, maybe your husband would agree to “fostering” pets for your local Humane Society? This worked for a friend of mine. Her husband was OK with fostering because it was temporary – or so he thought. But once the lil critters were there & he realized how much fun they were [and that he LOVED it], that was it. They ended up adopting the first 3 kittens they fostered. They still foster too, because they find it so rewarding. I think a lot of men are the same about pets as they are about children. For some reason, they need a lot of convincing, but end up loving it and wondering why they ever hesitated.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      My Jim was not a cat person…..he was barely an animal person! Most of the animals he encountered are hanging on our walls!! But the love of his life now, is a Golden Retriever and we have 2 house cats that often take lap time with him in the afternoon. He does credit me with showing him what animals offer us. If they are kind and loving, which I always knew Jim was, they just need someone to show them that side of pets. He just never knew! Now he can’t imagine life without them. And many tears have been shed over the ones we have lost, because he now knows how much love they give to us.
      So I am the first to can be trained! No matter how old they are! They just need to know what’s important to you! 🙂

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Chris, your Jim sounds just like my friend’s husband. Plus – no one could EVER resist a Golden! They are just the best – they love people so much. My sister’s Golden plunks himself down on my feet and will not let me move – just because he knows I’ll rub and pet him for hours. We love him!

        • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

          Goldens are definitely the best. Jenny is our first and I will never be without one, again. I never have to worry about our grandchildren, or anything we bring into the house, kittens, whatever. If she knows it belongs to us, she’s good with that!:)

  30. Candice says:

    Reading about Jack made my evening tonight. He is so adorable! I have two girl kitty cats named Lily and Violet. Lily’s favorite game is catching crumpled up store receipts. If I can’t find her I scrunch up a piece of paper and she will come running. And Violet is so smart. She can turn on the light at the top of the stairs by jumping and pushing the switch to the up position. I got suspicious when the light would be on in the morning and then one day I saw her jump about four feet up the side of the wall. Sometimes it takes her two jumps and then she runs off. Silly girl!

  31. Kelly says:

    Oh, I’m so happy for you that you have Jack and he has you. Joy, indeed!
    My last two kitties (saved from the shelter) were brother and sister. We named them Queenie and Twister-from the lovely older married couple in the series Lark Rise to Candleford. You’re very right; young cats do well with other young cats for romping and playing. Those two were always up to some mischief. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Now YOU have the creative Kitty-naming gene … love those names!

      • Susan says:

        Larkrise to Candleford is another wonderful BBC series. It is very sweet and much more lowkey than Downton Abbey. One of the main characters is the actor who plays Bates in DA. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Jack is purr-fect, so cute and you’re right, where would we be without a cat in our lives. They are so funny and such good company. We have two elderly rescue cats that are now over 15, they are wonderful to have around.
    I love your home, it’s soooooo cosy – purr-fect!
    Thank you for such a wonderful feel good blog.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I just slipped over for a visit, and if I knew you were from the UK I had forgotten. Signs of aging!
      I just love the cross stitch you are working on. Your work is beautiful, it makes me want to dig around in my supplies and find a piece of my own to work on. I have to work with a magnifier these days, but I am very tempted to begin stitching again. I am so glad I popped over.

  33. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Great idea to have a permanent blog spot exclusively for JACK! He’s such a charmer and instant tonic for this reader :-).

  34. Judy in Oregon says:

    I love this post about Jack because he is definitely my type of cat even though I have never met a cat I didn’t like. There is just something about a cat that is special. I like dogs but they just don’t get to me like cats do especially the active ones like Jack is. Does he have tufts on the ends of his ears? In one of the pictures he looks like he does which may mean he has some Maine Coon in him. His personality also indicates this as they are a very active cat and create hours of fun for their owners. A friend had a cat with ear tufts that was part Main Coon and Oliver (the cat) would stay at our house once in awhile when his owner was out of town. One of Oliver’s favorite things to do was run down the upstairs hallway, run as fast as he could down the stairs and when he got almost to the bottom take a flying leap onto the nearby arm of the couch and then onto the back and lay there with his two front paws hanging over the edge swinging his head back and forth looking at everyone as if to say “Look What I Can Do.” It was totally hysterical and I loved every minute of having him at my house. You couldn’t keep him out of anything, he was so interested in everything. Oliver was actually the first cat I have ever seen go crazy for catnip. I was trying to put some on one of those cardboard scratching things for him and he was all over me trying to get to it. By the time I was done I was covered in catnip and so was the floor. I always had such fun with him but like Girl Kitty my daughters cats (she and her cats lived with us at the time) did not like him and he wanted to hang out with them so bad. I felt sorry for him because they would always hiss if he got too close. I think Oliver and Jack would have had a great time together if they ever met. Unfortunately Oliver is living in another state so I don’t see him anymore.

  35. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    You have just reminded me of how much I miss an animal in the house. We always had a dog and two cats. My youngest daughter Penny has three cats, two springers and hens. My middle daughter Antonia has a black cat called DLee! Bluey the white cat died two years ago and her children are desperate for a puppy, they have two goldfish and four hens. My son in law’s hen is called Freda, Toni’s is Florence, Imogen’s is Feathers and my Grandson Maxim’s is called Mr Incredible. They explained that wasn’t a girl’s name but he wouldn’t change the name. Fleur had two cats called Posy and Humphrey but sadly posy died about two years ago. Humphrey is human he has an early morning call which sounds just like he is shouting out “hello”. So I really need to sell my cottage as I have no one who could look after a cat when I go off on my travels. I love your two and their individual personalities I bet you are missing them very much.

