An Obit for Jack, a Regal Orange Tabby

Jack died today. Last night he lay under the table while we were eating dinner. About the moment I rested my fork on my empty plate, Jack shrieked. A heart-stopping noise, one infused with panic. We rushed him to the late night vet clinic. This morning it became obvious that efforts to repair his heart condition have failed.

Jack is our third orange male tabby. Our last, Sonny, lived to age 17 and I expected Jack to do the same. Last year we moved. Jack made the 500 mile journey in the back of the car. He wasn’t happy about traveling but when we arrived at our new place he quickly made new friends and fit into the neighborhood.

We loved Jack and will miss him. I feel some guilt at grieving over him because my loss is so small compared to the losses of some of my friends – children and husbands. Dear Jack, who loved to sit in the middle of a conversational circle, can be replaced. People can’t. But still, I mourn his passing. And for that, I make no apologies.

Since the day God gave Adam the joyful task of naming them, people have bonded with animals. Dogs and cats are favored as pets but horses, birds, reptiles, fish and assorted farm animals, also connect with people. Ants don’t rate high on the scale of preferred pets but they have admirers too. Imprisoned during the Second World War, Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Into my solitary cell came a small busy black ant. When I realized the honor being done me, I crouched down and admired the marvelous design of legs and body . . . It was the beginning of a relationship.”

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for The Evangel on the value of pets. At that time, I interviewed veterinarian, Mike Hord, of Val Verde Animal Hospital in Lavista, Nebraska. He said,“God has given us a directive to care for animals but their value in our lives goes far beyond that. Studies are proving that relationships with animals are good for your health.” One study at the State University of New York,Buffalo, showed decreased blood pressure readings in patients who adopted a pet.

Karate Jack

So, no apologies from me for loving Jack. He came into our family as a birthday gift for me, a replacement for Sunny. I didn’t overwhelm him with love at first. I thought no cat could measure up to Sunny. I was wrong. And I expect to be wrong again. Another orange tabby will come to live with us soon and, in time, we’ll develop a special relationship with him too.

Today, I pause to give thanks to God for the blessing of a pet and for the mysterious way  God ties the heart strings of human beings with animals.


About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at:
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4 Responses to An Obit for Jack, a Regal Orange Tabby

  1. Joan says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Jack’s death. Yes, let the grief come and don’t apologize for it. Jack sounds like a sweetheart, and I’m glad he had you to spend his life with. I’m sure he loved you to pieces. 🙂

  2. Bonnie Armstrong says:

    Im sorry about Jack, I know the loss of a couple of dogs, they give us such unconditional love , like our heavenly Father, the creator of love. Love Bonnie

    • Bonnie – I like your words “like our heavenly Father, the Creator of love.” Love, wherever we find it, come from God. Not what the world calls love, but true love.

      Rose McCormick Brandon Professional Member of The Word Guild Listening to My Hair Grow: British Home Children:


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