6 cat lives intertwined: From Gizmo to Mamabear to Big Jack to Mitzy to Monty & Jacqui.
|Gizmo was our first rescue. He was all black. We saved him from a collapsed barn which killed 3 siblings and his mother. Only Gizmo and another sibling survived. We took Gizmo and someone else took his brother. We weren’t cat people at the time and if we knew what we know now, we would have taken them both to keep each other company. Gizmo became sick with diabetes in 2000. We tried everything to help him but never got his insulin to the correct dose and his body was being ravaged by it. Then the day came where he just slouched and nothing I did could save him. We took his pain away on July 10, 2001. He was 15 years 2 months.
Story jumps to October 20th of 2015. This was the day our Mamabear at 20.5 went off to be alone to die. She was very sick and as all animals, she had better instincts then we do. She walked away to spare us is the understanding I have, when an animal knows it’s going to die.
We knew her time was near and we had been keeping her inside the house for her own safety and health issues. On that day, the 20th of October, we opened the door and she was prepared this time, determined to get out. Unfortunately she did and that was the last we saw of her. We know she has died but how, being the unknown, eats at us. My wife and I both loved her to pieces but she definitely favored my wife and they had that special bond only a cat person can understand.
Mama was rescued on Sept. 7th, 2001 when we found out she was going to be sent to a shelter because no one else would take her. We were her last hope. She spent 14.5 years with us.
7 months later my Big Jack took a heart attack and damaged his heart so bad, he was dying and then died on 5/29/2016. Blood clots had broken off and paralyzed him, then went to his brain that blinded and that finally killed him. He had a heart defect from birth we believe and was told he could go at any moment. He lasted 8.5yrs., which was a long life considering what he was dealing with. Big Jack was slowing down near the end and he was a truly special being. My wife tells me that to this day, he was, of all the cats we had.
We taught him how to walk with us outside, without a leash and used voice commands to communicate our intent, along with tone. Big Jack had a beautiful vocabulary of at least 25 cat words that I could count. He probably had a few more. A chatterbox he was. Big Jack and I spent almost every waking moment together for 8 years. Cats have close to a hundred different vocalizations.
Big Jack was rescued from three teens who were dragging him down a main road with a rope tied around his neck. A local animal rescue saved him from those teens, from a fate I can’t even fathom. They knew my sister, who in turn called us. She knew we would have no issue in taking him. We never regretted it. That was August 27, 2008.
Mittens or Mitzy was rescued from a kill shelter on January 5th, 2015. Born around Oct 16th, 2014.
Now when Big Jack passed on that fateful day of May 29th 2016, Mittens or Mitzy as we like to call her, went into a depression from losing her surrogate daddy. When we rescued Mitzy she was 3 months, scared out of her wits and was the runt of her litter.
She was left alone in a cold, dank dirty cage [right next to the incinerator where they toss any unwanted cats] after her other 4 siblings were adopted. She just happened to be an extremely shy, tiny Tux/Snowshoe. Why she was the last one left. I took her immediately, brought her home to meet Big Jack and as tough as he could be, showed a tenderness towards her as if he were her father.
Big Jack always wanted a friend but he took this to another level. He taught her things she needed to know and without realizing it she has put his knowledge to good use. She followed him everywhere.
When Big Jack passed, the devastation showed on her face and how she reacted when she realized her daddy Big Jack, wasn’t going to be around anymore. I can’t even imagine how she felt but I had an idea.
Mitzy stopped eating, nibbling here and there along with diminished water drinking. We were losing her and not much we could do. She was missing her Big Jack.
We had one last hope to save Mitzy. Adopt a companion for her and hopefully she would respond to this in a positive way. Normally we wouldn’t have gone out looking to adopt this soon after Big Jack and Mamabear passed. It hurt too much to think about it but we were losing Mitzy. Wasn’t happening, not if we could help it. Her weight was going down and she was becoming lethargic.
