Remembering Jellybean

My oldest cat died yesterday. His name was Jellybean, and he has been a part of my life for a decade. He’s the big black cat you see in the banner at the top of this blog. It was such a strange sensation this morning to wake up without hearing him howl for his food. Feeding him and playing with him was such a part of my morning routine that it will be a big adjustment not to have him here. It will be a big adjustment not to have him lying on my legs as I sleep at night.

He always liked using me as a pillow.

He was a five-year-old rescue cat when we got him. It was at one of those events where people set up in front of a store and bring a bunch of animals for customers to look at and adopt on their way in or out. Everyone else was fawning over the cute kittens, but my mom saw a lonely, giant, back cat sitting in the corner and felt for him. She was told he had been hit by a car, and a veterinarian managed to stitch him back together. He had spent a year recovering at a cage-free, no-kill animal rescue facility in our area called H.A.R.T., and it was H.A.R.T. that put him up for adoption as part of their mission to ensure all of their animals find loving homes.

Jellybean certainly had a loving home with us. As soon as we let him out of the pet carrier into our house, he started making himself at home. Jellybean definitely had an alpha male personality, not taking very well to being scolded for tatting on the sofa and refusing to let any other cats into his little kitty domain. When I went to play with him, he would catch the toy and then sit on it, immediately stopping the play session so everyone would know it was HIS toy, dang it!

Nothing annoyed him more than when I put the toy on top of him!

He was a fussy eater, too. If he could see the bottom of his food dish, he would start to go into a panic, like he thought we would never feed him again.

He was definitely a lap cat, though. He enjoyed jumping up in our laps and cuddling with us as we watched TV. Once he was comfortable, he would even bury his face in our bellies. I tell you, nothing tickles like a cat’s face rubbing your stomach. Another thing he loved was when my mother gently massaged his front paws. That would get him purring really loudly. So would lying on a batch of nice, clean, fresh-from-the-dryer clothes.

Things got a bit more complicated in 2012 when a feral calico cat had a litter of three kittens in our backyard. We started feeding these cats and giving them attention, and one of the kittens, Winkin, decided she really, really liked me.

This is Winkin. You probably recognize her, too, from this blog.

Winkin may have been born feral, but unlike her two sisters and her mother, she has basically become a domestic cat and my pet. This caused Jellybean to be jealous of the attention I was giving her, so I had to learn to balance my time and attention between the two cats so they would get along. Eventually, they did start getting along, so long as we kept Jellybean inside and Winkin outside. Whenever we had the front door open, Jellybean would sit by the screen door and hang out with Winkin, who would sometimes rub against the screen to greet him.

Jellybean was there all through my college years, lying on my bed as I worked on homework and greeting me when I got home from my first job. When my younger brother got home from work or school, he would greet him and then jump on my brother’s bed, and the two would hang out for hours as my brother did his homework or played video games. In the morning, he would wait at the door of every person in the house, in order, as we got up one at a time. If I had the door open already (which was most of the time), he would leap up onto my bed and sniff my face for a few seconds, then jump down. If I kept laying there and didn’t get out of bed right away, he would repeat the procedure.

I loved Jellybean very much. I loved feeding him, playing with him, petting him, and just hanging out with him. I loved his odd idiosyncrasies and his “I’m the boss” demeanor. I loved how easygoing he was with strangers, and how smart he would be when we set up puzzles for him, such as putting his toys under a box or behind a door for him to find. I feel blessed that he was a part of our lives for ten years, and I am glad we were able to make him happy and comfortable in that time. He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Jellybean.

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One Response to Remembering Jellybean

  1. auntleesie says:

    He chose us from that very first day, and seamlessly blended in at our household. It does, indeed, feel strange and sad to be without him. Winkin also chose us. Most of all, she chose YOU to be her person. She’ll be a wonderful companion for you as you move forward in life.

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