September 04, 2003


Jake was a bad tabby cat. We got Jake just about 5 years ago as a kitten, rescuing him and one of his sisters (Maddie). They both got their shots, id chips, collars, and neutered and spayed respectively. It's funny how much my "free" pets have cost. Anyway, Jake had a sweet disposition and was really good with kids, but he was loud when we wanted to be quiet, often annoying, and frequently destructive. We had him declawed, which worked for a while, but after a couple of years he started spraying in the house. By now, I was ready to get rid of Jake. So, as a compromise Jake became predominantly an outdoor cat. He became a permanent outdoor cat about two months ago when he came into our bed while we were sleeping in it and urinated on it between my wife and I. Jake was rapidly using up all his lives as far as I was concerned. Then Jake nipped a little girl a couple of blocks away who had been petting him. We never learned all the details, but that seemed out of character for Jake. The animal control folks came by and took Jake away and after a mandatory quarantine period he was free again. Well, you know what I think we should have done, but we didn't. Then two weeks ago, one of our neighbors informed us that Jake was coming into their house at night through their cat flap and fighting with their cats. What made it stranger is that they have a full grown Labrador, but then again, Jake was always brave and elusive. So Jake started spending his evenings in a large outdoor cage. My wife is definitely a cat person, but even she had become fed up with Jake and his antics.

About 6:30 tonight, Jake got hit by a car and killed. Daughter #1 is devastated. Fortunately, while daughter #2 is a little sad she doesn't seem to care that much. My wife is a little relieved since she no longer has to deal with the problems Jake has been causing. I honestly will not miss Jake, but I do feel for my daughter and what she's going through. This might be the first death of a pet she was emotionally attached to that she's had to deal with. Maddie, Buddy (our dog), Pujenkins (her lizard), and her fish are helping console her a bit, but tomorrow or the next day, I expect we'll be looking for a new kitty to rescue.


Posted by Charles Austin at September 4, 2003 10:58 PM

My condolences to your daughter. I hope the pet situation works out to your satisfaction, though I suspect that your daughter has different user requirement than you do....

Posted by: Martin at 05:09 AM

We put our cat to sleep about 3 years ago. Our boys handled it fine. About a year or two ago our golden retriever, Alex, was pretty sick and looked to be on his last legs (he's 14 now). It bothered Son #1 alot thinking that Alex may die soon. He spent a good portion of the next couple of days outside with Alex just generally caring for him, petting, feeding, etc. I think this was probably the best thing he could do. Alex recovered and is doing ok for a 14 year old dog with arthritis in his hips. I wasn't really worried about Son #1, though, because he's had to deal with far worse than a dog dying. Just make sure you and your wife love your daughter, give her simple but truthful answers to any questions, and she should be fine. Kids are amazing.

Posted by: Jon at 09:47 AM

I have two labrador retrievers and they are the most lovable, gorgeous, and profoundly useless animals God created. My eight year old female routinely goes belly up in front of our neighbor's cat. And if our house were to be broken into by burglars, I'm sure our dogs would readily lead them to the jewelry and good silverware if there were any possibility of getting some kind of food in return. Bah. No wonder Jake had the run of your neighbor's house.

Posted by: greg at 09:47 AM

i'm sorry. for your daughter mostly, but these things are never simple for anyone.

maine coons are supposed to be very dog-like cats, that chirp instead of yowling and come when you call them. and there's a rescue society in town. i know that's exactly what you wanted to hear.

Posted by: redsugar at 07:09 PM

the answer to aggressive male cats is to snip them early, before their male hormones start.

Or get a lady cat, and also get her snipped early so you don't end up with kittens.

I have two cats, and when we lived in the country we were always losing our cats to dogs, hit by a car, or illness (cat leukemia). Now I have two fixed females, and they are lovely...even though one was a stray that walked in, and the other was a kitten from a mother cat who walked in and hid and had five kittens....

Posted by: nancy reyes at 03:12 PM