Jojo was our third cat, and he surprised us. To explain how I have to tell his story.
We got Jojo as a foster transfer. Another Seattle Animal Shelter foster family was asking for someone to take Jojo as he was harassing their elder cat. We were looking for a buddy for Nelson and thought that could be Jojo so we took him in as a foster.
Right off he intimidated us. He growled at our other cats through the door and growled at us. Physically he is a robust cat and we were wary of him. We thought he might eat little Nelson for lunch. Jojo does not weigh more than one pound more than Nelson, but he just looks bigger.
The introduction to Luna and Nelson was slow but eventually they were all together. Soon Nelson and Jojo were play buddies.
Nelson and Jojo playing
All Three Together
We saw an edge of aggression in Nelson’s play with Jojo but we figured that Jojo could stand up to that and otherwise things looked good so we adopted Jojo. We now had three cats.
Jojo and a toy
However, neither Marie or I felt a strong bond to Jojo. He seemed primarily interested in play with toys and other cats. He did not display much affection toward us. But, he needed a home, he was difficult to adopt, and he fit in with our other cats. We could give him a good home.
We continued fostering and took in kittens Maxwell, Sabine, and Blanca. Sometime during this the relationship between our residents soured. Nelson started attacking Jojo and became less happy in general. Jojo, in turn, got more play aggressive with Luna. Soon we were isolating Jojo from Luna and Nelson. To keep Jojo company we kept Maxwell with them – they were good buddies. But they would spend most of the day in Marie’s office. Nights we gave them run of the downstairs. Max, however, would usually slip past the side of our barrier to join us upstairs, leaving Jojo by himself.
We thought that Max could be the cause of Nelson’s aggression so in August we redoubled our efforts and soon found a good home. It did not solve the problem. Worse, Jojo was by himself most of the time. Out of sympathy, Marie or I would sleep in the downstairs bedroom to keep him company.
This is when he surprised us: he turned out to be great company. Jojo is a really sweet cat. He likes to be with us and is interested in what we are doing, loves head rubs and play time, and sometimes crawls into our laps. He is not exceedingly affectionate but very interested, interactive, and self-reliant. A great companion.
Helping us clean the bookshelf
Meditating with me
Snuggled into my lap for a nap
We both came to feel a much stronger connection with Jojo so we increased our efforts to re-introduce him and Nelson. In September We hired a can behaviorist who offered a lot of good suggestions. Her program was to give Nelson a reason to like Jojo through positive association with food, treats, and play time. When that alone did not work we gave Nelson kitty prozac. When that did not work in January 2011 we added another anti anxiety drug.
Jojo and a foster kitten
By the end of January we admitted that it was not going to work and it was time to find Jojo a new home. I made a web page [link], a petfinder.com listing, and kept Craig’s list postings up to date. After a week a nice couple from Everett contacted us. They seemed cat savvy and willing to have patience with Jojo’s slow adaptation to new situations. They didn’t have any cats but did have a little dog. Jojo and dogs were a complete unknown.
We wanted to give Jojo a good home but could not. We could at least feed him the best food we knew and keep him company as best as we were able but once we adopt him out we would give up control of that. I would like to explain all this to Jojo – why his whole world is about to change – but can’t. This is a time of feeling my limits but still trying to do the best for Jojo.
When we met the couple we liked them. They appreciated both cats and dogs and the different type of companionship each provides. They liked who Jojo was. Jojo seemed to like them. The only question was would Jojo like the dog, Teddy.
Jojo’s standard response to a new cat is to hiss, growl, and run away or swat at them. We have introduced him to a lot of kittens and this has been his initial reaction to all of them, even Button, Ambassador to Cats. Jojo gets over it but it takes about 2 weeks. I thought if we got a similar reaction to the dog that was a good sign. Back up, tail fat, full attack mode would be a contra indication. Well, Jojo walked right up and sniffed Teddy’s nose. No growl, no hiss. He did lift his paw as if he was thinking of batting Teddy but then set it back down. He was interested and calm. Somehow dogs are in a different category – somewhere between cats and people. We all thought it could be a good match.
So we got their carrier, said last good byes, and away Jojo went.
Jojo and the dog Teddy
Jojo about to got to his new home
I find myself wondering: how is he doing? Is he scared? Is he interested? What is he experiencing? Why don’t he write? That is just it. I would love to hear from Jojo himself – but I never will.
After a couple days we got this report:
Jojo is fitting in well. We kept him in the bedroom the first night so hecould get used to his surrounding and our smell without the dog botheringhim. When we let him out he looked around a bit and came right back tothe bedroom. He sits in the window during the days and lays in bed withus at night.
We are glad to have a new companion and teddy seems happy to have a new friend.
We may get one more update but likely won’t know how the rest of Jojo’s life goes. As the Buddha said:
From meeting comes parting
From birth comes death
This is inevitable and we are ultimately unable to protect others or ourselves from these experiences.
4/28/11 Update: We got an update!
Sorry for the lack of email we have been out of internet for a while.
JoJo is doing great. He loves playing with teddy and loves sleeping in
bed with us. I have not managed to catch a picture of him and teddy
together yet, they always stop playing as soon as I grab the camera. JoJo
even get along well with the two year old up stairs.
He spends alot of free time looking out the slider door where there is
squirrels and I think some frogs. As well as plenty of time in our
bathroom keeping an eye on our guinue pigs and hamster.
Im not sure what time you fed him at night but we have been wanting to
feed him and teddy both when we eat at 5 . However he is insistent that we
feed him at 3. So of course the pets now all eat at 3.
He still seems wary of coming out of the bedroom, but he also seems
content in there so we do not push it.
Jojo's original adoption blurb (from the shelter)