Jessie and his brother Jay were trapped a number of years ago as strays. Clearly siblings in appearance and attitude, they were very close and often seen together, as Ann tells it, moving around like a small school of fish. It wouldn’t be unusual to find both brothers inhabiting the same lap, happily purring and drooling in unison.
Around two years ago, Jay was ill with something or other – nothing out of the ordinary, from the sounds of it – and was put in a cage while he received his course of meds. One day Ann went in the cage to feed or clean and, to her horror, found Jay dead. It turned out he’d had a heart condition that no one had known about. He was a young cat and there’d been no sign. It came as a terrible shock to all.
This all happened before my time at the sanctuary, so I can’t say just how Jessie responded to the loss of his brother other than he must have missed him terribly.
Last October, Jessie had to spend some time in a cage to be treated for gingivitis and to generally fatten him up. Then as soon as December/January, Jessie was back in a cage, this time with an ear hematoma which needed to be drained and treated repeatedly, meaning he had to not only be stuck in a cage but to face the ever unpopular prospect of needles as well.
After all this, Jessie was no longer the friendly cuddlepuss ready to drool on all comers, becoming instead shy and skittish. Only recently is he starting to show glimpses of his old self.
I often see him on the porch at the back of the doublewide, where joins Harley, Audrey Hepburn and sometimes Bandit in cheerfully hassling me for a cuddle. Since the winter he’s gone from being contented with a few pats, to climbing on my lap, to finally yesterday welcoming being picked up. He allowed Ann to pass him back and forth between us, purring the whole time. She did caution me against trying to walk around while holding him just yet, though – this apparently still makes him start suspecting a cage plus poking and prodding might be in his immediate future.
Updated January 21, 2011: Jessie sadly left us yesterday. Very sad news for all of us who loved him, but for Jessie, think of him as having gone to join the brother he loved so much.