Many of you have become familiar with my neighbor's cat Jack from my blog posts and Facebook photos - the tiny tabby with the beautiful eyes and markings. Well, he went missing in early November of this year and has not been seen since. He is not one to go on a walkabout and he stays well away from the road so his family believes something has happened to him and unfortunately, I feel the same. My heart is broken at yet another loss this year. And this is even harder - not knowing what happened to him.
|Jack in the garden - for my photo project.|
He was not ours but my husband and I counted him as one of our own - our part time outdoor cat. Since I included him in our blog, I wanted to honor his memory and share some photos and stories of his short time with us. He was the quintessential hunter, parking himself in the crawlspace under our house, waiting for a mouse or chipmunk to nab. We never had a mouse problem when he was coming by regularly. Jack also loved to hunt voles in the garden and followed us as we weeded and worked in the flower and vegetable beds. When he got bored he would wander off a bit to nap in the sun.
|Napping in the sun|
The tall evergreen in the front yard holds the bird feeders from the lower branches but Jack never once bothered with them. Instead he would sit at the base of the tree and wait patiently for the voles to pop up out of their holes in the ground for the seeds. He was quick and would smack the vole just as they peeked out of the hole. He had his own game of Wack-a-Vole!.
|Waiting for the voles|
|He got one!|
Even though it was much closer to come to our house through the woods, Jack had an odd habit of walking all the way down his driveway and crossing over to ours where they met and then sauntering up our gravel driveway. On warm days he loved to roll in the cool gravel and cover himself with the grey dust. One day he spotted a full grown turkey in the shrubbery off the driveway. His ears perked and he assumed stalking mode, crawling through the bushes to attack the big bird! It didn't last long. I heard angry turkey sounds and Jack shot out from the hedge looking as ruffled as I have ever seen him. No more turkeys for him.
|Jack looking in on Angel Lily, Sweetpea and Tabitha.|
Our kitties got very excited whenever Jack was visiting our yard. The males would growl and fluff themselves up through the screen door but they didn't faze Jack. I had a small catnip toy I gave to Jack whenever he came to the front or back door. He would sit on the railing in front and look in the window if we hadn't seen him come. In the back, we could see him through the screen door. I still keep hoping I will see his sweet face looking in at me.
|At the back door.|
|With his nip toy.|
|Asking me to come out and play.|
As the air got cooler, Jack would sit on the dark colored roof of my car and soak up the sun, surveying his kingdom. I miss seeing his diminutive muddy paw prints on the hood and roof of our cars or his footprints in the snow of our driveway. If I had been outside with Jack and was heading to the door to go back inside, he would hiss and pummel my feet with his front paws as if to say "Hey don't go!"
|Jack's prints int he snow as he came up the driveway.|
|Sitting on my car|
I didn't see much of him during summers. When his family was home, he was with them. One winter we had a good amount of snow and Jack's human dad walked with his kids across the street to sled down the hill. Right behind them, Jack was tagging along like a dog - they hadn't seen him. When they noticed he was following them, they sent him back up his driveway to be out of harms way. He didn't look happy but he went.
We will miss so many things about this pint-sized cat with the huge personality. I am guessing he was only about six years old when he disappeared. Way too young. But as a friend told me, "Jack got to live just the way he needed and wanted. He had the best of both worlds! All the care and love and shelter from people, but the minute he walked off his property he was his own master; the dominant tiger, staking out his territory...what a blessing to live life the way you choose." Jack, as a cat, did swagger through a fun, exciting, adventure filled life. I often feel his spirit with me as I hike his woods. Fly free sweet boy. We will always remember you.