Cats · My Thoughts

How about a Cat For a Pet?

Jesse, my cat
My cat, Jesse

How about a cat? My life took a major change after my divorce from having dogs my adult life to having a cat. What a life transformation!

When my ex-husband and I divorced in 2008, I couldn’t take our wolf dog hybrid, Kita because I couldn’t manage him. For the first time in many years, I faced life pet less which I didn’t like. I discussed with friends getting another dog, but I traveled a lot and knew that wouldn’t work.

As soon as I talked about the prospect of getting a new pet, a pro-cat colleague encouraged me to get a cat, but I had never had a cat. She reminded me anytime I mentioned buying a dog that a cat was a better choice.

One day away from my office at a staff training, my phone rang, and my pro-cat coworker exclaimed, “I found your cat. He’s a stray. I’ve fed him outside our office. Come and see him.”

So, I drove to the office and met her outside. A filthy Siamese Silver Tip cat hedged his way around us. Skeptical, he kept his distance and meowed his Siamese yowl.

“I heard him crying last night when I left the office after a training I facilitated,” I told her. It felt eerie in the dark.

“Take him home tonight!” she directed.

I refused and went home but dreamed of cats all night, so the next day she helped me gather all the cat supplies I needed and I took him home. When I closely examined Jesse, my new pet, after a quick clean-up, he looked much better than the day before which made me realize he probably belonged to someone.

So, I took him to a vet to see if he had a chip—he did. Then, the vet called the owners, and they turned him over to me. When I talked to them, they identified Jesse’s vet so I had access to his total history. The vet told me Jesse’s age: he was six years old when I found him.

When I first got Jesse, he was not a “lap” cat. He kept his distance but seemed to appreciate our shared home. I quickly adjusted to having a cat, and I realized leaving him was far easier than a dog. When my Mom and I went on extended trip to California in 2010, a colleague’s son watched him. I called home every few days and talked to him through the answering machine. Mom thought I was whacked, but I knew he’d recognize my voice and not be so lonely.

After Lin proposed, and we contemplated to a new life together, I had to face his dislike for cats. He suggested first for me to get rid of Jesse and get a dog. I couldn’t do that! So, he compromised by wanting Jesse declawed because he had a leather loveseat. I found a vet that did the laser surgery which was supposed to be more humane that the traditional declawing method, but Jesse still suffered with the surgery.

We moved in with Lin in 2011 and found a system that worked for all of us.

In 2012, I had shoulder surgery and Jesse instinctually knew I needed extra care and often sat in my lap. Now we both enjoy our nightly ritual.

Jesse absolutely loves Lin and responds to him anytime Lin comes into a room with a big meow. A couple years ago, Lin and Jesse started a morning ritual: meowing back and forth like they actually understood each other. I laughed at the connection they have made.

I’ve had Jesse now for eleven years, so he’s seventeen. At seventeen years old, Jesse’s human age is 84 years old, a Senior cat. https://www.purina.co.uk/cats/key-life-stages/ageing/cats-age-in-human-years

In 2016, Jesse got really sick, and I found out he had feline diabetes. When this happened, he might have suffered a stroke too because he started this bizarre pumping of his back leg whenever you touch his neck. At first, we managed the diabetes with special food, but that didn’t work. So, we added insulin and have increased the doses over the years. I now give him shots twice a day.

He has never fought me with the shots. In fact, sometimes he meows and stands by the refrigerator reminding me he needs his shot!

I found a fantastic pet sitter who comes to our house twice a day when we’re gone to give Jesse his shots and plays with him. He loves her dearly and I feel safe with her watchful care. She has texted me photos of Jesse to show how he has faired during our absence.

Now my husband and I laugh about Jesse being senile. He sleeps most of the day, searches for that shaft of sunlight to warm his aching bones, and meows often for food or just to let us know he is still kicking. Another part of being a senior cat, Jesse can’t hear very well anymore which surprised us because he used to have amazing hearing.

Jesse, my cat, on the arm of the loveseat
Jesse perched ready to watch TV

Jesse loves to join us nightly on the arm of the loveseat. First, he perches there, then he moves to my lap to spend the rest of the evening. I love his rhythmic purr, a wiggle up closer and a contented sleep!

