Friday, December 31, 2010

Jack & Machu's Rescue

by Tabitha Grace Smith

When I was two years old my mother says I would bounce up and down in my stroller saying, “mine” whenever I saw a cat. I apparently had a love that started early. My first cat, originally named Snowball, I got shortly after and I had cats in my life forever. Well, forever until I hit college. Unfortunately dorm rooms are no place for a feline companion. Even after I graduated in 2003, I couldn’t get a cat because I moved into an apartment with two other girls. Finally, in 2005, I moved into my own place.

Amid all of the packing, cleaning and repainting, I knew the huge task was not making sure my mail was forwarded or finding bubble wrap for my kitchen items. The huge task was to find a furry roommate. Thankfully at work I had met a fellow cat lover, who introduced me to a rescue needing a home. A year before a couple had rescued a feral cat on the streets of Chicago. She was, of course, pregnant. They took care of her and her kittens for awhile and found homes for every one of his brothers and sisters, but Machu was the hold out.

I visited Machu and instantly fell in love. He’s a gorgeous black cat with a crazy personality. He “talks”. A lot. He’ll spend most of the day walking around meow-ing at people if they’ll listen. His favorite places in my new apartment were where he could get height advantage. Not really loving the name Machu Pitchu, I renamed him Myboyfriend. Mostly because it was fun calling people and telling them “I’m moving in with Myboyfriend.”

Shortly after settling in, Myboyfriend was joined by probably one of the best cats I’ve ever known Tigger. Tigger was a 16lb butterball of a gray tabby that my sister had adopted from an animal shelter in Iowa. Tigger was a cuddle cat. Which, at 16lbs, sometimes came as a huge surprise (literally)! Many times I woke up being smothered by him as he attempted to sleep on my face. Tigger especially loved sleeping in my jeans when I took them off and they lay on the floor in a perfect circle. There was no one who met Tigger who didn’t fall in love with him instantly.

When Tigger passed away last year it was hard to imagine anyone taking his place. Myboyfriend, who had grown attached to Tigger, wandered the apartment looking for him and crying for him. I knew we both needed a new friend, so our first stop was the local animal shelter.

Picking someone to replace Tigger was hard. The interaction level you have in a shelter is not the same as in someone’s home. You have to really see an animal’s personality and, locked up in a tiny cage, it’s hard to see that. It took two visits for me to finally find the right cat. I had, for a while, believed in adopting older cats. Older cats wouldn’t have as many families willing to give them a home. I was hesitant when the cat I fell in love with was a kitten. Sadly, in this shelter, there were more kittens than cats, so finally I agreed to take a small, gray tabby home. I named him Jack.

I’m a huge TV fan girl and a running gag in our house has been how a lot of heroes in TV series are named Jack (Jack Bauer from 24, Jack Sheppard from Lost, Sheriff Jack Carter from Eureka, Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood, etc.). So the tiny kitten got a hero’s name.

I couldn’t imagine not giving one of the cats in the shelter a home. Adopting my pets rather than buying them has brought me so much joy and laughter. Myboyfriend, Tigger and Jack were all well loved internet celebrities in their own right as they appeared on my podcasts and on YouTube. They had a small cult following who loved them almost as much as I did.

Shortly after adopting Jack I noticed something extremely funny. Jack had a love/hate relationship with water. He’d often sit on my bathtub and try to get as close as possible to the water without actually getting wet. He’d paw at the bubbles, he’d watch the faucet, but any water on him and he’d freak out. That funny behavior lead to me writing my first book, a children’s book called, “Jack the Kitten is Very Brave!” Since I adore children, cats and pirates, I put them all in my book! Jack, who is also named for Captain Jack Sparrow, is a pirate in his own mind, but a pirate who is scared of the water! Since Myboyfriend is a rather confusing name for kids to understand I switched his name back to Machu.

I’m so glad to be able to be a housekeeper to these wonderful boys (as I say, you never really own a cat, they own you) and thanks Sandie for letting me share my story! Every morning I wake up to headbutts and nose kisses and every night I get a chorus of adorable meows before bed. I’m one very blessed cat lover.

Tabitha Grace Smith is a podcaster, blogger and writer. You can find out more about Machu and Jack at or buy “Jack the Kitten is Very Brave” on Amazon:

Stop back tomorrow for my review of Jack the Kitten is Very Brave.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I have 6 cats. All I have rescued from one situation or another. One cat I saved from the shelter. He was due to be put down in an hour. I snatched him up right away! He is the most loving cat ever!! There is something about shelter cats, they always seem to be more loving! Congrats on your kitties!

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