Kitty Love

Here we go, it’s time for me to give you 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 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

Jack’s Story: 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 with a wee bit of trepidation because we did have another older kitty and we didn’t want to upset the apple cart.  On the drive to the shelter in 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, I’ve had two generations of Man Kitties and Girl Kitties).  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.  But we still weren’t one hundred percent sold on getting a kitty, at least we needed to meet this one before we’d decide for sure.

When we arrived and this new kitten with the funny face was put into my hands, 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?  Well, that was pretty much it.  Obviously this was meant to be.  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 and below) with Joe on his first day home, ten weeks old with a perfect little mustache 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.  With cats, 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.  He walks sideways, he jumps out at me on his back too legs, he makes me laugh all the time. And the more you hug and kiss them, the better little pets they become, the more precious they are to you.

 The cuddling never ends . . . they don’t have hands, they can’t put water in a bowl or feed themselves, they need you for that.

After a while as Jack began to grow into his face, we noticed that our kitty has 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!

 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 walking 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 kittens — 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 just turned two . . . 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 about him!

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

He’s recently been immortalized in felted wool by our friend Suzanne at Strawberry Patches Quilt Store . . .

 and yet, despite all that,

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

Another reason to have a kitty (or a dog, bunny, bird, hamster, parrot, or 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 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.  It’s as clear as the mustache on Jack’s face. When I play with my cats, I always find myself saying, “Thank you, God!”  I’m so in love.  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!

483 Responses to Kitty Love

  1. Jody says:

    The kitten pictures are precious. I just returned from visiting my sister and her two new kittens. I miss them already and may have to visit the local shelter myself.
    I am inspired by your organization with passwords as I am tired of the little stickies and notes I have on my desk!
    This is my first time enjoying your blog but look forward to visiting again soon.
    Writing from chilly Vermont! Minus 12 this am!

  2. Sharon brown says:

    Don’t know if I am in the right place for the teapot give away but would love to be included. My mother, who turns 86 in March, is of English descent. Her and I had the amazing privilege of going to England a few years ago to make a life long memory. When my good friend Greta introduced me to you Blog I started to cry. It brings to mind that trip and my loving mother who I don’t get to see very often. I plan to give her your book , A Fine Romance, for her birthday. God bless you for helping keep my love alive for mother and England!

  3. Janet Yavarow says:

    I love all of your stuff. I have read all of your books. I have 2 cats, one looks like Jack:) Love getting your emails all the time. I just sit there and smile while I am reading them:)

  4. Maggie Reilly says:

    Love your kitties! I love the pictures of them on the counters (we have a hard keeping our “twins” off). I hope to win the teapot for my grandmother-she loves hearts. It will match with her “Johnson Bros. Hearts and Flowers” pattern.

  5. Marliese Denton says:

    Your story of Jack, Kitty Love, should be required reading for all who are adopting a kitty (hopefully a rescue from a shelter) or a foundling with no ID. It makes us all hug our pets closer to see and read how you treasure yours!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and emotions about all the enjoyment around us, which we perhaps often take for granted.

  6. Lynn Cunningham says:

    I forgot to thank you ~ so THANK YOU! I adore my cat, Amber ~ but in spite of my best efforts (and numerous scratching posts and other scratching things), she loved to lay down and scratch the bottom edge and underneath of our love seat and couch. No matter how many times we tried to keep her from doing it ~ she did it, as only a cat can. Then I read your Jack post, and realized I had a large “log” (complete with top hat), that I was going to paint as a ghost for Halloween. My husband cut it down to about 3 feet, covered it with carpet and attached it to a strong base, just as Joe did for Jack. Amber didn’t seem interested until I found a bottle of liquid oil of catnip at our local pet store. A few sprays, and Amber fell in love with the new scratching post. Thank you so much!!!!!! She hasn’t scratched the furniture in a couple of months. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your letting us know about Jack’s scratching post. I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had read about your idea several years ago ~ but I’m happy to know about it now!

    • sbranch says:

      I like hearing about the liquid catnip oil and that it works for cats already a set in their ways. You CAN teach an “old” kitty new tricks! Thank you for that!