We looked in a few shelters and all just had dogs left, the cats were all taken. Then we went to PARL [Providence Animal Rescue League]. This is where we found our two ferals. They were siblings, brother and sister being the only two left of their litter, again Tux/Snowshoes. I never saw two more terrified kittens in my 32 years dealing with cats at the time.
They pushed as far back as they could in the cage and huddled against one another, trying to get away from any humans. Visibly shaking/trembling. You could see the fear in their eyes. I took it as them being born feral and not having much human interaction. There was another pair of siblings as well, all black and super friendly. I knew those two would be adopted in a heartbeat.
The two ferals I knew wouldn’t be adopted out and eventually would have been euthanized, being deemed not adoptable. Kittens are more expensive to care for than an adult cat. Either that or they would have been separated and when the new owners realized they weren’t socialized, they most likely would have tossed or returned them which doesn’t happen often enough. There’s a lot of people too lazy to actually bring them back to the shelter. Most people treat animals as throwaways.
My wife and I knew what we had to do. These two were coming home with us and we’d show them a love that I believe they never knew. They found their furever home. Was it Fate?? My wife and I say; YES IT WAS!!
Now there’s a subplot to all of this and that is, these two were fostered at a real young age long before we saw them. From what we learned, they weren’t fed properly, constantly caged as if in a shelter. Little human interaction, outside of being fed and litter cleaned. I doubt even that much happened. It's no wonder they were that way.
I just had a gut feeling something wasn’t right. They were eventually taken back by the shelter away from these foster people. The paperwork showed how they were losing weight and were deteriorating. The shelter eventually got their weight back up and brought both back to health.
After we inquired about adopting them, the shelter tried talking us out of it and we were having none of that because we knew what was going to happen. I was furious they even tried to talk us out of it. We paid the adoption fee and with the paperwork done, we took them home.
They were petrified and adjusted slowly on their own at first. We named them Monty and Jacqui. Now Monty was the more inquisitive one. Even though being real scared in the beginning he started coming out of his shell.
This took a lot of time, patience, work and lots and lots of love. We had to teach and show them, that humans weren’t a threat. I do believe that both were traumatized by someone. Even our vet believes this. So from what I’m concluding is, they were abused in the foster home but nobody was caught.
I can see it in the small things when you spend a lot of time socializing cats. I’m retired so I can spend hours at times during the day, to play and interact with them.
Now over the past 43 months of socializing, Monty has progressed the furthest. He loves to be petted and will spend time with us not running away petrified as he was when we got him or even just a few months prior. He’s adjusted extremely fast. He’s been “talking” to us now for some time now, with little chirps and soft meows. Monty really enjoys our company, as does Jacqui but she’s the other story of the two ferals.
I spent as much time trying to socialize Jacqui as I was doing with Monty. When I sit in what I call “our” spot, Jacqui will come over, along with Monty and Mitzy to be petted.
Jacqui’s a funny cat, she’ll let me pet her being aggressively rubbing against me and will push away Monty and Mitzy…lol. I’m always talking to her in a soft voice and she responds but try to pet her at any other time or place within the house and she is running off. She’s gotten a lot better than when we first adopted her. You can see it.
Monty and Jacqui are so far apart in their progress but we realized she has a problem where we think her brain didn’t develop enough from being a bit malnourished when she lost her weight in the foster home.
Jacqui, we believe didn’t get enough protein. Between the traumatizing and the lack of protein in their food, her brain either became underdeveloped or damaged. Monty got lucky is all I can think off. He is the bigger of the two so he may have developed faster before anything could happen.
This does affect her more than it did Monty. Monty, as I said earlier, was lucky and doesn’t have any issues that we’ve seen. We also think Jacqui has some eye issues. When she looks at us, she has a hard time focusing. It looks like she can’t spot things right away.
We also believe Jacqui has ADD. She has a hard time focusing on certain things unless it’s a bug, bird or some other critter she sees outside the windows. Then her focus is laser like.
Jacqui has more of an attachment to myself than to my wife. As I mentioned earlier, I’m retired and can fully invest myself in socializing both Monty and Jacqui. Mitzy needs no socializing.