  36. Karen Saunders says:

    Reading about how things worked out perfectly for both of you and Jack makes me think of how I came to have my rescue dog….Jake. It’s like the ‘Perfect Storm’ when all things come together and you become one with a new animal. I had decided I should have an ‘outside’ dog because we lived at the end of a river and people’s cell phone’s didn’t work and our house was the first they came to….even if it was three in the morning. Also there was a drug bust of growing a certain kind of plant, etc. and we also had cougars and bears. Our little wire-haired terr. Hanna stayed inside and though she barked was not exactly intimidating. I needed a little more protection. Enter Jake….right time, right place. That is what is so amazing about God’s timing. Jake was close to starvation and a lady was asking for food so she could catch him and take him to the pound. He didn’t trust anyone and growled when anyone approached him. He was large, black with a tan mask… but on his last legs. I gave him food and told the lady I was going to keep him. I fed him and he stayed the night. The next day he was still there, but not very friendly. I had to go into town and when I got back he was gone….but came back three days later and stayed for good. He had a peculiar habit of wading in the river, ‘fishing’ and looking down into the water for fish. He loved to swim. If I was in the kitchen he was looking at me through the glass door. If I walked to the living room he would run around to the deck and look through that door. I fixed a bed for him outside our bedroom on the deck and one night when it was raining I looked out to see if he was under the roof on the deck in his bed but he wasn’t there…..he was asleep in the rain beneath my window so he could be near me…… That dog became an indoor dog in about one second and has slept next to me on the floor every day since. I belong to him… There is something about a rescued animal…they are so grateful and become completely devoted to you. But in reality, we’re the ones whose lives are enriched.

  37. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning~
    I feel the same way about my beagle ~Harley~ our 4 legged kid!~ Harley, like our other kids is one of the family in every way~ All of our dearly loved doggies~ kitties~ fish~ and numerous other critters~ who are no longer with us have a special place in our hearts~ and yard~ They were all “special needs” but Harley has the saddest story~
    My daughter was at the shelter oblooking for a new kitty ~ she didnt find one~ but told me they had a beagle puppy there~ I was not looking for a new “brother” for our beagle, Toby but she said come quick~ it ended up that Harley was on “doggie death row” ~only a couple days left~ he was hard to adopt because he was supposed to be food aggressive and wouldn’t let anyone near him or his food dish especially while eating~ came from a puppy mill~ was an extremely gun shy and fearful of any loud noise hunting breed dog~ and on top of that he had been abused ~ so they thought~ by his former family~ how can I say no~ I didn’t ~
    It ended up that he is the most lovable ~sweet~ 12 year old beagle “uncle” to my 6 grandchildren ~ they can use him for a pillow ~ take his toys from his mouth~ and squish him with big hugs!~ It’s sad when animals ~ like shelter ones get labeled~ they just need the right family! ~ I don’t understand why some people are so afraid to adopt from a shelter~
    I have a poem about a shelter dog’s Final Will and Testament I may share~ but its a tear jerker!~ God Bless All The Animals~

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Actually it’s called “A Dog’s Last Will and Testament”

    • sbranch says:

      I always get mine from shelters … it’s just so easy and anything you want is right there. Plus these days, you can make requests. I had asked for them to call me the next time a tuxedo cat came in and it took about a week.

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Please post it “A Dog’s Last Will & Testament,” Lynn. We’ll probably cry, but that’s OK. Because you’ll probably save some lives too.

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          Janet I think you can find that peom at: http://www, its called last will and testament by Eugene O’Neill. very touching and moving poem, better have a supply of hankies or tissues handy when you read it.

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          ~ Here it is~ This could be any animal but it is written from a dogs’s perspective~ be ready to she’d a tear or two~
          This is why all our pets have been either strays or come from a shelter

          A Dog’s Last Will and Testament
          Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, give their home and all they have to those they left behind.
          If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask….
          To a poor and lonely stray I’d give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed; soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I love so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.
          I’d will to the sad, scared shelter dog the place I had in my loving human’s heart, of which there seems no bounds.
          So when I die, please do not say ” I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand.”
          Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life had held no hope, and give my place to him.
          This is the only thing I can give…..the love I left behind.
          Author Unknown

  38. Melissa Andrew says:

    *Jack* would be a wonderful “next” book. Love him.

    • Janet in Rochester says:

      SECOND THAT! Plus OMG – I’m picturing the number of trucks [semis, at least] that would be needed to deliver pre-ordered books to the studio, if you ever did a PETS book, Sue.

  39. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh Susan, this is the loveliest tribute to Jack Kitty! He is indeed one of those very special cats that come into our lives. I too have had several kitties in my 6 + decades that have helped me shepherd along through the trials of living and loving! Each one was different, but each one was special and filled that need to have someone ALWAYS in your corner no matter what was on your plate. There is something so precious about that furry face greeting you when you return home and nestling with you on the couch or on your bed. I have had two Labrador Retrievers who were wonderful and important members of our family as well. But, kitties are different and perhaps it is their independence and smallness that make them ideal as family members. All of my cats have been rescue cats in one way or another. Some came very early in their lives and others were a bit older. In the end, each one came at a perfect time for me. For could possibly resist a darling kitten full of play and adorableness? Not me for sure!! My current kitty, Bump, is named because he always bumps on your leg to talk. He is not a cuddle kitty, but he loves to sit on my lap when I watch TV all cozied up with a blanket. He holds his little head up, eyes slammed shut, and a huge kitty smile of contentment. He is adorable. He is 10 years old this October and still full of play and mischief. We marvel at his agility and communication skills. It has been love since my daughter rescued him from under a barn on a cold December evening as a starving abandoned kitten. Thank-you for your great post about Jack complete with adorable photos and stories. And Jack and Girl beads will be quite awesome in the shop!

  40. Cindy Ward says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Susan, Joe, Jack and Girl Kitty, for sharing so much of your lives with us. I wish everyone in the world could read your blog, and now especially this new Jack episode.

  41. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I love this post about Jack and Girl Kitty. Jack is so adorable and clearly you love him with all your heart. I have two black cats and three dogs. Shelters will tell you that all black cats are harder to place due to superstitions. “Pumpkin Kitty” has orange eyes and “Kitty Girl” has green eyes. It about the only way to tell them apart.
    Our dogs are a German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd mix and a small terrier from the streets of Puerto Rico. It is a full house and with my children grown and almost gone, they keep me company.
    For 12 years I had retired racing greyhounds until my heart dog, Casey, died
    of bone cancer…seems we have acquired a diverse crew now!
    I hope you are enjoying yourselves in CA and reconnecting with friends and family. Fall continues on our east coast and the leaves are just beginning to pass their peak. Temps are in the 60’s and there has been little rain. We are lucky!


    • sbranch says:

      You ended your comment perfectly as it was just what I was thinking when reading about your animals, “she is lucky.”

