We once had a cat named Jones. She was also known as the fat ninja, Bustopher, Sweet Baby Jones, Miss Jones, Jonesy, Queen of Slatterns, Idly Bethesda, and Numpkin. Either she was my familiar, or I was hers. She was the love of my life.
It’s been about six weeks since she died; the hurt is so big I haven’t really been able to approach it until the last few days. Whatever part of me put all my love and grief for her on ice decided this week that it was time to start thawing and I can’t stop crying.
When she and her family arrived at our place in 2005, her infant cuteness was the catalyst to us adopting them all. Early on, before we’d made that official, she chose me: I was sitting on the living room floor, watching her and her siblings, Jeoffy and Aoki, play; they were maybe six weeks old. Jones left them to come lay on my leg and go to sleep. I knew what that meant; I welcomed it and was grateful.
This little girl, who I originally pegged as a little boy, quickly became entirely herself: She was full of love, had no qualms about demanding affection whenever she wanted it (which was often). She was an awkward weirdo, but she also moved with surprising stealth: in early kittenhood, she once went up into a baseboard heater in our apartment to sleep while we lost our minds trying to find her. She was a fat ninja who could float silently up onto the highest surfaces to take other cats’ food (and would begin eating more quickly once discovered, rather than run away).
Jones loved her cat family but B. and I were her sun and her moon; being with either or us, or both, was everything. She loved being held like a baby or being draped over my right shoulder, where she should would of course purr up a storm but also kiss my nose, my glasses, my cheek. She slept between our pillows and made us feel safe.
For a long time, she was just plain happy. Her health troubles began around age 12, I think, when she was diagnosed with colitis. We started her on prednisone, which worked like a dream for that but resulted in a torn ligament in her knee, which predictably led to arthritis. Like the others, Jones also developed kidney disease. But she remained incredibly happy.
She was so good-natured, so silly, so in love with everything, so beautiful, so youthful before losing Jeoffy in July 2021 started visibly aging her (and the rest of us).
A few months before Jones died, it began to look like her life was winding down. Her arthritis quickly got much worse and more difficult to manage; in the last month, she couldn’t handle much time on my shoulder or being held like a baby; she started to have accidents because getting into and out of the litter box became a struggle; she started to lose weight.
A couple weeks before we lost her, we learned she was dying because of fluid around her lungs and what were likely tumours in her lungs. Our vet said Jones might have two months left but she definitely didn’t have six.
We set about to focusing on making her comfortable and watching for the moment when we could no longer do so. I spent a lot of time in bed with her in her last weeks, petting and kissing her, and rubbing her belly.
But I couldn’t keep my shit together; I’d start crying and she’d console me, putting one little old paw on my shoulder and looking adoringly at me. Other times, I’d just kiss and kiss her lovely old face cupped gently in my hands, or I’d lay next to her with my cheek pressed to hers.
In the early morning of the day we said goodbye, I woke up and found her still in bed with us; I rubbed her belly and stroked her face and she simply purred, loudly and happily, like there’d never been any pain or sorrow in the world.
Jones made the sorrows and pains of this world much easier for us to carry. I hope we did the same for her.