Close X


Age Is in the Mind

Farewell to a brave angel (long, sorry)

July 21st 2013 1:58 pm
[ Leave A Comment | 17 people already have ]

I'm borrowing Jasper's diary for a day to let all his friends know that he went peacefully to the Bridge this morning.

He had an ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday, hopefully to find what ailment was causing him to lose weight so rapidly and become so weak and lethargic. But over the weekend, he deteriorated so quickly that we knew we had to let him go. That ultrasound wasn't for him -- it was for me, to reassure myself that he was dying of something that the vet couldn't reasonably be expected to fix. Jasper was far too old and weak to undergo surgery or chemotherapy. I didn't see the point of subjecting him to the final indignity and stress of a shave and an ultrasound.

And he let me know he was ready to go. When I would syringe-feed him, he would open his mouth dutifully and swallow the food, but he would look sadly at me and then turn his gaze away, looking fixedly over my shoulder, as if he saw something there. I hope it was not the angel of death. I hope it was his friends from the Bridge, come to show him the way.

So here is my little tribute to Jasper, my JazzerDazzer, Jazzie, Jazzbo.

I got him as 10-week-old kitten. A friend's ex-college roommate had a cat about to have kittens. The mom was a cat they had jointly owned in college. My friend went to witness the birth, and came back to announce that the litter included two orange tabbies (he knew my weakness for orangies). I went to see the kittens a few weeks later. One of the orange tabbies was gorgeous -- the color of a bright copper penny, with prominent dark orange tabby striping. The other was paler, with fainter striping. I put dibs on the copper-colored boy and said I'd be back to get him when the kittens were ready to leave their mother. I even pre-named him Russell, in tribute to another orangie once owned by a friend.

But when I went to pick up my new kitten, only the pale orange tabby was left, the other having been given away just that morning. "That's what I have left," the queen's owner said brusquely. "Take it or leave it."

The kitten looked up at me, eyes wide. Leave ME? he seemed to say. Well, no. Of course not. I took my new furry friend home.

Russell didn't seem like the right name, though. So at home, I picked up my little boy kitten and started running through the alphabet, just to see if there was a letter he liked. He meowed loudly at "J." I kind of thought I might give him an artist's name, but the only one I could think of that started with a "J" was Jasper Johns. He meowed in obvious delight and headbutted me. (Well, maybe he was just hungry and thought he'd get the naming over with.)

"Johns" was clearly going to be rendered as "John" or "Jones" by everybody, so it became Jasper instead.

Cats are singular and all wonderful in their own way, but Jasper was a delight from the start. For one thing, he had the loudest walk ever. Even when he was a three-pound kitten, you could hear Jasper striding purposefully down the hall. Thomp-thomp-thomp. It was as if he had on cowboy boots. People would see him walk into the room after stomping down the stairs and be amazed that he wasn't a Rottweiler.

And he was the most social cat I've ever had, bar none. He didn't know a stranger. He came with me to the front door when the bell rang, meowed a greeting to whoever it was, and proudly claimed them as his own by rubbing against their legs. When craftsmen came to the house to fix the furnace, install a light or whatever, he was their attentive assistant, even crawling under the kitchen sink with the plumber to inspect his work.

It was a different story with vets. For many years, his chart had a bright red "caution" sticker on it, and he was pretty good at demanding a drop for a drop when blood work was on the agenda. He did mellow out eventually with one vet, and a couple of favored techs. I learned to schedule his appointments when they were on duty.

He loved his outdoor walks on a harness. I regret that it was so hot and he was so weak that I couldn't give him that one last outdoor experience.

He welcomed new fursibs without a single hiss, and they returned the respect to the very last. Even when Jasper's dish held prized salmon or baby food or yummy soft kitten food, the other cats kept their distance and didn't nose in. They ate the leftovers only after I transferred them to their own dishes.

Well, I could go on, but this is already too long and it's getting hard to see the screen for the tears.

Goodbye, Jasper. I love you. You already know this, of course, but I'm glad I didn't get the other kitten.


Leave A Comment | 17 people already have

Purred by: Calvin ~ Knead On (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 8:45 am

I sure was sad to see that you made your journey, Jasper, but we were waiting at the gate for you with your ginormous heart basket. Purrs to your family during this sad time. They don't have to worry about you - you're going to be the most handsome angel ever with your bright wings and cowboy boots! I think we need an angel on the Fix It team, and you seem like the perfect choice for the job! Come on, pal, I'll show you around the bridge!
Purred by: Sigmund - Angel DB #58A (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 8:53 am

Welcome to the Bridge my sweet furiend! I'm so sorry you had to leave your loving family. You are a beautiful angel - fly free sweet boy.

Hugs to your mom at this sad time.

