Saturday, August 8, 2009

World Cat Day: meet Jacques Cousteau

Squirrel Queen's blog "The Road to Here" has just informed me that it is World Cat Day. So I thought I'd take a minute out of my Saturday to introduce you to Jacques "Jack" Cousteau, fittingly named after my childhood hero. Jack is one of those rare cats who you can say has a good soul. He's super smart, lovable and seems to think that my head makes a great pillow. He has a rich personality, so much that when friends come over one of the first things they often do is look for Jack.

One of the most amazing things this 12-year-old creature has done happened when I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital ten months ago. At first he was wary. And then he accepted that mommy had a kitten and it was here to stay. Within three weeks he went over and licked her face and purred.

Now he lies down in front of her and lets himself be used as a standing platform, hitting post and tactile learning center. Often the baby stands up holding handfuls of his hair. And yet he just purrs and takes it. At night if I check on her he'll jump in her crib, sniff her as if to make sure she's OK, and then jump back out. Her first word at nine and a half months was kitty cat, although it comes out more like "itty at!"

What's amazing to me about all of this is until Lizzie came home he was so afraid of children he'd hide under the bed for hours until they left, and sometimes for hours after that. And he has a heart condition. I seriously thought the baby would be the last straw. Yet he continues to dote on Lizzie and allow her to play with him a lot more roughly that I would expect he'd take.

I am so thankful that I picked him that day at the MSPCA twelve years ago my first summer out of college. I wanted an orange male cat and he was the closest thing. I really lucked out with him. And when Jack is gone I will mourn him more than I have ever mourned another pet. I am so fortunate that my husband fell in love with him as fast as I did. Jack has some annoying habits like purring so loud in the middle of the night he wakes Brian up. And chewing on my hair while I'm sleeping, or drooling in my ear. When I first brought Jack home he spent the first month suckling on my neck all night since he wasn't completely weaned. I spent that month with a sheet wrapped around my head trying to keep him away. But I would do it again. He's a special animal and he has given me so much love and seen me through so many bad breakups. Until I met my husband a few years ago he's the only guy that ever stuck around.

So I hope you have enjoyed meeting Jack, and I hope he lives another year so Lizzie can continue to enjoy playing with him. I get unbearably sad knowing he's at the end of his life, and it's hard to see him slowing down and losing weight. I doubt I'll ever have another cat quite like Jack. He really does have a good little soul. I hope I gave him the best life a cat could have.


  1. No fears - my cat is 17 and still going strong. Lizzie will be playing tag and hide & go seek with Jack, I'm sure.

  2. OMG Lizzie is beautiful!!!! I love the photo. That is a precious picture. I am sure you will cherish it even more years from now when you can show it to Lizzie and show her the cat that loved her and doted on her. This is a fantastic post. It brought tears to my eyes thinking about how special the pets are in our lives and how we lose them too early. Happy Cat Day Jack.

  3. Awww how sweet, Jack looked like he lived a full life, and I can see that in his photo. I know he loves your daughter as much as he loves you, 'cos he is just giving the love you gave in return. I also have a Grandkitty in the house and if I am not mistaken he is already 12 years old, and he outlived 2 dogs. Jack's very photogenic posing on the book, is he a bookcat?

    Happy World Cat day!


  4. Jack is very regal. He looks a lot like a cat I had years ago. My favorite cat was named Fopaw and talked to me all the time, purred so loudly that she would wake me in the middle of the night. No cats with me right now, so thank you for introducing me to Jack, a very wonderful pal.

  5. Awwwww! What a heartwarming story.
    You were blessed the day Jack came into your life - cherish these days!

    It's wonderful to see how Jack and your precious daughter get along - the love they have for one another radiates off this page.

    I so enjoyed meeting Jack!

    Hugsssss, Susan

  6. Thinker: I'd like to think that you are right and Jack will live to 17, yet they gave him a year to live 19 months ago. Every day with him is a gift at this point. But thanks for making me feel better!

    Rae: thanks for the compliments on Lizzie. I, of course, think she's the cutest kid ever, but I'm her mom so I'm bit biased....

    AL: Jack LOVES to sit on books, and paper, and just about anything you're trying to read. I'd like to think he at least has good taste since he was monopolizing Harry Potter in that photo.

    DJan: so you, too, know what it's like to be woken by a purring cat! I hate to admit that I sleep much better when Jack's not around, he is awful loud!

    Susan: I am blessed, you're right! And I do cherish everyday that Jack's in my life, I never take him for granted. In a way I hope my daughter doesn't live long enough to understand when Jack's gone. I can't bear to try to explain that to her although I know I can't avoid it forever.

    Thanks for visiting everyone! I wish you could meet Jack in person! -Kate

  7. I did enjoy meeting Jack. He sounds like a wonderful soul and he is quite handsome too. Sweet how he checks in on Lizzie with you.

  8. Jack sounds a lot like my Tasha, a very good and wise soul in a kitty body. Jack is beautiful and. posing on the book, he almost looks like he is ready to give a lecture on something most profound.

    Lizzie is a doll, and it looks like she loves Jack just as he loves her.

    A wonderful post,

  9. A lovely story, Jack is splendid and your daughter adorable.

  10. Lisa: He is very sweet to Lizzie, I'm super lucky.

    SQ: you are lucky to have Tasha in your life, cats with good souls are not always common thing.

    Lulu: thanks for the compliments on my kid, I think she's adorable but I'm a bit biased....


  11. Just found the post, brought back memories. I was raised with a ginger Tom in my bassinet and have had cats in my life ever since. Most recently Hello Kitty (named by my Granddaughter, 7) she stayed with the family when we split; and now I have Meow Meow, white 6mths. All of what you have written is the sum of all my cats. They all had differing personalities and traits, they were all adorable. For me; Happiness is the sound of a cat purring.


  12. How sweet. I am also amazed at what we do for our pets. Jack is the perfect "itty at." Your daughter is totally precious.

  13. AV: you have been very very lucky to have such wonderful cats in your life. my neighbor has a cat named Meow Meow too! Happiness really is the sound of a purring cat :)

    Lynn: a true pet lover sure does do anything for their pet, even if it means losing sleep! Jack spent yesterday afternoon trying to get away from a more and more mobile Lizzie who really likes to grab his paws. she's not going to learn until she gets swatted at!


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