  42. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Mornin’!! Awww, such a charming blog! Wonderful pictures, been missing Jack & Girl! Good thing you have studio kitties to cuddle! Blessings! Speaking of blessings, Saturday was Mom’s 98th birthday, & we Skyped with her great-granddaughter in India (Mom was amazed!). We have 5 generations in our family! Sunday a baby shower for another great-great grandson! Counting our blessings, including you dear sweet Sue! xoxo

  43. Bonnie says:

    Oh, I just love seeing the kitties on the blog! Such precious creatures. Didn’t even know I was a cat lady until my first love, Jim, brought home Miss Kitty not too long before the end of our 26 yrs together. Miss Kitty disappeared after a short while, but I was hooked. Then Jim gave me Snowball for what was our last Valentine’s Day together in 2005. Came carrying this little bitty ball of white fur with blue eyes down the hallway for my gift. Best gift I have ever received! She & I have been thru a lot together since Jimbo went on to heaven. The I got a Kansas sweetheart, Isabella, to keep my California beauty company. Love my girls!!! Don’t even get me started!!!!!!!
    So we need a kitty book, filled with all our wonderful babies in it. I bet that would sell like hot cakes. Of the five of us sisters, 3 of us are major cat ladies!

  44. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, love your post. I received my kitty as a going away gift from my co- workers when I changed jobs within the same company. She was 9 weeks old and what a surprise. They sent me home in a cab with the cat in a crate, litter tray, litter, food, toys – everything I needed. My husband wasn’t thrilled but about three minutes after meeting her they had a mutual admiration society that lasted for 20 years. We’ve also had rabbits – Sweet Bunny, Thumper and Bunker and chickens – Victoria, Martha and Delia – no easy feat in the city of Toronto, lol, where they weren’t allowed. The fresh eggs were wonderful.

  45. Wendy Louise says:

    Good Morning Wonderful Sue,
    Just got my early morning chores done and sat down for some more fun. And fun I got ! I could never get tired of the antics of Jack, I don’t think I could get my chores done at all. I have hard enough time with my new little puppy. Thank goodness he takes naps. I have always had animals cats, dogs, horses, fish, hamsters. My children grew up loving them and learned how to take good care of them. I think the most wonderful moments are the spiritual ones. When you connect on that level their is nothing more peaceful. We are stewards of all creatures great and small,we learn so much from them, if we take the time to observe and listen.
    What a glorious Autumn day here in New England! I’m gonna take my little guy “Tucker” and go for a walk along the Merrimac River and look to see what nature has to offer today.
    Thank-you darling Sue for all your sharing and I have to say selfishly, I can’t wait until you are on your Island playing with Jack and Girl Kitty. I just have this thing about knowing people are in their cozy places. I know you are having fun where you are but, Home Is Best ! OXOX It is where the heart is ! 🙂

  46. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sweet Sue….Feeling Very Emotional These last few Days….Ahhhhhhh…Jack! All These Photos makes Me Smile 🙂 I Know That You Miss Him with all Your Heart & Soul Sweet Sue…& I Know That Jack & Girl Miss You & Joe….Close Your Eyes & Know The Homecoming will Be Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfection…….Sending Kitty~Pixie~Dust across The Miles to Brighten Your Day! Love Joy & Kitty~Kisses Sweet Sue! (& an Extra Warm Hug from Me to You My Dear) xoxo Poof! ✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*¨☆*✿✫♥*

  47. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    This blog is close to my heart, loving all creatures great and small is my mantra. I have always had a connection to animals and was tagged the “Ellie May” of our neighborhood (from Beverly Hillbillies). We currently have 2 kitties (Mystee Mae (9) and Smokee Joe (8) and a turtle (thank you Angela from your college years) which I treat as kindly as I can until she hisses then I’m out of the room in a streak!!! Both of our kitties came from Angela’s love of animals and now we are the keeper and lover of both of them. I have a wooden plaque on the outside of their room which reads “The Cat lives here with it’s Housekeeping Staff”!!! Sooooo true. My furry grandson Smokee is an 18# Maine Coon who loves everyone and will hug you by turning his head to the side and expects kisses daily. We do not have a dog anymore and I recently decided that having a big boy kitty is so close to having a small dog that I am perfectly content. Animals bring happiness everyday into our lives who else can do this? They are work and its costly to keep them healthy and clean and fed; but, loving pets makes our hearts open up and spills over to every aspect of our lives. When I met my Jim and saw his compassion toward animals that was the seal on our union. My family tells me that they pity the person that I ever see mistreating an animal and it came close shortly after we moved into this neighborhood. I looked out my front door and there was a young girl just beating her dog with a thick strap and I opened the door and stepped out (she noticed), she continued so I went out into the front yard (she stopped and jerked the poor dog up and yelled at him). My heart broke and my next move was to cross the street and kindly ask her if I could be of assistance and encourage her to always treat her dog the way she wanted her parents to treat her. When I told Jim how upset seeing that sweet dog being beat made me he said it didn’t surprise him because a week earlier he had seen her Dad doing the exact same thing!!! So, the child had learned a bad behaviour from her parent and a terrible lesson learned. Do you know that dear dog went off wagging his tail as I watched with tears. I know I can’t save every mistreated creature out there and that breaks my heart; but, being a good steward of all God’s Creatures is a charge that I take seriously and will always do my best. Thank you for this blog and your public announcement to go to your shelters and find a friend who will always love you unconditionally seems like a win/win to me! We had a glorious weekend with family and the ride in a covered wagon to an eleven acre pumpkin patch was an experience, the apple dumpling ala modes were enjoyed by all (I had an apple cider slushie) which was very good. Everyone have a wonderful week. I need to run I have a kitty over my shoulder giving me a look like “Really” are you still on that machine when you have chores to do in MY room?

  48. Musica for you –

    I only know of this cat duet from reading about it in the Betsy-Tacy books which I hope you know!

    • Mo'a says:

      Thank you ‘Girlfriend’ Kristi…I have loved Rossini’s Cat Duet for many years…I used to go around the house singing it for my cat Brie…Thankfully Brie was not a music critic :)This is the best version I have ever heard.