Last week I talked about the dogs in my life. Click here to read it!

This week I introduced my cat, Jesse to you. Dog or cat—to me it doesn’t matter! I just need a pet because it adds so much to my life!

Jesse, my cat, reaches over and lays his paw on my hand!
Jesse, my cat, reaches over and lays his paw on my hand!

How about you? Dog? Cat? Both?


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Cats · My Thoughts

Do You Own a Pet?

My pet, Jesse with a Christmas bow
Last Christmas, Jesse with a bow!

The answer for me is a resounding “Yes.” I rescued a Siamese silver tip cat ten years ago, and his name is Jesse. At the time, I was going through a divorce from my third husband. We had a dog I loved, and the Ex got the dog, so I yearned for a pet.

Petless, I floundered. Friends said I needed to get a cat instead of a dog because I traveled a lot and they’re easier to leave. One afternoon, one of my colleagues who pushed this idea repeatedly, called me and said, “Where are you?”

“I’m leaving a training and will be back at the office in about thirty minutes.”

She proclaimed, “Your cat is here!”

When I got there, she ushered me out a side door outside, and I saw this compassionate lady’s work: she had food and water out. She lured the cat with treats out of the bushes, and I was smitten.

The night before I had left the office late after doing a teacher’s training, and as I closed my door, I heard that eerie Siamese cry. I stopped to see where it was coming from, but it stopped, so I went home. I guess it was this cat.

But wait a minute! As an adult, I had never owned a cat! I was a dog person! I have had dogs my whole adult life—a cat??

We admired this sad, scared animal. She urged me, “Take him home tonight!”

My immediate response, “No, way! I’ve got to think about it,” so I went home catless, and felines ran through my dreamed all night.

After my restless night, I succumbed the next day, and this enthusiastic cat lady helped me buy a litter-box, scoop and cat food, and home I went with my new companion. I named him, Jesse, a name I was almost given as a child.

After he settled down and l examined him, I realized he had recently been cared for and wasn’t a stray. I waited until Saturday and took him to VetCo to see if he was chipped. He was! The veterinarian called the chip place, got the owner’s name and called them, then they called me and relinquished ownership of him to me! Jesse was officially mine.

Over the years, Jesse has been an angel for sure. He has made me laugh. He used to like to do late night antics after the lights went out like throwing my shoes around the bedroom and walking all over me.

Since Lin and I married, he’s not allowed in the bedroom because Lin has cat allergies, so needless to say, Jesse doesn’t wake me up with those crazy cat behaviors, but he loves to meow first thing in the morning! Lin and Jesse have a meow fest to start the day!

At first, Jesse wasn’t a lap kitty which I preferred, but I had shoulder surgery in 2012, and his instinct told him I needed extra love and care, so now he takes up residence in my lap anytime I’m relaxing in front of the TV, and I love it. In fact, he’s such a habitual kitty, he parks himself on the arm of our loveseat in anticipation of TV time.

In 2015, Jesse was diagnosed with feline diabetes. He was so sick at the time. Normally he weighed around 20 pounds—fat cat, but he lost down to 13 pounds! At first, we changed his food to diabetic cat food and that helped some, but then the vet added insulin and now has increased the dosage to 3 units twice a day.

Jesse loves our Christmas tree and hides under it whenever he can. After I add gifts under there, he gingerly steps over the packages to get out of his hiding place.

As Lin and I prepared for future travel plans next year, I texted my pet sitter about watching him. She is so conscientious about Jesse’s care. She related her concern about me leaving him during the winter with the possibility of a snowstorm and her not able to get him his insulin shot! Wow! So, we’re coming up with contingency plans. What an awesome pet sitter for sure!

My pet, Jesse relaxing
Jesse Curled Up & Sleeping!

I love this 16-year-old senile fat cat! He’s gained up to over 16 pounds now, and we have managed his diabetes. He’s aging before my eyes, sleeps curled up in a favorite place and moves slower. He loves the sunshine and follows it wherever it is during the morning. In the morning, I make sure I’ve given him his shot before he trudges upstairs to the loft to find his beam of sunshine. Often in the evening, Jesse meows at me like “It’s time for my insulin.” I wonder–does he know?

He’s just precious! I’m a committed pet owner through and through!

