Jack S. Bottom was born on what we are sure was a sunlit March 29th, 2006 to an unwed cat mother. He found his way to the Bellevue Humane Society in the first few weeks of his life. On July 2 (our first wedding anniversary), we wandered through the Humane Society doors in search of a black, male kitten. Our dream baby. We'd been married a year and were ready to expand our family.
We asked the front desk if they had any kittens.
"Oh shoot," said the front desk lady. "We had 14 kittens arrive this morning and the only one left is a black male who won't leave that box. We call him the Jack in the Box."
We met Jack in a small introduction room and it was love at first purr. He did his signature move almost immediately on Chuck's lap - "the upside down cat" - and we were sold. He was ours and we were his.
|First official cat photo.|
|If you look closely, you can see the mother-son similarities. Or not. Crazy cat lady...|
Jack was an incredible cat. He came when called. He sat when told. He said "mama?" when he couldn't find me - and I have many eye witnesses who can confirm this. He played fetch. He walked on a leash. He jumped on shoulders like a parrot.
He was Super Cat.
Jack's life took on a whole new meaning for us as we battled infertility. He was our baby. While others around us filled their homes with children, we poured our hearts into Jackie. He was our only baby for seven years and more than a few times, I wondered if Jack was all we would get. Jack stayed by our side through four years of heart ache, took care of me after each failed round of whatever and two chemical pregnancies, and most importantly, kept our spirits up. He was an emotional support animal above and beyond.
Almost two years ago, Jack started having digestive issues. He'd have what we termed "poopisodes" and while I won't go into insane detail, I will give you this visual: imagine a cat with diarrhea trying to run away from their own butt hole. Jack was diagnosed with, most likely, irritable bowels. He had to take this awful medication every night and he did it like a champ.
In true Jack fashion, because he was a trainable dog cat, we taught him that in case of poopisode emergencies to calmly walk to the guest bath and poop in one specific spot. I will never tell you which spot. I like have guests over too much. We have a lot of bleach here. And he would. Anytime he his IBS flared up more than his daily medication could handle, he would head to his space.
We didn't know 100% if it was IBS that was Jack's issue because the tests to conclusive identification were lengthy and just too much for what we were facing. And there was that 5% chance it could be intestinal cancer which we most certainly couldn't help.
At Sam's birthday, Jack fell gravely ill. He went from 14 pounds to 10 and wasn't active anymore. He wasn't chasing Chuck up the stairs or cuddling with me at night. Cereal cat was gone, run cat was gone, attempted escape cat was gone.
We switched medications and saw improvement.
And then he would get worse.
So we switched foods. And he got better.
And then he got way worse again.
And then this weekend Jack went from being the light of our house to hiding in the closet and no longer moving. He stopped eating. He stopped drinking. As the weekend progressed, he fell further and further from us. He now weighed just 7 pounds. By this morning, Jack could no longer walk, he couldn't lift his head, and he cried if he tried to move himself.
The doctors confirmed it was intestinal cancer after all.
And it was time.
The nurses watched Sam in the lobby while Chuck and I said goodbye to the first baby we ever loved and the one who helped us become a family. You can't tell me the timing of his death isn't a coincidence. He had gotten us to Mom and Dad, he'd done his job, his time was over. He died on his favorite blanket with his head in my hands and belly in Chuck's.
He was the best cat we could have ever asked for and we are defining hot mess over here. No one will say we are grieving gracefully. We started "losing him" about 8 weeks ago so by the time today became Today, it was the easiest decision we've ever made regarding his care.
Oh Kitten. Thanks for making me a mom and then being there when I actually became one. You meant the world to us. You made our world. You made us a family. We know that he was just a cat, but he was some cat.
Jack S. Bottom is survived by his beloved parents and his arch nemesis, Sam. He leaves behind an 8 foot tall scratching post, his favorite fluff toy, and a plethora of chap sticks, all of which are "lost" and will be found by us someday. We can only hope that in Cat Heaven, he finally earns his "Outdoor Survival Badge" and can run in the wind like he always dreamed.