Friday, September 16, 2011

the transgender kitty or I ain't so dum after all

Bet that title caught your attention.

I promised I'd tell Jezzie's story. Our family cat was born to a feral mother who was one of countless feral cats living within the confines of Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California. The rides / animal park keeps cats to help with the resident rodent population. Jezzie's parents were feral, his sire was as big as Jezzie is now, only a little thinner and a whole lot meaner (and tore up from fights).

When Sam brought the 8 week old kitten home, we believed the little furball to be a female. Sam named her Jezebel. We had no reason to doubt the biologists, not our veterinarian's word. At the appropriate age, Jezebel went in for her spay appointment. Imagine our surprise when we went in to pick her up the next day, only to be told she was actually a he!

The vet said he went on 'our' word. He said we always seemed to know what we were talking about when we brought our animals in, so he trusted us. He OPENED Jezzie up and discovered the error! Lucy, you've some 'splaning to do! I mean, really, don't veterinarians check first, just in case owners screw up?

It's no wonder our furry friend has a touch of attitude.

We changed Jezebel to Jezzie.

We also found a new veterinarian.

Luckily, Jezzie didn't suffer any physical problems from his almost spaying, but he was neutered (& micro-chipped). He grew, and grew, and grew. I guess regular meals let his Maine Coon ancestry kick in. Jezzie and Pu Yin (our 7 year old Chinese Shar-Pei) became friends.

When Jezzie turned a year old, Pu started getting sick. His tumor on his neck was growing rapidly. Because of the placement, we'd not been able to have it removed, but up the that time, it hadn't affected him. We took Pu on a weekend trip to Monterey. Up to that point, Pu would never voluntarily step in water. That weekend he walked up to the tide pools and waded hock deep in the water. Andy, Sam, and I knew then he was on his last legs.

When we came home, Pu had that look in his eye, and Jezzie kept by his side. They stayed together until the day we took Pu to the vet for his last ride. Jezzie walked around the house and yard, looking for Pu. After that day, he refused to lay down on Pu's doggie bed, or the futon where Pu sometimes crashed.

Jezzie did make friends with Moshuh, only this time he became the 'top dog'. Jezzie matured and became the terror of the neighborhood cats. It took about three fights, which Jezzie won hands hand, to make him King Kitty. When Jezzie went out front, the rest of the cats ran back home.

A neighbor of ours was into racing. He worked on his cars on his days off. He had his own forklift he used when working on engines. Each time brought out the forklift, Jezzie ran over to the machine, hissing & fluffed up, trying to paw at it.

Jezzie was a mouser. Unfortunately, he didn't restrict his hunting to mice only. He brought squirrels, pigeons, and sparrows inside on a frequent basis. We were more impressed with the fight we didn't see: one morning we went out back to find the grass covered in seagull feathers. We never found the bird, though. Jezzie also won a fight with a possum. That's a tough cat.

Jezzie was known for wandering. He would accompany any of us when we took Pu for walks, no matter where we went. There was a quickie mart around the corner from our house. The place was good for getting milk or other odds & ends, and it was walking distance. If any of us went there, Jezzie always went along, even sneaking inside the store when he could. Our son said he found the cat five or six blocks away on multiple occasions.

It's a miracle Jezzie wasn't hit by a car.

Jezzie's favorite place to lounger was hidden in between plants by the pond. He'd hunch down and watch the goldfish swim, occasionally trying to hook one with a claw, but never succeeding. He did get a bird once in a while when one would stop by the waterfall to get a drink. He jumped the back fence (8 feet) and ran around the neighbor's yard, teasing his three pitbulls. I swear the cat had a death wish.

When we moved to Las Vegas, Jezzie spent most of the eight hours in his carrier. I say most because the black-furred Houdini managed to undo the hinges and escape while I was driving on I-5. He crawled under my seat. I called Sam on the radio (we had Motorola hand-helds) and told him I was pulling over to re-capture the cat). Not a fun drive. Moshuh had tangled his seat belt. It was 100+ degrees outside. Never will I travel in the summer with animals again.

Jezzie hated Las Vegas. No grassy yard, no pond to attract bird. No tree-lined neighborhood to terrorize. He gained some extra weight, topping the scales at 22 pounds. The new vet put him on a diet. We learned early, you don't piss off a Maine Coon.

He destroyed furniture. He would climb up on tables or counters and knock off objects. He smacked Moshuh, leaving scars. He ripped weather stripping from doors. He chewed up carpet. He ate the dog's food if he had half a chance.

I finally gave in and upped his portions enough to stop some of his antics when he weighed in at 20 pounds. Now he's at 19. He's more active, and has stopped killing furnishings.

Jezzie is on his third home. He didn't care for the winter snow, but he is settled in to the neighborhood. Two cats have tried testing him so far. He sat on them. We've not seen there near the yard since.

Remember the mouse problem? Solved! Jezzie has killed two, and one bird. Looks like he likes this new home. I'm sure he'll be a lot happier when I start work on the landscaping. Most of our efforts to now have been inside the money pit, except for two flower beds near the front door and two vegetable gardens in the back. Don't worry, I have plans. I will have a pond again.

Stay safe out there.

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