      • Lynn Cunningham says:

        You’re so welcome! The catnip spray is called “Frisky Spritz Catnip Spray”, and it’s by Cosmic Catnip (in case anyone has trouble finding it in local stores). I still spray the scratching post every couple of days, making a game of it for Amber. Whew! I think I love that scratching post as much as she does! 🙂

        (And thank you again for those breathtaking pictures of English wildflowers. They seem to carpet the whole countryside!). I would love to teleport myself over there when Spring is in full swing!

  7. Lisa Hill says:

    Don’t you just love kitty personalities? Very different, yet quite similar if you try to compare them. We have Norman and Faye. We rescued them and, they rescued us. Thank you for your wonderful “Kitty Love.” Thank you, too, for your lovely artwork and the kindness behind it. Every year a friend of mine and I give each other your hanging calender. Good friends, good reads and beautiful art. 🙂

  8. Kathy says:

    I have been owned by cats for 24 glorious years, and my current FOUR keep me entertained daily! I was a confirmed two kitty person until I was in a situation where I could not resist a third who was in dire circumstances and needed a home. Three later became four. Holding steady at four though! I am one husband away from being a cat crazy cat lady – he keeps me in check.

    I love every word, drawing, border, heart and curlicue on your blog!

    Hugs from snowy Ohio . . . .

  9. Silvia Shanahan, says:

    Black and white cats are my favorite….they usually have the most laid back personalities,
    I’m always sad that they are the ones least in demand at local shelters…there are usually more of them than any others. I have mentioned to our shelter that they need to promote them more for their wonderful personalities.
    And thanks for that great tip about the catnip spray….it will pass it on.

    You might enjoy this unique 2 minute video of the cats of Aoshima Island in Japan….just saw it on the news a few days ago.
    6 cats to every resident….it is quite a sight.

  10. Margot at the Beach says:

    I have very sad news. I don’t know how to make it better. My son who loves kitties just came back from Kuwait, and the female soldier who was watching his kitty lost it through her doggy door. My son first told me on Friday. (It happened in January.) He just kept crying and crying. He is 30 years old. It broke my heart. I told him we lost kitties when he was a little boy. “This is different.”, he said. He said that Ninja was his best friend and he had him for 3 years. He doesn’t want another one right now. He said the professors from his church, that are renting to him, have 6 kitties. Kitties have always followed John home. When cleaning and packing I found all his kitty stories and drawings from grade school. The teacher wanted him to write about something else, to read about something else; but John likes kitties…

  11. Karen Nesbitt says:

    Susan, I adore all of your beautiful pictures, your positive writing, and your gorgeous art. You are such an inspiration to all of us readers, and I, for one, anticipate each of your blogs. All the best to you and yours!

  12. Margaret says:

    Love this Tale of Two Kitties (well, of one, really, until we meet up briefly with your Girl Kitty)! Jack is so similar to my Little Orange Girl (aka Peekaboo; she, too, goes crazy over fuzzy balls and rubber bands and is a snuggler extraordinaire). Thank you for sharing his story. I thank God for my own furball every day.

    • kathleen goblirsch says:

      I am really talking about poor housekeeping…..but I found once after my new cat Hazel had joined our family that by moving all items from the area the cat box resided I would find my new cats secret. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but close to 40 elastic bands hidden behind the cat box area. Who knew?
      I love hearing others cats who love them. Some i told the story to though she may choke from eating them. Never! She flips them and tosses them about. Love it!

      • sbranch says:

        I’m waiting to find the stash place for Jack’s hundreds of missing ponytail bands. He has to put them somewhere, but where????

  13. Sherry Winchester says:

    Love reading about Jack and Girl Kitty!…We have a houseful of our own, and are now fostering 7 others…I’m finding I’m not a “foster” Mom at all…I’m a MOM…and I doubt those kitties will go anywhere else but here…There’s always room, right?….Love those kitties!…^..^

  14. Betty Prather says:

    Love reading about your kitties, especially Jack. One of the funniest cats we ever had was a tuxedo kitty. Her name was Mittens. She was constantly going out in the field and bringing in “presents” and laying them on our porch. Some were dead and some were still alive. She would play with them until they died. We have a Sealpoint Himalayan now named Lacy that is the light of our lives. Life would be so boring without her.

