Last, but certainly not least, is Jigsaw, whose full name is actually Jigsaw Puzzle, he being named after the many intricate patterns in his fur: there is a heart, and a cursive letter 'h' among his other stripes and swirls.
Unlike the others, who we deliberately chose to rescue from various circumstances, Jigsaw chose us.
It was February, 2008, and hubby and a friend were outside working on a project. Up through the carport came Jigsaw, with a bird in his mouth. Hubby noticed at once that the kitty was hurt. He had a nasty looking wound in his side, and it made my husband angry, because at first sight, he though it looked as if the poor little guy had been shot with a BB gun. Jigsaw set the bird down, looked right up at my husband, and exclaimed, "Mrow!" as if to say, "See? I'm hurt and I still caught a bird and brought it to you."
We had never seen this cat before anywhere in the area. He just appeared that day. We asked around, but no one else knew anything about him, either. We fear he may have been dumped by some irresponsible jerk.
Hubby has a very soft spot for all animals, and they know they have nothing to fear from him, and always gravitate to him. He picked up this little kitty, who was fairly thin, and started to examine the wound. Jigsaw kept looking at hubby, then down at the bird, and back again, doing a little bit of struggling. Meanwhile, the bird recovered, shook, and flew away. Oh, my goodness, the scolding that went on! "MOW! Meerow! Mrrrow! Mew, mew, mew!" As if to say, "Hey, you let my dinner get away; now you have to feed me!"
Since he'd been outdoors, and we had no idea of his history, we sadly left him outside and gave him some food and water. Next, we arranged a litter box and a crate with an old blanket, and closed him up out in the shop overnight.
Next day, we took him to the vet to be checked out. Turns out the wound was a ruptured abcess, the vet said likely the result of coming out on the losing end of a cat fight. He passed his tests well..he didn't have kitty aids or FeLv. The vet said he was "about 8 months old" at that point. So, we decided he could be slowly introduced to the rest of the clan. They'd been 'visiting' and hissing at each other, through the patio door ever since Jiggy had shown up on the scene.
At first, Jigsaw was quite skittish and nervous around the other cats, but he eventually fit in. At this point, we now had 5 cats, as we still had our Sootsie then. Soot would not take any nonsense from him, and swatted him and hissed at him a few times. Patches either ignored him, or growled and hissed and swatted, depending on where she was in her medication cycle. If she was fully dosed up, she ignored him; if she was coming down, she wasn't having any sass from a kitten.
Tigger was another story. Jigsaw quickly discovered that he could cow Tigger, and take the upper hand. Tigger, who is the largest of the cats, the eldest (next to Patches), and so second in seniority, should be the king of the castle. But, as big as he is, he is also cat-dom's biggest wuss. I cannot make him grasp the concept that "If you don't run, Jiggy can't chase you!"
So, the chase was on, and continues to be on! Several times a day, Tigger gets chased up or down the hall.....sometimes short-cutting to his bed across our bed...often after we are in bed...and we get trampled in the kitty stampede. The two of them sound like a herd of elephants thundering down the hall. I think they missed the chapter explaining that cats are light on their feet!
Early on, they were so bad that I would sometimes put them both in Tigger's large carrier. "There! sit there for a while, and learn to get along!" They were just fine then. They made no attempt to battle inside the carrier. However, when they were released, they would head in opposite directions as far from each other as they could get. Jigsaw would toss a look over his shoulder as if to say, "See? You got us in trouble!" As if it was Tigger's fault! OY!
At this point, I'm unsure if they've arrived at some kind of truce, and are 'just playing' when they carry on, or if they are just showing off. There does not seem to be any evidence of chasing when we come home from being out for a while....'evidence' meaning tufts of Tigger fur on the carpet...which I will find often enough if I am home and seeing or hearing chase scenes.
Munchkin will not tolerate any crap from Jigsaw, either. In fact, she will chase him. Tigger and Munchkin play together very well, and will playfully chase each other. It is funny; in a way, we have a 'pecking order' going on: Jigsaw chases Tigger; Munchkin chases Jigsaw; Tigger chases Munchkin. We call it "The Kitty 500." It can be quite a hazard to objects on the lower shelf of the coffee table, which they view as a shortcut.
Jigsaw Puzzle is a very sweet and loving kitty. He loves lap time, eats up pets and scritches, and sleeps right between our heads most nights. Sometimes, he will sleep on the extra pillows above my head. Tigger may feel displaced, as he used to sleep with us, but he got kicked off the bed too many times (long before Jiggy's arrival) for disturbing our sleep by sucking his tail (loudly!) while mushing. Soot used to sleep right between us like that quite a bit. In a way, Jigsaw has taken over for her, beiing the same kind of 'little lover,' but we do not miss Soot any the less.
We have no way to know how long Jigsaw was outside on his own, but I think for some time, given how thin he was, and the fact that to this day, he remains fairly skittish and easily startled. He is very wary, and is on alert at the least little noise that Munchie and Tigger will sleep right through. But, he has found his forever home here, and like the rest of the lot, we love him dearly, quirks and all.
And that finishes the series on the acquisitions of each of our 'fur kids.' You've now met the whole family. I now return the Sunday blog to the cats. ;-)