Angel Siggy
Purred by: Lisa P

July 22nd 2013 at 8:55 am

I'm crying for myself, as Jasper is at peace now with is furriends. but I will miss him terribly! So very sorry Jasper's meowmy, we love him so very much and we love you.
Purred by: Coney (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 8:58 am

I am sad for Jasper but I am glad YOU saved him for all of those years and gave him love. I wish I had known him, he sounds like a true Orangie or ginger or redhead kitty!
I am sorry you wont hear him thumping around anymore. May your memories always give you comfurt when you miss him!
Monster Coney Alvarez (on FB) and mama Valerie
Purred by: ♥Friday DB #170♥ (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 9:40 am

OH Jasper *Friday wiping at tears with paws*

We are very sad to hear the news. Your our new Angel at OKR!!~I love you so much my wonnerfur friend. Sending all of our love and thoughts to your Meowmy and furmily.

It's a very sad time, we know how you feel, as our Buddy is with you at the Bridge. Both of you got to have long full rich lives filled with love!! I wish there was something I could say or do to lessen the pain.

Will light a candle in your memory, Jasper!! Love you so very much
Purred by: Sky (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 10:12 am

Safe Journey sweet Boy. Your mommy had u for a long time but not long enough.
Purred by: Renee R

July 22nd 2013 at 10:22 am

I am so very sorry - my heart is breaking for you. I look at Jasper's face & see my own Tigger. I can only pray that I have him as long as you had your sweet boy. You can see his peacefullness & sweetness just looking at that face on his page. He was meant to be your kitty from the start! I am sure that he was looking over your shoulder at all the kitties that have gone before, beckoning him with furry paws to come & play. I know it hurts so much, and 18 years is a very long time, yet not long enough. I wish you peace in your healing & know that Jasper will be in our hearts too. Sending you many hugs. Fly free sweet Jasper - watch over your Mom. I also ask you to be a watchful guardian angel over my Tigger. Blessings.
Purred by: Rascal- our OCP Angel '94-'11 (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 11:57 am

Godspeed dear orange furriend, welcome to the bridge. Our furamily sends hugs and lots of comforting purrrs to your family as they adjust. You have earned your wings, time to fly and watch over those left behind. I have a poem on my page called "we choose tears" that was given to my mom when I earned my wings. It says it all.

Hugs and purrrrrrrrrrrrs,
Ras and the Carolina Crew
Purred by: Lily ♥ ♥ (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 12:35 pm

such a beautiful tribute for a beautiful kitty. Our softest purrs of love to you and your family.

Love always,
Lily & the Krew
Purred by: Queen Tallulah Angel Dreamgirl (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 1:17 pm

What a wonderpurr tribute to your precious Jasper, he was welcomed by us all, of course we are having so many parties today one to welcome your handsome loving Jasper.

We are so sad to hear that he had to make his journey here to be with us angel, but know he is always with you and will always watch over you.

Send purrs, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Angel love and butterflies from heaven
Purred by: Sammy (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 4:43 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your sweet Jasper, he was surely meant to be with you. Sending hugs and heartfelt purrs to you and your family.

Love from a fellow orangie and furiend,
Purred by: Zachery Tristan (Catster Member)

July 22nd 2013 at 7:01 pm

What a great story....full of life and many years of love. Reminds me of my story with Tux. When they are there through your most delicate years, they are your savior, you learn to lean on them and vice versa. They are a true best friend. One that will never be replaced in your heart.

I am so sorry.

Godspeed Jasper, your journey has just begun.
Purred by: ♥ Jezebel RIP ♥ (Catster Member)

July 23rd 2013 at 1:47 am

I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending lots of hugs and purrs.
Purred by: Rebby Angel Dreamboat #55 (Catster Member)

July 23rd 2013 at 3:37 am

What a Beautiful Tribute!! Rest in Peace Jasper.
Purred by: Patches * Our sweet Angel* (Catster Member)

July 23rd 2013 at 5:31 am

What a beautiful tribute mom,to Jasper and it sounds like he knew true love clear to the end. There is nothing more we can give them than our undivided love and he had a good life of it and souns like he gave it back. May the good memories follow you forever and the sad ones leave quickly.

Hugs and purrs
Phantom, Spice and angel Patches
Purred by: Beepers - Our Handsome Angel (Catster Member)

July 23rd 2013 at 6:10 am

We're so sorry Jasper has made his journey to the Bridge... the holes in your hearts must be huge. What a wonderful life he had with you, though, and we hope the memories from all those wonderful years will bring comfort to you. Your tribute to Jasper is beautiful.
Purred by: Misha Angel (Catster Member)

July 23rd 2013 at 6:43 am

We are so glad Jasper was your kitty. We are sad he had to leave you. We know how hard all the sickness and leaving is. We are purring for you.
Molly,Macy and I will help show Jasper around along with his many other furiends. Your tribute is lovely.
Misha and family

Enter your comment information or log in if you have an account.

Fields marked with * are required

Anti-spam Challenge:
6 + 8 =


Jasper, Angel Dreamboat #49a


Family Pets

Bear DB #165a
Angel Onyx
Severian DB
Patch, Angel
Dreamboat #49b


(What does RSS do?)