The ‘Writers and Their Pets’ series began with my own desire to celebrate my dog Sally, and since then I have also invited other writers to share with the rest of us the details of their lives with beloved pets. Today, please enjoy this essay by our blog editor, Andrew Ladd.
—Ladette Randolph, Editor-in-Chief
Many of the essays we’ve featured in the Writers and Their Pets series have been touching accounts of lost or deceased pets—but when I sat down to write my own contribution, about my wonderful two-and-a-half-year-old cat, Jack, I wanted to strike a happier note. The problem was, happy is hard to do, the narrative arc less obvious—and while that was a nice problem to have it was a problem nevertheless: I just couldn’t find a good story to tell about him.
I got Jack with my wife Mallory—then just my fiancée—the night before Thanksgiving in 2011. He was about six months old and recently rescued from a hoarder, and at the shelter he was sharing a cage with so many other cats he’d resorted to sleeping in the litter box. He smelled like it, too, when the staff fished him out for us to take a look at, but he nuzzled so quickly into my shoulder—and showed such terrified resistance when we tried to put him back—that our hearts crumpled. (Besides, we figured: we could always give him a bath.)
He was a white-and-orange tabby and so his papers, predictably, said Garfield—but we quickly rechristened him Jack Meower, after the main character on the TV show 24. Like his namesake, too, he turned out to have boundless energy, improbable agility, and superlative cunning, and he often drove us to despair getting inside and behind and on top of things we were sure we’d fully catproofed.