My wife can’t spend as much time as she would like because she works from home and her time is limited but Monty has come around to my wife and Jacqui comes when she wishes too, just more slowly than they did for me. The reasons are obviously stated.
As of January 29, 2021 Monty has been socialized to the point now that he's been jumping on the bed with us, he sleeps up against my body and in the morning loves to trample all over my wife and I, begging for even more pets.
Jacqui will jump on the bed as long as the two others are there. By herself she is still too frightened to jump up. After my wife gets up, Jacqui will jump on the bed and will come near me purring her sweet heart out. She will give me kitty kisses, by touching her nose to my face. I just have my eyes open a slit as I watch her. Any sudden movements and she scoots away.
Jacqui loves to be petted and loved but under very special circumstances and it’s on her terms, not ours...lol. Jacqui loves being on the couch laying on her big soft penguin blanket. She's started to stay on there with anyone else, which is a jump in trust. Jacqui still runs away with any movement towards her outside of our special spot on the floor, when I’m sitting or when we’re lying in bed but she seems safe on the couch. Eventually she will jump off.
She’s most likely thinking, we can’t do much to her while we’re in bed or he’s in that spot [even though I know I could grab her]. My wife has petted her a couple of times but just being on the bed with us with the other two kitties who act as her security blanket is still a huge leap forward.
Jacqui is getting better with each passing day. She will make a leap of faith and then stay in that mode until her trust level moves up to the next notch. Monty for the first time on Sunday Sept 25th, 2017 jumped up on the couch with me and laid near me for just a few moments to pet him and off he went. This was another first big leap for Monty. Now he can't get enough of the couch..lol
He’s wants to be with us all the time. Monty follows me everywhere except when I go downstairs into my space. I guess he even realizes it’s “The Pit”...lol. I just wish Jacqui would see what she is missing and Monty is grabbing most of the pets but she seems happy an content.
To this point both Monty and Jacqui have come a very long way. Monty has just progressed so much faster. Eventually with more time, love and patience, we’ll have them to a point, hopefully, that they will enjoy staying in our laps one day.
This is the point we’re at now. It’s an ongoing process and may take a few more years [hoping it’s sooner].
We often think about that day when we went looking for them. Fate somehow, someway, led us to them both. My wife and I have a satisfaction that we surely saved Monty and Jacqui from euthanasia or a certain death from possibly being tossed out, if any other person[s] had adopted them.
When kittens or even full grown cats are adopted and can’t adjust, majority of people get impatient and either toss them or abuse them.
We also learned that Jacqui can’t be separated from Monty. When he went missing for a week in 2016, she fell into a depressive state just like Mitzy did when Big Jack passed. We realized then, that Monty was Jacqui’s crutch. Once he came back, she showed her displeasure by growling and hissing at him. This was the first time I heard either of them ever do this.
They have never tried biting or scratching either of us. I’ve never seen Mitzy, Monty or Jacqui act aggressively or bare their teeth or claws. This was a surprised welcome to my wife and I. We realized that none of them has a mean or rotten bone in their bodies.
We are now a happy family that saved two of the sweetest cats, even though they are still jumpy and skittish, that would have most certainly been killed or died in some fashion unimaginable. The satisfaction you feel is indescribable.
If anything different transpired across what had happened, we would have never gotten Monty and Jacqui and their fate being unknown, wouldn’t in my opinion, turned out well.
Mamabear and Big Jack passed. As sad and heartbroken we both were, we landed up saving Mitzy from certain depression and death, while rescuing two feral’s who would have certainly died by now, who became good friends and the companions Mitzy needed.
Now three cats who were kittens, were eventually going to be, most likely put down, were given their forever homes as fate brought all three to my wife and I.
Mitzy turned 6 years old on Oct 16, 2020. Monty and Jacqui turned 4 years on Feb. 29th, 2020.
Even though Gizmo, Mamabear and Big Jack are no longer with us, they will always be loved holding a special place in our hearts
This is the end of our story for now as we, a family of 5 live happily.