  49. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Jack is a darling, and you could write and paint an adorable children’s book about him!! Our 17-year-old Bailey died a year ago Sept, which broke our hearts. After a month I went to the shelter with a plan to bring home a male kitten, but somehow ended up in the adult cat room, and there was this tiny orphan-looking female kitty, 1-1/2 yrs old, a little bedraggled but with beautiful blue eyes that pleaded with me to rescue her from amid all those big scary cats. So, of course, I had to. I wrote about this when it happened – she hid in our gas fireplace for 3 weeks and we didn’t see her. Every night I put out food and treats and told her how much I was going to love her (she also was perfect about using the litter box). And finally, when I had almost given up hope, one morning she summoned enough courage to show herself. What a glorious morning that was! We were both surprised by joy and have been best friends ever since. She is beautiful now, and pampered, and entirely loving – well, at least to me – she just tolerates everyone else, which I really don’t mind at all.;) Since she had been a stray I was afraid to let her outside, but when summer came she pleaded, and I gave in. We have a small, fenced backyard with a flowering cherry tree just outside the bedroom which is the perfect size for climbing, and she spends a lot of her outdoor time there listening to the birds, or walking the fence (such acrobats!) and peeking into the neighbors’ yards, but she always comes in when I call (good girl!). The last part of your post was just so beautiful and true and brought tears. I guess I would remind anyone adopting a pet from a shelter to be patient. We don’t always know what kind of lives they had before coming to us. The reward is unconditional love.

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      I loved your story! I’m so glad you found each other. Rescues are so grateful!

  50. Linda says:

    Susan… Thank you Thank you for the lovely post….. We lost our Bit ( a Jack Look a Like) in July, he was 19 and such a huge part of our lives… Ive been wondering if it was OK to get a new member of the family, just didn’t seem any other cat should or could take his place.. but you’ve reminded me of the Joy he brought into our home and our lives… I think we are ready to share our love and the Heart of Our Home to another of gods little creatures…..

  51. Claire in Atlanta says:

    Got my charm last week, LOVE it!!
    I hate to say this because we all know how hard you worked on A Fine Romance, but…… You need to write a book about Jack!!
    Please don’t ever let Jack out side, someone would catnap him.
    Have fun in ca, it’s even starting to feel like fall here in Atlanta.

  52. Linda Petersen says:

    What a great, fun post! Jack’s expressions are just too much :0). He looks very busy all the time~~~even when he’s sleeping I’m sure he is dreaming about what to get into next! I have made up my mind that when our Gracie goes to Kitty Heaven~~~a tuxedo kitty will be our new fur friend. We also have a toy party poodle(she’s dark brown & white thus the “party”). She’s a rescue & just thinking about how someone could mistreat & dump a 7lb ball of love makes me crazy~~~GRR. You are so right Susan. God gives us special gifts.
    Hope you are enjoying your California Dreamin’! Thank you for all you share with us~~~The Girlfriends :0). Can’t wait for the kitty charms!!

  53. Deborah Norling says:

    Oh how I needed the Jack pics ! My Tuxedo kitty Alec, (as in Baldwin ) just gets more and more handsome…he never really meows tho..he has kind of a little squeek that I’ve only heard a few times….Is Jack quiet that way too ? It’s my little orange stripey girl Elsa, who waits in the window for me…it’s nice to have a Welcome Home kitty face in the window ..

  54. Jack says:

    The problem was with my Internet Modem ! The thought came to me in the night — ” if you can’t get on the Internet …maybe the problem IS the Internet” , so this morning I just unplugged the Modem for 30 sec. And SHAZAM ! That fixed it – Duh! … Four days to figure that out.
    Very nice post — I used to tell Daisy ….”Gimmy a hug ” and she would put her paws in my lap and her face right up beside mine ….she wasn’t my dog …I was her person !

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      Jack that is the way it is with our cats, they are not our cats we are their people, we feed them, clean out the kitty box, have their toys out for them, pick up their toys when they are done and just love them, I think that’s the way with any pet, you are their person, they own you!!!

  55. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! What a wonderful way to spend a Monday – reading about purrrrfect Jack!!! Thank you so much for sharing. We miss our “Snickers” so much! Retirement is just down the road (9 months) so we will get another kitty soon after that happens. You made me realize just how much I need another, maybe even two!!! Love this blog and love you, Susan! oxoxox

  56. Michele says:

    Susan, thank you for posting this about Jack ~ I was so GLAD to hear his story! Warmed my heart :0)

  57. Janet in Rochester says:

    Sue, I think you’re right on the money with WILLIAM POWELL. When he is calm and just lying around relaxing, Jack is the kitty-embodiment of the dapper and sophisticated Thin Man himself! Now the $64K questions is … WHO IS HE when he’s all round, excited, maniacal EYES?? As he is so often in your pix. This one has stumped me since I found your blog, which was about a week after you brought Jack home [Oct 2011].

  58. Janet in Rochester says:

    Sue, I think you’re right on the money with WILLIAM POWELL. When he is calm and just lying around relaxing, Jack is the kitty-embodiment of the dapper and sophisticated Thin Man himself! Now the $64K questions is … WHO IS HE when he’s all round, excited, maniacal EYES?? As he is so often in your pix. This one has stumped me since I found your blog, which was about a week after you brought Jack home [Oct 2011].

  59. Hi Susan!

    I know the point of the post was Jack, but I have to say that you have one of the loveliest houses I’ve ever seen. You are able to combine so many great things and have created such a warm and welcoming environment. I love the coziness of it all, and the lightness and brightness of that living room is delightful! Thanks so much for letting us in for a visit!


    • sbranch says:

      Oh Jake, how sweet, thank you. I forget that Jack is actually somewhere! I forgot to check if things were picked up around him!

  60. Deb from Dixie says:

    Ahhhhh….Jack warms my heart, so very cute and a blessing for you …..full of fun and mischief and joy. He was a lucky kitten too…to have been choosen to become part of a special family. Susan, Joe, Girl and Jack. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    My Tabby B.K. aka) “The Bean” is my snuggler…..just the sweetest 15 year old kitty with the most beautiful green eyes. My buddy. After all these years, we actually can talk to each other…..I say good morning, she meows right back. And the day begins…..she waits outside the shower, and as soon as I get out….she talks up a storm……probably, saying….hurry up Mom, I want my breakfast….but it feels like she is just waiting to be sure all goes well. LOL. I am grateful for her everyday.

    My Maine Coon, Pookie was the most intuiative cat. Amazingly smart……funny, and just a big ball of love. She looked out for everyone in the family…… and taught us all lessons. At 17 she spent all nine of her lives……over a period of a few years having small mini strokes, she fought back with courage after each spell. She didn’t want to leave us…….the lesson she taught us all , not to give up…..because tomorrow things may be a bit better…..and there is another chance for loving, purring, and being together. She had fortitude and spirit, everyday.
    Learning lessons from a cat, may sound funny to those with out furry friends…..but Miss Pooks, had such a connection to our hearts……we all miss her everyday….but are forever grateful she was part of our family.

