Friday, December 26, 2008

Friends Forever Friday

Jonathan came to live with my family during the summer of 1993. My mom said that she kept hearing a cat meowing at the bedroom window in the middle of the night. Dad never heard it and thought my mom was dreaming. It went on for a couple of weeks so they put out food and had a flashlight handy so when this midnight serenader came by, they might see who it was. All they could see was a black streak in the night. After about 3 weeks they could finally see him and the plan moved to luring him in. He looked like a mess, with fur falling out. In the end, he still had enough playfulness in him that he chased a string into the house and they trapped him. Mom was afraid that he'd be wild, but when he got to the vet he purred and enjoyed the exam. He spent the night at the vet while they ran tests on him. He was released the next day with a clean bill of health and a neuter. Mom and dad were sure there was no way he would consent to being an indoor kitty. They named him Scrapper John because he was a scrapper, with all the marks of being in a ton of fights. They did not know his age but the vet said he had to be a minimum of 3-5 years old to get in his condition. Later my mom did some research because his teeth were worn down and rounded, not sharp at all. Either he was eating rocks or he was more like 8-12 years old. This picture was taken of him as his fur was beginning to grow back that summer in 1993. It turns out that he didn't like being outside. He went outside every once in awhile, but for the first year or 2 he lived with my family, he stayed securely indoors, his choice. Jonathan was wise. Because he wasn't really a scrapper, his name was changed to Jonathan, because he was more gentlemanly than prize fighter.

Around 2000 or so, Jonathan had a bunch of health problems. His teeth needed work and he was diagnosed with hyperthyroid. During the diagnostic blood work they did for him, they discovered he was FIV+. Mom was in a panic, how could that happen? When he gifted himself to my family in 1993, FIV tests were not routinely run by our vet. The Dr. was pretty sure he came that way given his history and battle scars and his lack of fighting since he lived with us. All the other kitties in the house were given blood tests and all of them tested negative for FIV. Whew! In 7 years he didn't pass it along. Also because our vet said that it's mostly passed through biting, and given that my Jonathan had dull and rounded teeth, they thought he could continue to live his life with his family. He got radioactive iodine treatment for his hyperthyroid and life moved on until the fall of 2005.

Jonathan suddenly lost his sight when his retinas detached due to high blood pressure in October 2005. He endured this episode in his life with great dignity and learned to maneuver through the house just long as you didn't pick him up and carry him around without putting him back in the same position and spot he was in. He got eye drops, and his retinas reattached and eventually got his sight back but his health was beginning to decline. That's when my momma and I moved in, in May of 2006. My mom was sure that Jonathan might have trouble adjusting to us young girls, but it turns out he LOVED us. We LOVED him. Jonathan and I were inseparable.
Jonathan liked to drink water from the dripping faucet in the tub...we'd sit together and watch the water drip. I didn't want to leave his side.

This is my favorite picture of us together when I was just brand new and I thought he was the wisest and most wonderful cat on the planet.
Jonathan slowly declined and lost weight and got anemic until he finally gave up on Christmas Eve 2006. That was the day he decided he would no longer eat a bite. He also started having trouble breathing. We spent Christmas Day with him and that night we all camped out on the floor with him and read him stories and we listened to a tape of The Wind in the Willows. I stayed close to him the entire time. When we woke up, mom and dad had us say goodbye and he took that one way trip to the vet and then on over the bridge.
If my mom is right and he was at least 8 years old when he came to us then he was about 21 when he left us. My mom and dad found another family in the neighborhood up the street who had a cat who looked just like Jonathan, and he lived to be 23 years old...they could have been neighborhood cat litter mates...we'll never know for sure.
The only thing my mom and dad did special for Jonathan was good premium cat food and lots of love and a low stress life. They made sure his teeth were healthy and quickly acted if there was any sign of an infection. They gave him vitamins his last year because that's the first time he showed signs of anemia.
Jonathan had a theme song, Handle With Care by the Travelling Wilburys:
"Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up, and I've been shot down
You're the best thing that I've ever found
Handle me with care
Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
But baby, you're adorable
Handle me with care
I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won't you show me that you really care"
We all miss him very much. He taught me a lot.


Forever Foster said...

The photos of you and Jonathan are lovely. You look like such great friends. Thankyou for telling us about him. He sounds like a terrific mancat, and we are happy that you got to have him in your lives.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan sounds like he was a bundle of pure joy! And we just love that photo of the 2 of you!

(angel) Grrreta and Fam said...

That is the sweetest story. Your family was very kind to give Jonathan the forever home he deserved. He showed us how rewarding it can be to adopt an older cat or stray cat or FIV positive cat.

Anonymous said...

OH My dearest Miss Cory, you should get your Momma to help you write a book!! That is such a very, VERY lovely story!! And the pictures.. oh my goodness Momma is a little Leaky!
You have so much love in your house sweetie! We loves so very much hearing it :))) Thank you for sharing Jonathan's story:)

PES: My sisfurs lived into their 20's also :)

Parker said...

Oh what a story of love! Jonathan was a fine example of a kitty. We thank you for sharing his story.

The Island Cats said...

Cory, that was a wonderful story about Jonathan! And that photo of you and him is precious! Thanks for sharing that heartwarming made mom's day...

Everycat said...

Thank you for telling us Jonathan's story. He was a gem of a mancat. That last picture of you with him is priceless. You have good cat people Cory.

W.Wuudler esq.


Jonathan you were one wise kitty and we are glad to got to know more about you. We are so happy you lived such a long and happy life.


Gemini and Ichiro said...

That was a lovely tribute to Jonathan. That was like Georgia--her teeth were so worn when she found us and some were missing.

Quill and Greyson said...

What a lovely post and a tribute to Jonathon.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Jonathan sounds like he was a very special kitty. I love the picture of the two of you together when you first came to live with your mom.

Mickey's Musings said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!!!
We hope it was pawsome and fun :)
That was a pawsome story about Johnathan. He was such a cutie pie too :) How lucky he was to choose your place !!

Wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR too!!!!!!!!!!!

Purrs Mickey,Georgia and Tillie

The Creek Cats said...

Cory, we loved reading the story of Jonathan. With Rambler being FIV+ it gives us a lot of hope that he will live a long life, just like Jonathan did. Jonathan reminds us so much of Rambler, both being wise and gentle. We also loved seeing the pictures of you and him together. We know you all cared for him very much and he was very lucky to have found such a wonderful and caring home.

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
Purrs to all!

Zippy, Sadie, Speedy and M'Gee said...

Oh, Jonathan sounds like he was a great brofur and all around mancat. We love that piksher of yoo and him...

Cafe Cats said...

What a wonderful Guardian Angel you have, Cory. He sounds like he was furry much a gentleman cat.


Forty Paws said...

Jonathon was a very good boy. That's so sweet that he had a wonderful indoor home the last many years of his life.

Luf, Us