  15. Carol B. Yannone says:

    Hi Susan, I just got back from my 55th high school reunion in Gloucester MA, the other Cape). Your Willard arrived by email the day I was leaving and I had no time to read it, but saved it for today. So glad to know you have finished your book and will be looking for it soon. As the previous owner of a tuxedo cat who used to help me (?) get the FOGT newsletters out (and was pictured in one of the issues), I truly enjoy your stories of Girl Kitty and Jack. Sadly I lost Oreo to cancer several years ago, but his memory lives on and we still go to the shelters after losing a pet. I am currently owned by Sheena, a beautifully marked calico feral cat, who was a shelter cat that had been found in the woods with her kitten. She was totally afraid of humans; her kitten got adopted first and she resided at the shelter for 8 months before I found her there. It was 5 years ago that I brought her home to live with Oreo. She totally bonded to him and would sleep next to him as he was next to me on the sofa. If I made a slight move she was gone in a flash, but she would watch in the window with him for me to come home from work. When Oreo died 2 years later, she still had not allowed us to touch her and I thought I would lose her to. We were both grieving our loss and I wanted to be able to hold her to comfort her and be comforted by her. Now 3 years after Oreo’s loss, she is allowing me to rub her tummy and brush her and her purr box is loud and clear! I know that as long as I allow her to make the advances, she will eventually join me on that sofa and it will be a day of great rejoicing. (We did have another older cat after Oreo who needed a home, but they did not get along. We lost him a year ago to a different form of cancer.) We would like to get another cat as a companion for Sheena, but are concerned that she might stop trying to get closer to us, so we play this waiting game—knowing that it can take 5 years or longer for a feral cat to adapt to a loving home. Since we are at the 5 year mark,we have great hope that it will happen and then we will get a companion for her making sure that they will tolerate each other. Thanks for loving those fur kitties!

  16. Angie says:

    Just now reading your Kitty blog. So enjoyable and awesome pics as well. Big hugs for those gorgeous family members.

  17. becky burtis says:

    I’ve rescued animals my whole life but have ended up living with canine kids. until now. I have Babe my 16 year old purebred mutt, and 2 fabulous orange kitties who keep me laughing, loving again and living…

  18. becky burtis says:

    I’ve rescued animals all my life but have ended up living with canine kids. Until now. I have Babe, my 16 year old purebred mutt, and 2 fabulous orange kitties who keep me laughing, living and loving again…

  19. Candy says:

    Susan, I’ve loved cats all my life. Yours are adorable. I had asked previously but I don’t think I received an answer. I’d like permission to paint Jack for some cards. He looks like a handful and I sure love his mustache. Unfortunately, I lost one of my kitties in March. My calico three years ago. I have a black male left. He was abandoned and abused so he is very timid. But he loves to get up next to my ear, purr and knead in my hair.
    I hope to have your permission to paint your special kitty. Thank you in advance.

    • sbranch says:

      Because I may do a little book about Jack myself, it’s okay if you would like to paint him, but just not on something that’s for sale. Like Betty Grable’s legs, I think I’ll get his mustache insured for a million dollars (not really, but he’d be worth it!!!). I’m so sorry about the loss of your kitty. It’s a terrible thing. XOXO

  20. Emily-Jane fuller says:

    I live in Suffolk England. I have five cats. I wouldn’t be without them. My mum got me into your books when she brought me a fine romance. I finished Martha’s Vineyard earlier sitting in my pjs 🤗😊❤️ With a cat on my lap. One by my side and poomba my largest lump of fluff watching me. Happy days 😊❤️ Xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      Kitty heaven sounds wonderful to me. They are wonderful. I’m far away from mine, but I called home earlier today to speak to Jack, cat supreme, and he sounded wonderful!

  21. Gayle Hall says:

    Oh Dear Susan, I loved every word, every picture of Jack, and every drawing you so meticulously drew. God has blessed you so, and you bless me just being part of my life. All these years have been so wonderful, and I look forward to many more. Thanking you for SHARING once again. You make my heart sing with Joy!!! 💗 With sincere love and gratitude, Gayle Hall

  22. Marge Pappianne says:

    i’ve enjoyed your mini-calendars for the past 3 years. First time reading your lovely Jack story. We have two black cats…they tolerate each other one is 14+ and the other 10. The brother of the 14 year old had to be helped over the Rainbow Bridge 2 years ago this month…lots of medical concerns – he was a tripod for 3 years [bone cancer] and managed beautifully. Just a thought–with such a delightful home to explore & windows to look out of & ladders to climb!! don’t let Jack outside. so much can happen. All the best and thanks for your lovely site