  61. Mo'a says:

    Day after day I remind my husband how much I miss our little Brie that died in March. She was to be our last cat…imagine making a decision like that? Crazy and impossible. He is surprised and wonders what brought on this Kittie love all of a sudden…Then I showed him this post and he told me that he understood and what handsome kitties Tuxedos are…reminded him of two other cats in our lives. I saw a soft look of longing on his face…We will see 🙂
    Wonderful, wonderful post on the little fur persons…I can see why you love them so.

  62. Jenni says:

    Now isn’t Jack a little star? Move over movie heart throbs, Jack is far more handsome!
    I can’t imagine life without a cat, apart from college days, I have never been without at least one cat friend.
    Jack looks to have a similar personality to our latest, Blackberry. Blue, her big ‘brother’ is chunkier and loves a cuddle with anybody who will pick him up, but she is a wriggler, full of energy and insatiably curious about the world.
    It goes without saying, both cats came with names already supplied. Who would name two animals Black and Blue – it sounds like the result of a serious fight!

  63. Such a lovely post and so true. Animals keep us sane and I’ve called 911 more than once when an animal has been locked in a car. My animals, horses, sheep, alpacas but especially dogs and cats, kept me alive after Dave died. God saw to it I had a reason to keep on living, to keep receiving His blessings, daily. I want to die the day after I can no longer keep a dog or cat.

  64. Sandy says:

    I have seven cats and they’re all rescues. I also feed 3 outside feral cats although they’re all warming up to me rather quickly. For the life of me I cannot understand how anybody can just throw them away. They are so full of love and adoration and they are the highlight of my day. In my family I’m known as the crazy cat lady but I wear that title with great pride. They are such a joy. One is diabetic and gets 2 insulin shots a day and one has bladder issues but we somehow make it all work. Where there’s a will……. They make me smile every day and to me, that’s priceless. I know you will be glad to get back home to your babies and I’m sure they are anxiously awaiting your arrival. I thoroughly enjoyed the post today and I hope you have a wonderful week.

  65. helen says:

    What a special love letter for adorable Jack :)…..our tuxedo rescue cat is no longer with us but we still talk about her and her sweet disposition. When we were trying to settle on a name for her my husband suggested Amy…..because, he pointed out, she was so amiable lol…..We were in the car with our two youngest children and they both groaned, and rolled their eyes… in “parents can be so lame”…..regardless, I thought that was so sweet of my husband and we pulled rank and Amy she was! The kids love that “corny” dad story. Speaking of your book…..I just ordered Remnants of the Past tickets online yesterday and made our hotel reservations in SLO……going on a road trip from the Bay Area to meet Susan Branch in person!!! How on earth are you going to be able to greet/meet/sign/take pictures with all of us in just two hours??? I just might spend Sunday in line all day until one o’clock :))))…….can’t wait until November 10th!!!!

  66. Sara says:

    Ah, dear Susan, you never fail to charm my socks off, and, really there’s no better way to do it than to tell us how you fell in love with Jack (and continue doing so daily, I’m thinking.). By the way, you are wicked good with that black marker!

    Perusing the photos, I was chuckling at Jack’s expressions and trying to put my finger on just the right adjective to describe his demeanor, finally arriving at “surprised” but not entirely satisfied with it. And then, you referred to his “lunatic eyes” — the perfect description!

    I’m thinking you were doing a little pining as you wrote this. How could you not? I know I would be if I had to leave my P. Diddy and Boo Radley for two months! At least you have the studio kitties for now.

    Does it feel at all like fall on the West Coast? (It never did when we lived on the Gulf Coast.) It’s a cloudless blue sky here in Northern Indiana, with a combine enveloped in a cloud of dust harvesting soybeans across the road. I’m up to my ears in apples from our little orchard, with lots of applesauce to can for the grandsons. I best get back to work!


  67. Elly says:

    Love this post! It made me “go down memory lane” and think of all the kitties who have graced my life! The latest being a tabby my son brought home, when a friend of his couldn’t keep him. I wasn’t sure I wanted another cat in the house, as we still had a 15 year old tabby at the time. He brought the cat home without my knowledge, thinking I would say yes if I saw him. The kitty was only about 6 months old, and when I laid eyes on him, it took all of 15 seconds to say he could stay. He was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. He has “mittens” for his front paws, and like your Jack, LOVES to catch balls and rubber bands. One never knows where one will find these when cleaning the house. Naming this kitty was a family affair. Since my children enjoy reading “English Lit” it had to be a Shakespearian name. We had a black Lab at the time, whose name was “Puck” from “MidSummer’s Night’s Dream”, and the kids went round and round throwing out different names, finally coming up with the name “Mercutio”. Not sure why they finally decided on the name, but it fits and we love it. Mercutio has been with us for 8 years now, and still acts like a kitten. He is very social and loves to cuddle with anyone who wants to.
    Enjoyed your Fall post as well. You must be missing the changing of the season while you’re in California. Will you be returning to the Island soon?
    Hope you are having a Happy Fall!!

  68. Thank you for your kind comment on my book review of A Fine Romance. Since I have an Amazon’s Associates link, I know there were at least 42 books sold on Amazon from that review alone. It was a record in the over seven years I’ve been blogging!

    Of course, it is because of what it is… one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Coming from a true Bibliophile, that is saying a lot. 🙂

    I love seeing pictures of you kitties. We have a plaque in our home that reads “This home is maintained entirely for the convenience and comfort of the cat”. Our Miss Victoria (a Maine Coon) agrees completely.

    • sbranch says:

      WOW Brenda, 42 books, that’s amazing. Thank you again, I feel humbled and REALLY happy to hear that. Hug Miss Victoria for me, remind her how lucky she is!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        Wow is right! 42 books from a single review? Brenda, you possess stellar powers of persuasion!! We need you in Congress – we need a lot more sensible women in Congress!! :>)

  69. Carolyn Chism says:

    Love the Life of Jack! I sent today’s blog to my grandkitty Ralston. I wish I could be with him to read him Jack’s story while looking at all of the pictures. But I know that Ralston is sending his buddy Jack many purr’s and kitty cuddles.

