In the fall of 2013 I started feeding a little brown tabby cat that was sleeping in the front garden. I took it slow, not wanting to approach him too quickly and scare him away. As the weather was getting colder, I knew it was time to meet the little guy face to face
I approached the garden with treats in hand. Before I could set the treats down, he jumped out of the bushes with the biggest meow as if to ask , “What took you so long?”
Within a few moments he was in the carrier and we were off to the vets. There was no microchip and after two weeks no one had come to claim him.
I knew the moment he fell asleep exhausted in my arms that first night, that if no one came for him, he would have a home with me.
He was malnourished, only 6 pounds, but full of energy. He was diagnosed with diabetes and he had to have dental surgery, removing all of his front teeth, except one. When he looked up at me and meowed, that’s all I saw.
For awhile Joey lived in the basement, while he got used to his new home and eventually got to know the other three cats.
When he moved upstairs, he had a lot of exploring to do. He had to check out all the toys. He was very possessive, lying on top of the toy box. The other cats learned not to bother him.
I quickly found out that Joey had a temper. I was holding him and without warning he hit me across the forehead with his claws. It wasn’t a serious scratch, but I sure was surprised.
Not long after that, Joey decided he was going to sleep in my bed, on my pillow behind my head. I was a bit nervous, waiting for another hit in the head while sleeping, but it never happened. He slept the night, with his feet resting in my hair. This was his routine for the next five years.
Here he is getting comfy on the bed. He had his choice of places to sleep, but one of his favourites was the bedroom closet on the shoes.
Whenever I couldn’t find him, I knew he was sleeping there.
Everything belonged to Joey. He made a bed on my treadmill and took over my desk. He would gather up my loose papers into a pile and make a bed. I couldn’t have them back until he decided he was finished with them.
Food was Joey’s favourite thing in life. I’ve never seen a cat so obsessed with food. He wanted to see food in his bowl all the time. If I wasn’t fast enough feeding him, he’d swat at my legs, without the claws. One time I found him under the kitchen sink with his head in the garbage bucket scrounging for scraps. I tied the doors after that. I guess he was so used to looking for food on the street that he thought he’d do it here.
Despite being diagnosed with diabetes Joey was full of energy and fun. He didn’t play a lot with toys, but he did love his tunnel. He came up with his own game. He would hide in the tunnel and jump out when he saw my feet. I’d stomp my feet and he’d run back to the tunnel to continue the game.
Another favourite game was, “Chase Sammy.” Sammy had a terrible habit of hissing at Joey and his own brothers. Joey couldn’t ignore it like the other two. One hiss from Sammy and the chase began. I’d find them in another room, with Sammy in a corner or under the bed and Joey in front of him. I’d break them up and everything went back to normal until Sammy hissed again.
I was surprised how well he fit in with the other three cats. I think his favourite was Mookie because they were the same size. He always wanted to be near Mookie.
Joey loved the porch as much as the other three cats. After his time on the street, I think he was happy to see the world through the window. There was one chair in the porch and Joey took it. The other cats never tried sitting there.
Joey wasn’t with us very long, passing away from cancer after 5 years. I’m so thankful that he chose this house. I think he must have seen the cats at the window and decided he wanted to be part of the family.
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