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t let him out. I love him too much! He doesn’t even try to go, so I feel lucky. I think he’s happy inside. I’m sorry about the loss of your brave kitty. xoxo

  23. HveHope says:

    Here’s to the LOVE that the sweet (domesticated) animals give to us (and hopefully we to them!). After our two dwarf bunnies died (age), we were sad not to have furry cuddles to cuddle and our neighbor friends felt for us. SO, the 2 older girls volunteered their bunny (a huge one) as a weekly visitor to our home. Come snow, cold or sun (so far this year) they walk the few blocks to our house to ‘lend’ to us their bunny for a few hours each week. What a sacrificial gift! Incredibly thoughtful and KIND!! A TRUE neighbor. You can imagine how grateful we are!! The sweet ‘fluffer’ makes my day every time he visits. 😉

  24. Hi Susan…I just love that Jack! I had to let my mother and sister read about him too…we’re all in love. There are no accidents…the angels certainly led you and Joe to the purrr-fect kitty (in spite of what your dear Girl Kitty might think). My sister has a senior female named “Silver”. She barely tolerates the two male kittens that have invaded the household. I think they’ll grow on her eventually. If you would like to see my collection of Ocean Grove Cats, please check out my website: Thanks for your wonderful blog it certainly brightens my day:)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, we do love our Jack, and although he tried, he could not get Girl to “grow on” him! Now that Girl has gone to kitty heaven, I would LOVE to get another cat, but now I’m afraid Jack might not like it!

    • Marcia says:

      Marylou, I went to your website. Your art is lovely. Susan attracts so many incredibly talented people.

  25. I’m so sorry that Girl Kitty has passed. That’s certainly the toughest part of owning a pet. I would bet money that a new, playful kitty would be a challenge for Jack at first. I think in time they would be best friends…causing all kinds of shenanigans around the house!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I’m still torn. I got Jack for Girl because I thought she was “lonely.” It turns out she wasn’t lonely at all and in fact did not care for his presence. He seems happier now since he has become Lord of the House. Maybe when he is older I’ll get two kittens at once and because they will have each other, perhaps they will leave old Jack alone.

  26. My sister always has a series of cats (3 or 4 at a time). Last summer she was down to 1 cat….the old lady, “Silver”. I can honestly say that Silver was dancing a jig and loving life when she was an “only cat”. Then it happened again….my sister brought in 2 more (a pair of boy kittens found in the woods). The cranky old lady re-appeared. She WILL NOT baby sit…no way, no how!

    • sbranch says:

      Girl Kitty was just exactly the same. Wanted nothing to do with Jack even though he really wanted to be her best friend. I don’t think he would care for kittens one little bit. The competition would be unbearable!

  27. Becky Maxwell says:

    I so want to get a cat. It has been 4 years since my cat Nippy passed on. This is the longest have been without a cat in my life. Unfortunately as long as I have my hound, I cannot have a cat. She would torment the cat to much.

  28. Valerie Johnson in Weatherford, Texas :) says:

    Hi I am Valerie’s daughter and i really like this a whole lot and i’m only 11 years old! Susan Branch is for anybody. My mom couldn’t even get my attention when I was reading about Jack and the ladder or Jack and his hairbands. HAHAHAHA!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Valerie’s daughter! Eleven is the perfect age, stay right where you are! xoxo Glad you like Jack, he’s so much fun!

  29. Jami Goins says:

    I feel so inspired by your cat photography. My name is Jami and I too have multiple children (KITTIES!!). The way you capture his human personality is astonishing. I absolutely love your website and your merchandise. My cats, Jimk and Flounder, LOVE your cat pillows. Where did you purchase your stuffed cat? I’d love to have Flounder immortalized myself. (:

    God bless you and your mission.

    • sbranch says:

      The stuffed cat was a gift, I’m not sure where it came from, sorry Jami! Google kitty doorstops, because that’s what it’s really supposed to be.

  30. Peggy sweeney says:

    Pray for my black and white kitty called Ollie, he swallowed a string and had to have two surgerys to remove it! Should be home tomorrow, poor kitty.

