|Birth: ||Jul. 1, 1995|
|Death: ||Sep. 17, 2002|
"But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and Educator - A Gleam of Sunshine ~
The sudden illness and the following shock of losing Spook in May, 2000 was devastating. I was plagued with constant thoughts of "Why didn't I rush her to the vet sooner?" And in the back of my mind, I worried about Cuddles' failing health. How I missed Spook's non-stop little mouth and insistent kneading!
A friend, Jacqui, called in late June letting me know about a little female black cat at a PetSmart store in her area. She and her husband, Lee, had visited the store in search of adopting another tabby. We kept thinking about this cat, wondering if her color would be a strike against her finding a new home. With each phone call and email, Jacqui and I discussed the plight of this little black cat who had been named Missy by the local Humane Society.
Missy had been dumped on the Society's doorstep. They had enrolled Missy in PetSmart's Luv-a-Pet program. The good thing about the program is, she would never be euthanized. However, she would be forced to live in a cage until adopted.
For the next two weeks, Jacqui would tell me that Missy was still there in that tiny cage, still waiting for her forever home. Our hearts would break with each conversation as we cried for hours over the phone hoping Missy wouldn't be there the next time they went back, but yet there she'd be - still waiting. Finally, they said they would seriously consider adopting her. I couldn't help but sigh a huge sigh of relief. Missy would be loved dearly in their home.
Meanwhile, during the first week of July, Jacqui went back to the PetSmart and found out that Missy had been there since April 11th. Apparently, someone just dumped her out at the Frederick County HS. They knew nothing about her, not even her age. When she stopped to talk with Missy, the poor little girl wouldn't even look up at Jacqui. She tried to tempt Missy with the feather toy they keep there, but she didn't even move. She was deeply depressed and appeared to be feeling badly.
Jacqui talked it over with Lee that day. The shelter said since Missy had a severe respiratory infection and one of their cats had severe asthma, poor Missy would have to be quarantined in their home for several weeks. It would not be fair to Missy to bring her into that type of situation, no matter how deeply they wanted to bring her out of that horrible environment.
No cat will ever replace our precious Spook, but I felt like it was time to offer our home to another little black cat. I told Jacqui as soon as Craig got home from work I'd talk it over with him. The following week he would be on vacation, so if he was in agreement, I would call her back to let her know we'd mutually agreed on Missy's adoption. Though we both were crying as we hung up, we both felt better and hoped Missy would still be there the following day, Saturday, for Jacqui to start the adoption process.
Needless to say, Craig was game. There was no greater animal lover than my Craig. He was worried about Missy, too, once he'd heard her story in full. And so, we planned our 1,400 mile trek (one way) to adopt an unwanted, unloved little black girl cat.
Sunday it was after midnight before we left Keithville, headed east for the Mississippi state line. Because of Cudz' extremely poor health and need for daily medication, she traveled with us. With every mile, we kept discussing this little cat and tossing about names we both liked but hoped would suit Missy. We knew for a fact we wouldn't keep the name Missy since we already had a little Missy in our lives. All the way across Louisiana and Mississippi, we still hadn't found that perfect name. Just as we approached our exit to head north about half-way through Alabama, it came to me - why not name her after Jacqui and Lee? Would they be offended or honored? The name JacquiLee sounded so right to both of us, for we both loved the name. We hoped our friends would be in agreement.
We drove non-stop. Nineteen plus hours later, we pulled up in front of Jacqui's Maryland home. I could barely contain myself. I could hardly get through the welcomes of seeing Jacqui and Lee. I wanted to see JacquiLee.
As we went up the stairs, they began telling us of the pathetic sight that met them when JacquiLee was picked up. She had a horrible, horrible upper respiratory infection as Jacqui had mentioned. When the adoption papers were drawn up, the records showed that she'd been up for adoption for over 5 months with another group and one month with the current group before that little girl was ever spayed. We were absolutely astounded that any Humane Society would permit this. Furthermore, she was in such bad shape back in April, that the first vet who examined her believed she was 11 years old. As soon as adoption papers had been finalized the day before, she had taken JacquiLee to her own cats' vet for a thorough examination. JacquiLee was thought to be around 4 - 5 years old. She was given an antibiotic injection, eye drops for the URI, and drops for a bad case of ear mites.
We entered her room and there she was - our small, beautiful, sleek and shiny Spook staring back at us. The strong, strong resemblance was a shock, though so very comforting at the same time. She seemed very friendly, but didn't want to be held or touched. We talked softly with her and tossed around her toys for a few minutes getting to know her. What a charming, sweet little cat she was. Our hearts ached to know that this loving cat had been passed over for adoption time and time again. We worried about Cuddles being with her because of the URI, but it was a risk we felt we had to take. No need to worry, however, for Cudz never contracted any sort of URI from JacquiLee.
She traveled home to Louisiana beautifully with Cuddles. Dr Steve agreed that she was around five years old. We continued the medications for weeks on end, she was tested for various infectious cat diseases, and went through the series of kitten shot vaccinations to make sure she was protected from those deadly diseases. She had only received her rabies in Maryland.