  70. Bonnie L says:

    Love this post, but can only stay a minute….have to get dinner on the table! When I meet you, one of these fine days, I want to tell you so much! However, I will stick to the program here and tell you that at one time my family had a brother and sister ‘team’ of cats and we called them Goldilocks and Baby Bear. Goldilocks was a calico cat and it fit her personality so well! Her brother, Baby Bear, was a black and white and pretty much acted like a dog….coming when you called, etc. One day on my way to work I passed a black and white cat on the highway….I immediately turned around and went back to the acreage and called for Baby Bear to make sure that it wasn’t him! (Dead) It was not Baby Bear! I was soooo relieved! When I did get to work my boss couldn’t be upset when he found out why I was late!!! He was amused, though, I could see it in his eyes! XOXO!

  71. joann says:

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful story, and as I read it and looked at the pictures, most of them I’ve already seen and I said to myself, “Yes, we’re like family….looking at old pictures together.”

    I wish I could have a kitty, so Cadie has a kitty, almost LIKE Jack. Her name is Millie. We also had another black and white cat named Sebastion, but he went to kitty Heaven quite awhile ago. Cadie also has Monday the cat, so when I need a kitty fix, I have to go over to their house for one and they snuggle and do kitty things and then I go home without a kitty. You see, Rod is allergic to kitties. It’s sad.
    But someday, we’ll get another dog. For now, I feed bunnies in the yard. They LOVE apples. I feed the birds, and I give money to the local shelter.

    I have some exciting news to share, too, but I have to wait just a little bit longer and then I’ll share it.

    Lovely story Susan………….just lovely!!

    When are you going back to MV?

    Joann xoxo

  72. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Love this post! Many animals have shared our home and lives over the years, each one very dear to us. One kitty stands out . . . our Beezie, a large solid black boy kitty with big golden eyes. He looked quite intimidating but loved being held like a baby or being sprawled on his back across our lap. Such personality these sweet animals have! So glad that Jack found a home with you. 🙂

  73. Jane says:

    I just loved this post, Susan. Jack cannot take a bad picture, he is just so animated. The ladder pictures have me rolling on the floor. I had a black and white kitty when I was about twelve and that’s when we found out that practically the whole family was allergic. It broke my heart to give her away. Since then I’ve been a dog person but I share that commitment all we animal lovers have, that we will love and protect and baby and nurture our little friends for their short little lives (don’t you wish they could live as long as elephants?!). I know you must be missing your kitties, I hope writing this post cheered you up! It sure did make me laugh!

    Jane From Chicago

  74. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…I have followed Jack since Day 1 and have enjoyed all of his antics along the way…animal lovers are just the best people…loving, compassionate, loyal…I don’t believe that I have a friend that isn’t one..come to think of it.:-) That ladder thing still amazes me…this is one talented kitty!!! Won’t be long and you’ll have both furry little critters cuddled up in your arms…thanks for the wonderful post. By the way..have had oodles of compliments on my SB charm.looks absolutely great on my Pandora bracelet and I LOVE it!!!!!! many thanks susan……xo love, cindy

  75. charlotte says:

    Lovely post. I loved reading about Jack. We had a tuxedo cat named Tucker. He was a great cat and a great hunter. Seeing Jack reminded me of Tucker. He lived to be about 14 or 15 years old. Tuxedos are all so beautiful and their faces are each unique. Thanks for this great story. I had lots of laughs reading about Jack’s antics.

  76. Vicki W. says:

    This was a beautiful post about your kitty. I have a 16 year old long haired, gray kitty that is my baby. We got him from a doctor I worked for that couldn`t keep him anymore and we have had him for 13 years. He is like another child to us so I can undrstand how you feel about your kitties.
    I read that keeping cats indoors all the time gives them a longer life because they stay much safer than going outside, so we have never let Maxie out. And the word traffic scares me so! People don`t thing anything about hitting an animal when they are driving, it`s so cruel and heartbreaking.
    I know Jack and Girl Kitty will continue to bring you lots of joy and I hope to see more posts about them!
    Thank you!

  77. Linda S says:

    You sure have the most wonderful kitties! Like your comparison to one of my favorite actors William Powell. Jack sure looks like him! Love following your blog. Keep up the “great” work.

  78. patti says:

    What a wonderful story !!! I love, love, love animals. I have 2 dogs, Miss Elsa and Bella. We also have a tuxedo cat, Mr. Jinx who lives in the basement. You already know my story of how we got Mr. Jinx. How someone left him on our doorstep in the dead of winter. We thought she was a Miss Kitty until we took him to the vet and found out he was a Mr. Cat/Mr. Jinx. Our animals bring so much love to us all, I really don’t know what I would do w/o them all. I will always have 2 dogs and when Mr. Jinx is no longer w/us I will go adopt 2 cats. Shhh, don’t tell the husband he doesn’t know that yet, but I figure after 34 + years of marriage it’ll be fine. My Miss Elsa is so cute. When the guy was installing our curtains he asked me how much would I sell her for. I told him that Miss Elsa was my husband’s dog and he’d have a better chance taking me home. We have learned much from our animals and we have a home that has a lot of compassion that I think we learned from our animals. Love your stories Susan, safe travels. <3

  79. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for all the smiles tonight!! I adore Jack and Girl Kitty too! They are just precious, which inknow you already know. He has that face, oh, that face that is as cute as cute can be then you add in that rambunctious personality and it’s sheer kitty perfection.

    Right now we have three rescued Rottweilers, two girls and a boy. The girls are 7 1/2, 11 months and our boy is almost 4 1/2! They light up our lives beyond compare!! They are all lap dogs and big marshmallows. Black and tan goes with everything!!! 🙂

    We’ve lost our two first boys and I miss them every day. They really do leave paw prints on our hearts forever…

    And, we have adopted three Pekin ducks! They’re in a newly-built pen, I’ve named “Duckingham Palace!!!”. I’m going to paint and letter a sign and make flags to put out when they’re in residence! They are the sweetest babies!

    Hope your day is purrfectly wonderful!
    Much love and pawsitively squishy hugs!