What are your feelings about pets? Cats? Dogs?


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My Thoughts

An Angel Cat–Really?

In September 2008, my third marriage ended and my ex-husband kept our pet, a wolf hybrid named Kita that we raised from a pup. I have had a pet for most of my adult life, and these precious animals have fed my soul. After the split, I bought and moved into a townhouse, and by February of 2009, I was ready for a pet.

The women I worked with suggested getting a cat instead of a dog because I traveled often. They assured me that I could leave a cat easily and I wouldn’t have worry about a kennel. I had not had a inside cat since a tabby kitten when I was young and at home.

When I was growing up, we did have lots of cats running around my small country town because my half-brother and two half-sisters routinely brought a stray to us every time they visited. At one time, Dad counted 35 cats running around town he feared we had a hand in bringing there, but they were all outside cats.

Enough said, I was ready. At that time, I worked at the district office for Albuquerque Public Schools as support staff for teachers. We were housed at the Montgomery Complex and did workshops and training there.

I stayed late on a evening in early February for a training I was facilitating, and as I left my office, I heard a cat meowing outside in the bushes. It was a strange cry that I later became very familiar with–a Siamese cry! I made note of it but didn’t think anything more about it.

The next day I had just finished a training across town, and my phone rang with an anxious call from one of my co-workers, “Your cat is here!” She was a cat-owner and lover and had been the strongest voice urging me to get a cat instead of a dog.

“Where are you? Can you come back to the office NOW?” she queried.

I had just finished my presentation, so I agreed to return immediately. She took me outside through the door to my office, and there stood a skittish feline eating the food my co-worker had provided. This distressed cat kept one eye on me and one on his exit route. My friend informed me, “He’s a silver-tip Siamese,” and we oohed and aahed over him.

“Take him home with you tonight! Don’t you want to?” my friend urged me.

“I’m not taking it home tonight! I have to think about it!” I resisted. Needless to say, I went home that night and dreamed of cats all night, so with assistance from my cat expert friend, I bought a litter box and food and took him home the next day.

I named him “Jesse,” a name I was almost given. After going over Jesse with a fine-tooth comb, I realized how gorgeous he was–a silver-tip Siamese but skinny. I was sure he was someone’s pet, so on Saturday, I took him to VetCo and they wanded him to see if he had a chip. He did! They called the owners and the owners called me, giving me full possession of Jesse–I was now a cat owner.

His first big mess shocked me. I was conditioning my Dad’s leather chaps and had them spread out on the living room floor. In my absence for a few short minutes, he peed on Dad’s precious chaps. I was devastated and put them up in a safe place. There was a lot I learned about being a cat owner!

That was ten years ago. Jesse is sixteen years old now and suffers from feline diabetes, so he needs insulin twice a day. He travels with me monthly to Branson and loves to go once he realizes he’s not going to the vet.

My husband, Lin, is not a cat person at all, but he compromised when we married. I think he has grown to like Jesse–they have a morning ritual of a meow-fest. Jesse responds to Lin anytime he’s around, and they go and forth meowing at each other.

Jesse and I also share a morning ritual. I write and read every morning in our library, and he snuggles up close to me–a great way to start the day. In fact, if I don’t go immediately to the library in the morning, he scolds me and goes ahead of me.

For our first three years together, Jesse wasn’t a lap kitty, but in 2012, I had shoulder surgery. He must have sensed my pain because he crawled up into my lap then, and now it has become a nightly ritual if we’re sitting on the loveseat in front of the TV. In fact, Jesse often moves to the arm of the loveseat in anticipation of us joining him.

Jesse on one of his favorite perches!

As Jesse’s aged, I’ve marveled at his resiliency. When he was diagnosed in 2016 with diabetes, he was so sick and had lost from twenty pounds (big, fat cat) to 13 pounds. The disease caused a sad limp and he couldn’t jump anymore. He couldn’t go upstairs to the loft to join me when I worked on my computer. We worked hard to get him back on his feet, and he has stayed steady at 16 pounds now.

Today, I use his ability to go up the stairs as a gauge to his health–it’s a good barometer.

What a joy he has been to me! My Mom said early on, “He’s an angel sent from God! He’s so much company for you.” I agree with her–angels come in different forms and I’m convinced he’s one.