Jasper was meant to live with us. I met Jasper 12 years ago while on a photo assignment for the Valley Times, now the East Bay Times. The Valley Humane Society was moving from its Spring Street location to larger and better quarters in Pleasanton, California. He was among the cats that needed homes before the big move. After a family conference, I went back to adopt Jasper. He was a garbage can kitty — literally thrown into the trash. Someone brought him to VHS, which raised him until he was old enough to adopt.
Separated from his mama at too young an age, Jasper did not learn what was food and what wasn’t. No shoelace, no fuzzy kitty toy, no brand-new-never-worn wool sock, no fluffy blanket or towel was safe from him. Woe to the person who ignored the warning to put shoes away in the closet. We were surprised when we did not find quilts in the litter box.
Despite his quirky diet (he eventually learned to prefer what was in his dish), we found him to be the friendliest cat to live with us. Any visitor became his instant friend. He never met a lap that didn’t inspire him to curl up and purr.
Jasper became ill, stopped eating and struggled to breathe. X-rays made at the vet’s office showed severe congestive heart failure and other major health problems. He would not get well. The horribly difficult decision to do what was best for him was made. There will never be another cat like him. The house feels different. Thank you, Jasper, for being a great companion.