The Story of Jerry

Miss Jerry home from the vet

Miss Jerry, April 15, 2006 – March 6, 2018

Jerry came to live with me in September, 2006, when she was just shy of five months old. She was one of the many kittens born on my brother’s ranch to their various barn cats. My first post about her was New Kitty!, on September 4. At that time, we still thought she was a boy (hence the name Jerry).


At first, she stayed outside on the porch in a kitten cage, and brought her in the house a few hours at a time to gradually introduce her to the other cats. The plan was for her to be a companion for my tuxedo kitty, Socks, who was living in the back bedroom by herself to keep her from being terrorized by the big orange bully, Spot.

Jerry was a happy, friendly little kitten who would purr if you so much as looked at her. She wanted to be friends with everyone. She proved to be an excellent hunter, as well. Several times I went out onto the porch in the morning and found a dead mouse in her cage — they would come in to try to get her food, and she would kill them. Her cage was only maybe 2 x 3 feet, but in that small space she was able to catch mice.


She was a scrappy-looking little thing at first, her fur being mostly undercoat with sparse longer hairs sticking out. (My mom, who was also thinking of getting a kitten at the time, rejected Jerry, saying she didn’t want that funny-looking cat. So I took her, and mom ended up taking a two-month-old kitten, which was way more than my then-86-year-old mother could handle, and she soon returned the kitten to the ranch.)

But Jerry had the most gorgeous deep orange-amber eyes, which eventually faded to pale gold.


That October, I went on a two-week vacation, while mom stayed with the cats. When I came home, Jerry’s long hair had come in, and she looked like a completely different cat! By this time, I had also pretty much figured out that she was female, since she was old enough to have developed boy parts if she was going to. I liked to joke that when I left on vacation, I had a fuzzy little short-haired boy cat, and came home to a fluffy long-haired girl kitty!


She had a funny way of walking, with her hind legs splayed. She rarely ran anywhere, preferring a sort of determined, quick stride, head down, looking straight ahead. She could jump when she wanted to, and liked to climb to the top of the cat tree, but she wasn’t particularly graceful at it.

Miss Jerry

Jerry was a sweet kitty, but frankly, not very bright. She’d get confused easily and always had a sort of vacant look on her face. I remember going out to my brother’s ranch one time, looking out the window to the side yard, and seeing a long-haired black cat with splayed hind legs, and saying, hey, that cat looks just like Jerry. He must be her father. (We knew who her mother was, of course, but the father could have been any of the various toms at the ranch.) My brother said that was Ren, one of two black cats who’d formerly lived down at the pump house. Ren was the stupidest cat ever, my brother said. Not a brain in his head. Seems she took after her father, in intelligence as well as in looks.

Fixing the back porch for the kitties

When my house burned down in 2011, we temporarily went next door to live with my mom. Mom’s little one-bedroom mobile home didn’t have anywhere for the kitties to have their own room, so I screened in the small back porch for Jerry and Socks, while Spot stayed in the house with me. I put in a six-foot cat tree, so they had some vertical space, and a chair so I could sit and visit with them daily, along with their food & water and litter boxes. It was a bit cramped, but it was the best I could do for them in the months while I got my new house built. When the weather turned cold, I put plywood over the screens to close it in, and draped fleece blankets over the chair and cat tree to make little tents for them.

Socks and Jerry

I made sure the new house had a room for the girls. Jerry and Socks settled in quickly and life went on as before, for a while.

It was around this time that Jerry started to develop problems with constipation. At first, it was just a matter of taking her to the vet to get unblocked every once in a while, and making sure she had plenty of wet food with some occasional pumpkin. Eventually, her condition progressed to megacolon, and she needed daily medication.

Miss Jerry, a large ball of floof

She seemed like a big lump with a fat belly, but she wasn’t really fat, she was just full of poop. Her colon had lost its elasticity and it was hard for her to move her bowels. But she was pretty healthy otherwise, and it didn’t seem to bother her too much. Fortunately, she was pretty easy to give liquid meds to. She didn’t like being restrained, but if you were patient and put the syringe up to the corner of her mouth, she’d just open her mouth and let you squirt it in.

Socks and Jerry

In July 2013, my heart kitty, Spot, died. Without the big orange bully claiming the rest of the house, there was no reason to keep the girls confined to one room, so I opened their door and let them out. It took a while, but soon they were hanging out on the couch and enjoying the freedom of the house.

Miss Jerry

Miss Jerry even became something of a lap kitty, although she was so heavy I’d have to boost her off after while so my legs wouldn’t go numb.


This video perfectly exemplifies Jerry’s relationship with Socks. She walks up to her, they sniff noses, Jerry turns to walk away, and Socks swats her as she leaves, just to show her who’s boss.


Socks had her own health issues, and she passed in November, 2015. For a few months, Jerry had the house to herself. But she seemed lonely, and didn’t know what to do with herself. She’d follow me around the house, crying tiny little squeaky mews if I wasn’t in the same room with her, and she wanted to sit in my lap all the time. I thought she missed Socks, and since she’d always wanted to be friends with her, I thought she might like a new friend.

They were this close

In January, 2016, I got Davey, hoping he and Jerry would be friends. She tolerated him a bit at first, but he was way too rambunctious for her, and pestered her until she retreated to my bedroom and wouldn’t come out. A few months later, I got another orange kitty, Simba, hoping an older kitty would take some of the pressure off her. Simba and Davey soon got to be good friends, but poor old Jerry didn’t want anything to do with either of them. She took up residence in my bedroom and refused to come out unless the boys were in their rooms.

3 cats 3

Once or twice, the boys joined her on the bed and they shared the space for a brief time, but pretty soon, Jerry would get tired of having them there and go hide in the bathroom. They never really fought, but she would hiss and growl at them if they came too close, so I kept her door closed most of the time. She didn’t seem to mind it. I suppose she was used to living in one room, which she had done for most of her life. And she got to spend the nights with me. She wasn’t much of a cuddler, but she’d often lie on my lap while I read for a while before going to sleep, and then when I turned the light out, she’d go sleep at the foot of the bed, or on the stool next to the bed. She’d sleep under the covers during the day if it was cold, or snuggle amongst the pillows.

Jerry plays

She liked to play, but she didn’t want to get up to play. She’d lie on her back and wave her paws in the air at strings on a stick. Her favorite toy was my hand. She’d swat and bite at it, but never hard enough to leave a mark.

Miss Jerry at the vet

Last summer, her megacolon got to the point where the meds weren’t controlling it any more, and she needed surgery to remove most of her colon. It was major surgery, and she had a rough time when she first got home, but once she recovered, she was much better.


Amazingly, she went from 12 pounds before the surgery to 10 pounds after. She had two full pounds of colon and poo removed from her little body! It was strange to see her without that fat belly she’d always had. Poor kitty, dragging that weight around! She became more playful and active and was doing really well.

Her end was sudden and unexpected. One morning, she got up in distress, stumbled around crying for a minute or two, then crawled into my bed and died. It was all over in just a few minutes. I suspect it was a heart attack, but I’ll never really know. She only survived another eight months after her surgery, but I’m glad she was able to live her final months healthy and happy, and didn’t suffer long at the end. Rest in peace, my darling girl. I’ll miss you always.

Written by Cody Nelson in: cats |

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