She fit right in with the other Kiddens. It was as though she'd always been a member of our household - quiet and reserved, dignified, and eternally patient. When we brought in four little kittens of feral mom Boopsie, JacquiLee immediately adopted them. All the vets she'd seen were sure she'd had numerous litters when they had examined her. She groomed, disciplined, and slept with the kittens. She grieved when Smut escaped (never to be found) from the house. She loved and cared for those four as though they were her own.
When we lost Cudz to renal failure in August 2000, JacquiLee seemed disoriented for several days, though it was our then 15 year old Dani who truly showed signs of depression and deep grief for weeks on end. But we believe that the little kittens helped JacquiLee to not grieve deeply. Since Cudz was the first of the cats she was around, she and Cudz had gotten along very well and formed a bond by sharing resting places during the day.
Craig and I felt so good to provide a loving home for this little black cat who so desperately needed one. Losing both Spook and Cuddles so close together had broken our hearts. We needed JacquiLee as much as she needed us. She was truly a joy to be around.
Less than eight months after we brought JacquiLee home, the humane society where she originally came from - the same people who did NOT spay her or treat her chronic case of URI before handing her over to PetSmart - had their doors permanently shut due to their treatment of animals and improper bookkeeping. Craig and I were elated. Never again will that organization neglect and abuse another animal in its care.
Spring of 2002 JacquiLee was finally letting us scritch and rub her ears. The dreadful ear mite case must have left deep rooted memories of pain if her ears were touched. She loved to lay on the back of the sofa when I read or watched TV. She had begun spending hours at my feet while I was on the computer. She loved the petting and loving, but didn't like to be picked up, held, or handled for long.
In July she had her annual checkup with Dr Steve. Her physical exam and blood work showed a wonderfully healthy cat. She was still at her nine pound weight at time of adoption two years previously. July is the month we adopted her and also chose for her birthday, so she celebrated her seventh in excellent health.
In early August my mother had another heart stent surgery, my grandmother fell for the second time, and our precious Dani took a turn for the worse. For three weeks we worried that she wouldn't make it another day. In the midst of this, we noticed JacquiLee making wheezing noises, hunching her shoulders up as she tried to inhale and exhale. I brought JacquiLee in to Dr Steve for a barrage of tests and complete blood work. Her WBC had skyrocketed causing the pathologist to diagnose inconclusive FIA (Feline Infectious Anemia); her weight had dropped to 7 pounds, four ounces. However, Dr Steve was more worried about the possibility of asthma or bacterial infection, perhaps even a fungal infection and began treating her with cortisones and B-12 injections. He sent home several different drugs in liquid and, later, in pill form. Though she became better the first week, she began to wheeze even more than before during the second. He had us start her on 5mg of Preds daily in hopes of shrinking the inflamed air passages to enable her to breathe more comfortably.
Two days later I rushed her to him before the clinic was opened, frantically ringing the back doorbell. He answered the door and hurriedly ushered me into an exam room. I told him we'd found a lump in the front of her throat over the weekend, a lump that wasn't there when he'd done xrays and the other tests. I'd stopped the Baytril and Pred over the weekend because she was having such a horrible difficulty in swallowing. He immediately sent us to Dr Nancy Treadwell, a veterinary internal medicine specialist in Shreveport.
She went in for a punch of the mass that was pressing against the larynx, telling me that she had her suspicions of cancer but wouldn't voice an opinion until the 24 hour pathology lab had reviewed the cells. JacquiLee stayed under oxygen therapy for nearly six hours and was able to breathe much, much better. She'd weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces. I brought her home for the night and took her back on September 16, 2002.
At noon Dr Treadwell's staff called telling me that the pathology lab was behind and to come get JacquiLee for another night. My heart filled with dread because JacquiLee had managed to swallow only a half teaspoon of food in our care and her breathing was terribly, terribly more labored than ever at the clinic, even with oxygen therapy. When I arrived at the clinic, Dr Treadwell was on the phone in another room, speaking in a raised, angry voice. Ten minutes later I heard the fax machine going. The despair rose from deep inside me. Moments later Dr Treadwell entered my room to tell me she'd just received the report.
It was definitely cancer. The mass was rapidly growing and was so aggressive that the lab couldn't even determine the type of cancer. Only by the class of cells were they able to know that it was horribly aggressive, incurable and inoperable.
At 2:45 on the afternoon of September 17, 2002, I helped JacquiLee leave this terrible world for animals for a better life at the Bridge, stroking and talking to her until the last beat of her little heart. She's in a better life filled with wholesome fresh air and happiness for cats. Cud-Cat and she are united once more.
I picked up her ashes the following morning, September 18. She lives on in my heart and mind forever.
IMPORTANT: The time frame of six to eight weeks before Halloween each year is extremely dangerous for all animals, but especially so for cats ... even more frighteningly dangerous should your cat be black. Please, PLEASE take a few moments each day taking additional precautions to make sure your cat(s) or other pet(s) is/are safe during the holiday season. Follow and promote safety precautions for animals, especially black cats and dogs, during the Halloween season and throughout the year.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashed given to her parents, Craig and Suse Bachman.
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Jul 15, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93606599