Friday, April 12, 2013

The cat that changed my life

This picture was taken in the early 1980s. Jazz would have
been about five years old. She lost an eye when she was
less than one year old, but it never slowed her down
Today is a blog hop for the Petfinder "I am a Cat Parent" campaign. I originally wrote this as a guest post for The SureFlap Blog on April 24, 2012. It is reposted here with some minor editing.

I love cats. I have always loved cats. I am not one of those people who discovered cats later in life. No, I was born with the cat lady gene.

I was the kid who always brought home stray cats - and some not so stray cats - basically any cat that walked up to me.

After I graduated from high school, my boyfriend at the time wanted a kitten, so of course I got him one - without checking with his parents first. Let me just say his mother was NOT a cat lady, so the kitten went home with me.

This cat, who was later named Jasmine (a.k.a. Jazz), became an extremely important part of my life. Any cat lady will tell you there’s one cat that truly changes your life and for me that was Jazz.

She was with me from the time I was eighteen years old and living at my mother’s house. She moved with me to my first apartment and kept me company while I adjusted to living by myself. And she went with me again when I moved in with my future husband.

Jazz adjusted to living with the two of us and even accepted the puppy I brought home. She had a series of health issues over the years and a couple of close calls, but she always bounced back. Several years later, she moved with us when we relocated from our hometown to a city about four hours away.

Jazz had the ability to adjust to anything that was thrown at her. A new human, a puppy, several moves and on-going health issues were no problem for her. She just kept going and going and going. We eventually adopted another cat, moved again and adopted yet another dog. She was queen of the household and everyone knew it, but she was a gracious queen.

Jazz lived with me for sixteen years. She was with me throughout my early adulthood and all the important changes that happened during that time. And she touched me in a way that no other pet ever had before. But eventually her little heart wound down.

I remember that day very well. We had gone away for the weekend and had just come home. She was sitting on the arm of the sofa looking so tired she could hardly keep her eyes open. She came over and sat with me, and all she wanted was to be held.

Suspecting what was happening, I held her as much as I could, but when it came time to go to bed, I put her in the bathroom and closed the door. I didn't want her going off somewhere during the night – crawling into the floor space in the basement or getting outside.

When I woke up in the morning, she had already passed away. I wrapped her in a towel and held her and cried. I called my vet to let her know that Jazz was gone. Eventually we had her cremated, and when we got her ashes back, we buried her in the backyard and planted a rosebush on top.

That was twenty years ago, and I have had many cats since then. But there will only be one Jasmine.


  1. Thank you for sharing the story of your life with Jazz. Sending you a hug.

  2. Cats in those years of our lives help to form our personalities just as much as the people we meet and the things we do. I'm so glad you could share your life with Jasmine, and she with you, and thanks for sharing her story.

  3. Awww, what a beautiful story. That was kind of how I felt about my first cat, who lived to be 19. He had been through lots of changes in those early years also - even rode with us in the car when we moved from Fla to WI, to KA, back to WI - and in those days, there were no carriers. We've loved every cat since and a dog, but Pepper will always be a little extra special. That might be because I never was allowed pets growing up. My parents said they belonged on a farm so they could run free - they were not for the city. Obviously, my parents were born and raised on a farm and that is just the way it was!f Since I moved out at 19, I have not been without an animal in the house, except maybe a month or two after a pet had crossed the bridge. Hugs!

  4. Jazz looks like she was very special and well loved. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  5. Jazz was your heart kitty - and those hold a special place in your heart forever. Our mommy knows - she had Ryker. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Oh Vicki - such a touching and heartfelt story. Thank you for sharing. I have a Jazz, but he is a Jazz, and not a Jasmine. He is winding down as well, and I know my time with him is limited. I love him dearly and know just how you feel when a special kitty touches your heart.

  7. It is sad hearing about the loss of a friend. One of our three passed three years ago and my daughter still misses her.