A lot of adopters stay in touch as supporters and friends themselves. I get updates on our cats' lives. I learn when cats grow old. And I also learn when they pass on. I'm always so honored, and sad, when an adopter lets me know. When they contact me before they have to let their cat go, it's especially touching, because I know there is a part of them that feels like they need to not surprise me with a sudden drastic sadness, or they just want to share their decision beforehand, to verify in their heart it is the right one.
Two weeks ago, Holly lost Jack. Jack, also called Luther-Jack while he was here back when we were Wildrun, was a special kind of cat. He lived here in the house with me as he grew up. He was a kitten from the litter of Espie, an abandoned cat found up on the hill-road behind me, brought to me by neighbors who then also became my friends. Four of Espie's kittens developed kidney disease, and have recently passed away at ages 11-12. Espie's last kitten, Emmi, is currently living on the East Coast, and I have word that her kidneys are doing fine.
Holly called me the night before she was taking Jack in to the veterinarian for his last trip, and she shared all sorts of stories about his life. The most important of these was how he taught her grandkids to be loving and gentle with cats. He was a great friend to her, and she couldn't imagine being alone without him, and asked to come visit that weekend to see if she could provide a new cat here with a home.
Getting calls like this are always bittersweet for me. I never want to hear about a cat passing, but learning that the cat had a wonderful life with an incredible person, and that that cat made a difference in people's lives, makes all the time, money, and heartache spent in cat rescue worth it.
As an extra awesome note, Holly orders her supplies from Chewy. If you are a Chewy.com customer you may know they have exemplary customer service, and even send Christmas cards. Did you know they also sometimes send roses? They reached out to Holly when they learned of Jack's passing, and even reimbursed her last purchase for him.
Holly did visit, and took Sham (now Libby) home with her. More on Libby in another post!
A few days ago, we also learned that Tiger Tom, a cat who had been with us during our Wildrun days for over five years before he was adopted, and had been growing feeble for quite some time, was also no longer comfortable. Georg let me know via Messenger. It has been wonderful watching Tiger Tom's life on Georg's Facebook page. Tiger Tom gave us a tiny bit of internet fame when Life With Cats featured his adoption story on Petfinder 15th Birthday.
Tiger Tom had a quiet life of naps, snuggling, play, and lots of knitting yarn (I'm always impressed with knitters who also own cats. how do you keep the two apart?)
On Facebook, Georg wrote:
Today, Tiger Tom passed away. A piece of my heart that walked around outside my body is now gone.
Goodbye, Jack and Tiger Tom. Thank-you for bringing Holly, Georg and Jazz into my life, and thank-you to your people for letting me know when your story closed.