Jack and his siblings Robin and Angel were living in a storm drain at the intersection of two busy 4 lane roads. Matt saw one kitten on his way home one day and a second the next day. Off we went with a crate and some Fancy Feast stinky food to see if we could catch them. Turned out to be 3 of them, and we were dumb enough to only bring one crate! We could not coax more than one at a time into our homemade trap, so we ended up catching them one at a time. We had the brilliant idea to turn them loose in the back of the SUV while we caught the others. Yeah, not our best thought, but we just wanted them off the street before they got hit. Long story short, Jack and Robin spent the night IN THE DASH of the SUV while Angel rested comfortably in a kitty condo in the house. Several hours of coaxing the next day persuaded the boys to come out, and eventually we got them caught again.
They were old enough to be difficult to socialize at the time so we set out to convince them life wasn’t that scary. We were ultimately successful with Angel and Jack, Robin still bounces to the beat of his own drummer though. Their fear made them difficult to place, though we tried a couple of times. Soon after the last adoption attempt we were discussing just keeping them and Jack started showing some unusual symptoms. He would hack almost like he had a hairball, but the posture was off. He was almost a year old. Took him to the vet, and discovered he had an enlarged heart and an unusual thickening in one lung lobe. We started treating for heart failure but symptoms continued. It really didn’t help that he did not like his pills, and often the fight to get the meds down resulted in him having an “attack.” One night he began panting heavily. A trip to the Emergency Vet (we thought he may have been in heart failure) and some time on oxygen therapy resulted in a diagnosis of feline asthma.
The heart, the thickening of the lung, the asthma, and the difficulty in medicating him had our doctors giving him 6-12 months at the outside. We decided to stop heart meds due to the stress it was causing, and just treated the asthma with steroid injections as needed – usually around every 8 weeks. He is going on 9 years old now, and we celebrate every day! More recent radiographs show the mass in his lung is growing, though it appears to be doing so at a relatively slow rate. The humidity here in Houston has made his breathing difficulties a bit more pronounced as well. We have recently started him on a daily low dose of steroids compounded in a tasty chew. He loves taking his meds now, and seems to be doing well. He loves to sit anywhere he can get a little upper body elevation, and prefers to lie stretched out on his back. We believe this enables him to breathe more comfortably. We have no guarantees how long Jack will be with us, but he has already more than quadrupled his original life expectancy. All of his issues also mean that this boy does not get to exercise much, and his steroids give him a tremendous appetite. He tips the scales at a whopping 24 pounds! We do our best to ensure that Big Jack is as happy as we can make him. He shows his appreciation with kisses, cuddles, the fastest biscuit-kneading in the house, and the absolute loudest purrs we have ever heard. Not bad for a wild kitten from the streets!
NICKNAMES: Jick Jack Paddywhack, Jick Jack, Jackeroo, Bowling Ball
DATE OF BIRTH: 6-4-2008
PERSONALITY: Talkative, Demanding, Affectionate, Loves life
QUIRKS & HABITS: Sleeps on his side or back - enables him to breathe better, Loves to sleep on Matt's shoulder, Gives kisses and nibbles in return for pets, Head bumps his brother while walking to food plates at feeding time!
GOTCHA DATE: 10-16-2008