January 25 – JoJo the cat

JoJo on top of armoire

            This is my cat JoJo.  We adopted him about a year ago.  He grew up in Kentucky, a feral cat needing a home.  We got him out of that very bad situation.  When he first arrived he was dirty, sick, and hungry.  We took him to the vet immediately because he was sniffling.  I have never had a cat with the sniffles. But he was full  on sick with an upper respiratory tract infection among other diseases.  I was so concerned at how sick he was that I asked the vet if I could catch any of the half dozen infections he was suffering from.  I was assured that he did not have anything contagious to humans.  Cats yes, humans no.   

            So he spent the first months locked in a room to prevent him from infecting our other cat, Boo.  But he is so social that he just wanted to be out.  We finally let him out but it has been a challenge.  Boo is a senior citizen and JoJo is a little boy who wants to run and jump and play.  That is fine unless you are a senior citizen cat in which case, you hiss and tell him to bug off.  So they fight and compete.  She sits in  his spot, he sits in her spot.  He tries to eat her food.  We have to chase him off.  She marches around taunting him and eats his food.  It is all so middle school.  

            When he first came, he would cry like a baby when the food was coming.  He would leap at the food trying to get our attention. Then he would proceed to eat his food, Boo’s food, bugs off the floor, anything.  It was sweet and sad at the same time.  I imagined him surviving outside eating bugs if he had to. And when he was in a large group of cats being fed by some cat lady, he probably made sure he got his share by being as loud as he could.   It took us a few months to convince him that there was enough food for everyone and that he did not have beg for attention, eat Boo’s food, or eat bugs.  Well, he still eats bugs.  

            We were told he was a tabby.  What we have now learned is that he is probably part Bengal.  This is not a good thing.  Bengals are a new creation.  Some person got the idea to breed a tabby with an Asian Leopard cat.  I’d like to say fun ensued but, in fact, these cats are semi-wild.  Some states actually ban them if they are in the first four generations because they are not domesticated enough to not be a menace.

            JoJo has all of the characteristics.  First generation Bengals have a circular pattern in their coat just like leopard spots.  As they progress through generations, they become a bit more stripped.  JoJo has some spots, some circles, and some stripes.  He has a very long tail, like a wild cat.  

            He has all the Bengal traits.  He likes to climb.  He likes the top of my armoire.  He jumps on the back of dining chair while we are sitting on it.  That is very a-nerving.  He is energetic to the point of manic.  He likes to talk.  He is a hunter.  Feather toys are his thing.  He is very social.  He gets bored and that leads to trouble.  

watching squirrels

            We have good JoJo and bad JoJo days.  Either he is all in on being rambunctious and rowdy or he is chill. On bad days, he tries to play with our older cat, which she very much does not like.  He eats plants, he digs plants, he bites, he claws the furniture.  On good days, he is just a calm cat who likes to be petted and to snuggle.  He is fond of sitting between my arms when I am typing.   He likes to sleep with me under the covers, which is really sweet.  The Chewy website says they will demand to sleep with you.  He really does!

            If we had known he was a Bengal, I doubt we would have adopted him. But he is ours now and we are his parents.  I admit that at first, with a few nips and his proclivity to scratch the furniture, I was ready to ship him back.  But that would not be right.  We have to take what we have and work with it.  So I employ Bitter Yuck to stop the chewing on plants.  I tape the furniture he wants to scratch, and I do what I can to keep him amused so he does not take his boredom out on our little girl Boo.  At one point I was blowing a kazoo to scare him off furniture and to stay away from Boo and her food.  Matt pulled out his trombone.  Nothing deters JoJo for long. As for climbing, we have tried everything from the water sprayer to loud noises.  But it is his instinct to climb.  It is just what he does, and I really see no way to stop it.  I need to buy him an indoor tree stump to climb.  

            JoJo.  He does what he wants when he wants.  He is kind of like me.   

He is squirmy!

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