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!