  31. Barbara Sanford says:

    Love your Jack! We have a Jack, but he’s a dog, a Sheltie. We also have 2 cats, Beau and Josie pussycat, ( like the show I use to watch as a kid!). We should own stock in hair ties! I find them everywhere! Thank you for sharing!

    • sbranch says:

      Someday we will move out of this house and that will be when we discover WHAT our Jack has done with the hundreds of hair ties he’s hidden somewhere! Kiss Jack the dog and the two kitties too!

  32. Just got your latest wonderful Willard!. I always love seeing the pics of Jack. I must tell you we have two Jacks in my neighborhood that I always see as I stroll by their houses on my daily walks. I’ve always marveled at the way they hang out so obediently, lounging in the territory of their own front porches. Any cat that I’ve ever owned would be long gone if I let them outside. Well, I learned the truth about both of them this past week. We have a Facebook forum for my town of Ocean Grove, NJ and if a kitty goes missing, the word gets out. Jack #1 was the first to get everyone in an uproar. His collar and tag was found outside a neighbor’s home with blood on it. The grapevine was in a tizzy for a day or so, then, there he was strolling home with not a care in the world. Perhaps he caught a varmint and the collar came off in a struggle. I was so relieved because I consider him to be my good luck charm. His portrait won “Best in Show” in a 2017summer art exhibit that I was in 🙂 Anyway (I digress)… A few days later, Jack #2 (we call him “Albany Jack” because that’s where is originally from), decided to go for a stroll to Burbelmaier’s cafe on Main Avenue! That is quite a few blocks from his home! Apparently, he hung out on the porch for a while. The staff let him come inside for lunch and visit for a while until someone decided to take him across the street to the pet store hoping to locate his owner. There he had a second lunch while the store merchant called his mom. Fortunately, his name and number were on his tag. A short time later, Albany Jack was carried home and sternly lectured about roaming so far from the front porch. All in all, I would say that Jack #1 and #2 love a good journey and really don’t care if they worry half the neighborhood!

  33. Melissa says:

    You may have already mentioned this in a post, so my apologies if I missed it – is Girl Kitty still with you and Joe?

  34. Brandi Glenn says:

    I was given 2 of books for my birthday last year and LOVE them so much! And funny thing is I live in Los Osos! Now I want to be where you are! though for me moving here was huge. Been here 24 years now. My husband and I have 3 cats and we are both artists. I love to cook as well. I think that is why my friend gave me your books because you reminded her of me. So glad to have you my life now!

  35. Cheryl jPatchin says:

    Jack is adorable and I have to tell you that we had his mate years ago. She and her siblings were born under a potting bench on my sister’s patio while I and my children were “supposed to be” housesitting. After my Sis returned home she kept hearing meows outside her bedroom window. When she discovered them she called us and my kids and I went over to rescue them. My young son pulled each one out one at a time with a birth announcement and description. Mother kitty was away at the time and I caught each one and bathed them properly. We had to keep the tuxedo male (Elvis) and the tuxedo female (Princess) that had a perfectly formed dot on her chin. We collected many look alike kitties statues, pillows and even a hot pack that we always had to add the special dot to. Both kitties have gone onto the Rainbow Bridge but they had long lives with us and were most loved.

  36. Sherry says:

    Jack is adorable and what personality! As a lover of kitties I had to comment. My kitty, Miss Emma is 17 and starting to act her age. Hate losing them, but I know it’s the circle of life. I’m with you where potty training puppies is concerned…don’t have the patience for that, but I dearly love them. My sons have dogs so I get my fix when I dog-sit for them. Let them train ‘em and I’ll love ‘em! Ha

  37. Linda S says:

    Please be careful with Jack and his love of elastic bands. We have a programme on TV in England called The Yorkshire Vet. He recently had to operate on a cat who was not well. Inside his tummy was a huge mass of elastic hair bands that the cat had collected and eaten !

    • sbranch says:

      I shoot them and he catches them and brings them to me. I’ve never seen him even look like he might eat one… they’re very thick. I just asked Joe, and he’s never seen Jack do that either, so we are hoping that the approximate 500 missing ponytail bands are not in his tummy. He is very fat! (I’m kidding, I think he hides them. Don’t worry, I’m watching!)

