Life Without Jeter


many of you know that shortly after Thanksgiving last year I lost a very special buddy, but you know what? I was not the only one who suffered a loss last Fall.  As badly as I was missing Jeter, I could tell that Joba was taking the loss just as hard as I was.  And because we’ve received so many inquiries about how both of us are doing since Jeter lost his valiant but shockingly brief battle with cancer, I thought I’d give you this update.

We lost our Jeter the week after Thanksgiving. In the first few days that followed I hardly saw Joba. It was pitiful but for the most part he pretty much just stayed holed up in our closet in the dark. And sadly, I could immediately tell when he had ventured out of his hidey-hole, because he was crying… whining…calling… yowling…. whatever you want to call it.

It was obvious he was searching for his friend. 🙁

And it’s no wonder. He was only 6 weeks old when we took him in,  one of 5 kittens born to a stray in the neighborhood of one of my friends.

It was really no surprise that when he saw Jeter that it was love at first sight for him since his mother was also a black & white tuxedo cat! (Did Jeter feel the same way about Joba? Not so much at first!)

Joba shadowed him for days trying his best to snuggle with him, especially at night. The big guy finally relented, and before I knew it, they were inseparable BEST friends!

Which was great… but here’s the deal. I don’t really know how cats communicate to each other (who does, right?) so I don’t know if Joba CHOSE to always defer to Jeter (because he was older, or parental, or scary maybe?…) or if Jeter somehow told him how it’s  gonna be.  Because here’s the way life’s been around here ever since Joba came to live with us.

1. Joba always, ALWAYS let Jeter go first. Whether it was eating, pottying, drinking water out of the faucet, getting rubs, no matter what… the big guy went first.

2. Joba never played with toys or with us once Jeter entered the room. Even if he was really having fun, he would stop on a dime the very second Jeter appeared. And here’s the thing, Jeter would always appear if heard the sound of play because NO ONE liked to play more than he. No matter how I tried to get Joba to join in, he never would… if Jeter was there.

3. Joba ate dry food exclusively, which was in direct opposition to Jeter who was a canned food fanatic. I tried my best to interest Joba in canned food because I’ve been told that dry food only diets sometimes caused UTI’s, but no, nothing worked. I just concluded he didn’t like canned food.
4. Joba never begged for food. Jeter could be howling his head off for breakfast, but Joba was silently waiting his turn.

5. Which brings up my last point… that Joba was virtually silent. He almost never made a noise of any type. No meowing, no yowling and no purring.

So… Now maybe it’s a little easier to understand how sad and unsettling it was when Joba started his yowling routines after Jeter died. He was in what can only be described as a depression for close to two weeks. It was VERY difficult to watch.

Several friends & family members have suggested I adopt a companion for Joba, but quite honestly I just wasn’t ready for that. It just didn’t seem like the right time. And now, 3+ months out there have been MORE interesting changes in Joba’s behavior that I can’t easily explain, for example;

1. Guess who my #1 playmate is now? If you guess Joba, you are right! Everynight, around 10 or so, he shows up bearing toys… a feather, a stuffed mouse, a ball of tin foil. Turns out he really does love to play, especially when no one shows up to tell him otherwise, right?

2. As it turns out…  Joba actually LOVES canned cat food! I had quite a bit of canned food leftover after Jeter died, so one day on a lark I offered Joba some and lo & behold, he ate it… with gusto! And not only that day… but every day since. So I’m thinking, “WHAT?” Which makes me wonder, do you think Jeter somehow communicated to Joba that canned food was off-limits to him?

3. Now Joba seems to be constantly begging for food. As a matter of fact, anytime I go into the kitchen, he thinks its time to eat and doesn’t hesitate to let me know it!

So….What do you make of this complete makeover?

Do you think Joba’s complete personality change is more a function of:

a) finally getting a chance to come into his own and be the “lead cat”?…. or…..

b) Jeter not being here to boss him around and tell him what he can and cannot do?

And… here’s the BIG question!

Which do YOU think is more important right now?

Adopting a buddy for Joba?  –or– Giving Joba a little more time to “grow up” so HE can be the lead cat when we finally  introduce a new friend to the mix?

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