  80. Pamela Riordan says:

    I am crazy about you, Susan and your wonderful husband and Girl Kitty and particularly Jack (what a great blog) …but there’s one guy that brings out the biggest chuckle in my heart …. Petey!
    Whenever I saw the picture of Jack and Petey, with your writing of, “Jack has had to accept this as his brother, the ever-vigilent, wide awake, but not that much fun, Petey.” I just roared…. ever-vigilant, wide awake but not that much fun … you are a riot!!! I am sitting here at my desk with a huge smile on my face!
    Thanks, too, for teaching the dog-lovers of the value of a kitty … I’m almost won over! xoxoxo to you in CA. I’m hoping to see you in San Luis Obispo in November! xoxo

  81. Lisa Nelson-Jones east Tn says:

    Oh!! Little Jack-queline Poirot and Girl! They make smiles mandatory! Not long after you got Jack I ran across a little bunch of abandoned wild kitties- and immediately scooped them up! I got them wonderful homes- all except the black and white beauty- which I kept for my own petty- pet. That is until we moved to a less pet- friendly rental which I couldn’t bring my Bella. I had to very reluctantly give her to a friend. Much to my heartbreak, Bella was eaten by wolves (our land is very country here- much like the English countryside). I am hoping instead she was taken in by fellow black and white kitty lovers and is living a wonderful, pampered life. She was always so wild and never settled down much, so I still get so upset. But I have Jack-queline and girl still to keep me smiling!! By the way, I love your arts-and-crafts pitcher in your beautiful living room!!

  82. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    First, my daughter Hannah and I could not quit watching Simons cat videos…they were so funny. That cat is just like our kitty ChewBone ( Hannah named her when she was 3 years old, Hannah is 19 now). She is the queen and none of our other kitties are permitted to eat from her bowl, she even shoos her sister “Tiger Lilly” away and eats from her bowl too! Our newest pet (our rescue dog named Bear) is scared to death of ChewBone. It is so funny 🙂
    Then someone dumped two more kitties off at our house…Mazy and Callie. So 4 cats, 1 dog, and 12 chickens make up our little “farm”. All creatures great and small, we love them all!

  83. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Susan … thank you for sharing Jack and Girl Kitty with us. Your blog always makes me smile 🙂

  84. Pat Coomes says:

    Love the story of Jack! My mother has a tuxedo cat Cleo. I have six cats. They are Kali(the queen bee), Gracie Marie, and brothers and sisters Bob, Anderson Cooper(pure white), Lucy and Champagne. Bob is our character, my husband says Bob thinks he is a dog, he knows his name. When I vacuum he loves to be vacuumed. And we have a beagle named Ginger. We think she is around 3, she was adopted from a shelter. When I adopted her we had just lost our beagle Twinkle of 13 years to cancer and I had just found out I had breast cancer. Your supposed walk after cancer and some days I know I would put it off, but I know Ginger wants to go for a walk so she the reason I get out some days. Love your blog and look forward to your posts. Have a wonderful Fall in California! It’s cold and rainy here in Minnesota, but the trees are beautiful right now.

  85. Mary A. Brown says:

    I love your kitty stories. Currently, I have four kitties. They are all victims of the recession. People lost their homes and just left them. I guess I put out the welcome mat and they found their way here. Anyway, they are safe, warm, and loved. They sleep with me! I am very excited because I will be adding a Siamese kitten to the mix in December. I lost my beloved, Tiffany, to a birth defect and it has been very lonely (even with four) without that little masked face to order me around. They have me well trained and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  86. Mary says:

    I have had 2 very special kitties in my life,Muffin,who I adopted when she was but 8 weeks old,we had 21 years together.After shewent to kittie heaven,I was alone for a year.
    Then Bitz came into my life. I adopted him from the daughter of a co-worker who could not take him to her new home.He wasn’t quite a year old at the time. that was 5 years ago,and so many of the things you said about Jack I feel about Bitz.
    He is a lover and a snuggler,I tell him he is “snuggable” my own combination of snuggly and lovable.
    He has a favorite toy,that came with him -an orange stuffed Ty cat,in a witches hat. I call it Boo Boo kitty(remember Shirley’s booboo kitty from Laverne and Shirley?).He performs all kinds of acrobatics with Boo Boo,I throw it,he catches it mid air,then flops on the floor and kicks it with his back legs. He carries it from room to room too.
    Bitz is a tuxedo cat too.I had never heard the term until he and I adopted each other.He is also very photogenic. In fact, a photo I snapped of him won me a first place ribbon at our County Fair.
    I always love hearing about your kitties. Oh, and Girl looks a lot like my Muffin did.
    Your post today just made me smile smile smile,just like my Bitz does.

  87. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Sue, I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your post, too. Your Jack is such a darling character! You’re so lucky to have both Kitty Girl and Jack. We have 2 cats also, Seymour is a long haired tuxedo, and Fiona is a long haired tabby. But in our house, Fiona is the mischief-maker-clown, and Seymour just sits and watches all of her antics. He’s such a gentleman, too. He always lets her eat first, and then when she is done, it’s his turn. Both of them are rescue cats, and I am so happy every day that we have them in our lives. I could not live without animals in my life! And although my husband isn’t as openly affectionate with our cats, he’s in love, too, and he always tells me that it makes him happy that they make me so happy! He also says that about my bird feeders outside our breakfast area! Enjoy your time with Sam and Sasha and you’ll be back with Jack and Kitty Girl before you know it!

  88. Linda says:

    The best thing about pets is that they love you unconditionally. Both my dogs now I rescued. Bear was thrown in a snowbank aged 6 weeks & left to die and I have had him for 17 years now….he is showing his age sorry to say.He has a vocabulary of over 100 words and I use to read to him…….he loved it. He is part American Eskimo and part Samoyed and a very big dog. My second dog Tuffy is a little terrier auburn mix and he was abused so badly at about 6 months he ran away & roamed the acreage surrounding ours (about 30+acres) He stayed out in the snow & wind etc and no one could catch him but I left food out for him daily & water……after a year we caught him sleeping in the pasture almost dead (someone had put an industrial strength rubber band around his neck & he had a hole the size of a quarter there so couldn’t bark. )He stayed at our Vet’s for 3 months to heal & get socialized (sort of!) and had a 3 doctor surgery which was filmed and now shown at Vet events) and now he is six and loves only me . My old dog does not like him and won’t allow him to eat or drink so I have to hand feed him but it all comes with the territory. I think animal rescue is so important and donate to our local shelter as much as I can. The love these two have given to me is immeasurable and they ask for nothing in return except some attention. Anyone who is cruel to an animal should be punished . Dog is God spelled backwards and I know you have cats but they are godlike as well. Best post ever. I was just thinking the other day how you could bear to be away from them so long but I know they have good care. Safe journey for the rest of trip. Linda from Idaho where we had a 50 degree drop in temperature in one day a couple weeks ago…now leveling off to more Fall like temps!!!