  38. Angela S Crawley says:

    I had to reread this blog post. Such a lovely Tuxedo. I tried the link to the Quilt store and got some weird page? I assume the store is no longer or something to that effect. I am doing more wool applique so I thought, let me check it out.
    And this is really old so maybe you won’t see these comments.
    Love me some Jack-ness.

  39. Judy says:

    awwwwwww……how did I miss this adorable post all these years?
    I said, “awwwwww,” I don’t know how many times while reading those kind kitty-words and looking at all the fuzz-luv pictures of him. He is a doll!
    I need to get another kitty. Ours has been gone almost two years now.
    I think it’s time! I’m missing all the cuddles, all the companionship & all
    the fun!
    Thanks Susan!
    Happy New Year to the ‘three’ of you!

  40. Janis says:

    I have a tuxedo boy too. “Dominic” he’s such a big boy too!! Loveable and sweet and precocious at 8 years old. Would love to share some photos, he too has an interesting face. He sort of looks like he broke his nose. Perhaps he should have been called Vinny. LOL!
    Jack is so perfect as my Dommy is to me ❤️

  41. Dianne Blauvelt says:

    Dear Susan,
    I know this is mainly a “Kitty Blog,” but I just had to take a moment to tell you how blown away I was by your beautiful expression of humanity through your amazing writing. For some years now, finding one’s purpose has been paramount. But, ever since I can remember, I always felt that our purpose here was to make the world a little bit better for having lived. Or as Charles Dickens so aptly put it: “Mankind was my business.” So, when you wrote that God served us purpose on a silver platter, I couldn’t believe it. I said, Yes! Yes! That is how I have always felt. Yes, we are the stewards of all around us. And aren’t we blessed?!! My heart leapt out of my chest when I read: “If for nothing else, that’s why we’re here, to take care of the beauty that God has given us.” So true! When you wrote: “When I play with my cats, I always find myself saying< "Thank you, God." That is how I have felt ever since I got "the best gift I ever got"–my son, who is now 32 years old, and a successful author(something I have always wanted to be–just like you!) And when you wrote that sometimes when you are on your walk in the morning, and you say to yourself, "This must be what heaven feels like!", I could so relate, as I so often over the years have felt the very same as I have walked my beloved St. Pete Beach here in St. Petersburg. I look about me at all the wonder and beauty and enchantment, and am in awe, even after all these years, it never fails to enchant. And I, too, can't imagine that heaven could be more beautiful than this beach in one little corner of our big, beautiful home, Earth. So, yes, yes! Every day should be Earth Day and we can celebrate it every day in our own little ways. So thank you, Susan Branch, for being such a kindred spirit and blessing me, and all of us, with your beautiful writing and blog and books and wondrous art! It means so very much to so very many!

    • sbranch says:

      Someone just wrote me on Twitter to say they could use a little enchantment right now . . . I told her to look around, it’s everywhere. And it is! Thank you Dianne. It’s a wonderful world. Requiring the care of all of us. What it’s all about! Seems so simple when you wash away all the clamoring craziness. Love you Dianne, thank you!

  42. Ferol Snead says:

    I’ve always thought Jack has been around for a long time? I’ve come to adore his curiousity and his magical way of playing “Where’s Waldo/Jack!” I confess that I feel bad for Jack when you travel, but know he’s cared for in the best of ways! We found our now 21 year old Tuco in a woodpile as a kitten. The minute I looked into his eyes, I had a strange feeling of “on purpose!” It was fate and heaven sent leaving me spiritually blessed! As are you, Joe & Jack!

  43. Dona Stallworth says:

    My vet encourages people to Never let cats out. Says the main culprit in outdoor kitties not living as long (beyond cars and wild animals – we have coyotes!) is all the chemicals folks put on their plants and lawns. Many are carcinogenic to small animals! Besides my 15 year old enjoys sprawling across my electric blanket!!

    Love your work, envy your garden!!

  44. Anisha Tafi says:

    What a heartwarming story! It’s always a mix of excitement and uncertainty when considering adding a new furry friend to the family. The decision-making process and the banter over potential names add a delightful touch to the narrative. “Jack” sounds like a charming choice, and it’s lovely that you were open to meeting the kitten before making the final decision. There’s a lot of thought and care going into this new addition to your family. Wishing you and Jack many wonderful moments together!

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