  89. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I love everything about cats! I have had one since I was eight years old (not the same one of course!) Smokey taught me all about the unique and great things a cat does, he was my very first pet. I have had girl cats since, first Tasha, who lived to be eighteen and a half, then Sabrina who was born with HCM and lived to only three and a half, but is forever in my heart, and now Samantha, my very pretty, headstrong Ragdoll who loves shoes! She has a favorite pair of sandals that she will put her paws into as if she is wearing them. I am the cat person, my husband is the dog person. He had an Akita when I met him and for a person that had never had a dog, that was a big deal. But I quickly fell in love with him, the dog and my husband! When the dog passed away we got another Akita a month later (crazy yes!) Kazuhiro was not calm and quiet like Ben, but more like the cowardly lion with a loud roar. Living with a dog who is 120lbs is quite a learning process, especially when I weigh less than that. He passed away last year, and I never thought I would miss having a dog so much, but I do.
    Animals are a little bit of heaven on earth. Hopefully they will all be there waiting for us in heaven.

  90. Lindy says:

    The best way to start my day…. a cuppa, Bella (1 year old Great Dane pup) on her bed and Freeda (perfectly black cat named after one of my Grandma’s) snuggled in my husbands shirt he tossed on the bed, the house is still quiet and dark AND a note from you in my inbox. Wonderful meeting you and Joe in Grand Rapids. Thank you for sharing your gentle goodness and fun spirit. Looking forward to Yankee magazine at the end of the month!!!!!
    Lindy, Holland, Michigan

  91. Mary in Phoenix says:

    “Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~Anatole France

  92. Jackie P says:

    Oh, this blog was a hit this morning! Bentley just FLIPPED seeing picture after picture of his idol ❤ Jack! (I had to close my laptop twice just to protect it from an over enthusiastic spaniel!) His brother Winston has not yet figured out what all the commotion is about! Our animals bring such joy to our hearts. Thanks for bringing Jack and Girl Kitty into our homes, too.

  93. Jack says:

    Jeanie’s roses are still fresh , bouffant and beautiful…..every rose is erect and perfect, still
    cupped and tight — not a single flower has lowered it’s head …..Iv’ e never known roses
    to hold up like these .
    Same with her Carnations , of course ,, but they are known to last a couple weeks .

  94. Sue S. says:

    What a wonderful read!!!, our Jack and yes he is “ours”, since you so nicely share him with us……..!
    Last year we had a Momma cat adopt us, she was the neighbors cat, but they did not care for her, litter upon litter of kittens, never being strong enough to raise any of them, so I carried her for the “fix”, one week to the day she got an awful cold and would have died had I not have taken her to the vet, well $400 later and lots of purrs and love and she is well and happy, sleeping in her KittyKube on cool Fall nights. Oh her name is Hennie.

    Thanks for the stories, keep them coming.

  95. Vickie in Cleveland says:

    Oh, what a great post! I just love your Jack. Those wild eyes get me every time! We have a tuxedo cat, too. His name is Spike. My DH saw him at the animal shelter, and when he read that he had been brought to the shelter on Christmas Eve, that did it for him! He just HAD to bring him home. He is such a cuddler, and has the loudest purr! We’ve had him for about 4 1/2 years now, but it seems longer. He now shares us with three other cats, and Sasha the dog, but that’s another story!

  96. Julie Marie says:

    Hi Susan… just wanted to let you know, Girl Kitty and I were chatting (she emailed me, says that way she gets to play with a “mouse”)… and she wants a page of her own too!… she says, afterall… we are called the “girlfriends” you know!… also, I would love to hear her story… and how she came to live with you and Joe… kitty kisses to everyone, xoxo Julie Marie

  97. Jackie Roisler says:

    Wow & awesome barely describe how this post has touched my heart, damp eyes and brain 😀 Lovely tribute to Jack! And to everyone who has been blessed with love shining through the eyes of their fur-baby. Thank you Susan

  98. Marlene Barker says:

    Your kitties are so cute. I have had many sweet cats, and reading about yours makes me want another. How do you train them to use the scratching post? They have always enjoyed clawing the furniture instead!

    • sbranch says:

      This time, for the first time in our lives, we had the scratching post up the day after Jack came home. We played on it, he saw that thing as his, and maybe it’s just luck, but he has left the furniture alone!

  99. amy says:

    Susan~what a beautiful piece of writing. I am going to reread it….for I feel the very same way about the earth and it’s creatures….great and small. It is a precious gift. As for a kitty….I have gotten my first indoor. She will have been here a week this past Sunday. She is of a marmalade and white coloring…..and she seems to have about the same pattern of marmalade across the bridge of her nose as does your Jack! Did not realize this until this morning. I have christened her Alice…..and she is darling. However…..she is not being faithful to her litter box! I do not understand this as I thought this was a given! Any ideas? She wants to go behind our woodstove…..Which for the time being is where her litter box resides….but it cannot remain there…once we start the stove up for the winter!!! HELP!

    • Julia says:

      Move the litter box out gradually, a foot at a time. Maybe? Then put
      something like a concrete statue behind the stove until things work out.
      Don’t know how good my advice is because my “girls” outsmart me all
      of the time.

      • amy says:

        Thank you~Ms. Julia~for your advice! Thankfully she has embraced it fully and I have gradually moved it to a more secluded and less trafficked area…lol!

  100. “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction” – Mark Twain.
    I love your Jack and Girl Kitty- they are so lovely. Thanks for sharing this story!
    When our tuxedo cat, Kipling, passed away last year we grieved so much, but knew in time we would get another cat to give our love to. In January we went to the shelter in search of one older cat and walked away with a 1-1/2 year old tuxedo with a mustache, who we named Monsieur Poirot, and a 3yr old Blue & Ginger Tortie, who we named Miss Marple. They have turned our house upside down with their antics but we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Kittie petty-pets make life worth living! We all send our love to you and Joe and Jack and Girl. xox

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