JJ and Ian

A bittersweet tail….. but ultimately uplifting, I hope.

Ian and Linda were clients.

I first met them when I was asked to look after their cat Jess, at that stage, many years ago, quite an elderly cat.

Ian and Linda were a lovely, warm, middle aged couple, instantly likeable, and it turns out that Linda had also owned Jess’ mother from a kitten, and she had lived to the age of 22! What wonderful continuity.

A nice relationship developed, and we looked after Jess for some years, until she sadly passed away at a good old age: knowing herself to be loved for her entire life.

I sent my sincere condolences, and sadly returned their keys.

Not long afterwards: another email from Linda….. they had adopted another cat and wanted to book us to look after her.

What can I say about JJ?

I went round to Ian and Linda’s home again, to meet JJ and collect their keys, and whilst we sat and chatted, I realised that JJ was quite unusual. She was sweet and friendly and everything a normal cat usually is, but…. She was utterly obsessed with Ian!

It was understandable: Ian was a lovely chap: large, smiley and with a beautiful aura, but JJ clearly just couldn’t get enough of him!

Over the following years, we looked after JJ frequently, and she clearly missed her Dad when he wasn’t there and was such a Daddy’s girl.

Every time I saw Ian and Linda, there was JJ: wrapped around Ian’s neck like a scarf, on his lap, round his legs, never letting him out of her sight.

I wondered how Linda coped with the competition!

One time when they went away, JJ became suddenly ill. I rushed her to the vets, knowing that this cat in particular was too precious to lose. Thankfully, swift intervention worked, and JJ was well again by the time her parents came home. ( they were informed straight away that she was poorly, but were reassured that we were on her case, and giving her all the love, care and special attention that we could )

So, another email after their return, along the lines of “ Thank you for looking after JJ, please pop round, we have a little something for you”

Yet again, I’m sitting in their lounge, having a lovely chat, and watching JJ adoring her Dad, in a most unusual and un-feline way!

The gift was a beautiful, deep maroon orchid, and was given to me about 10 years ago now.

It is the orchid in the main pic on the Cat Calls Ltd FB page, and although you cant see from that pic ( My lovely cat Jack hogged the limelight instead ) it has flowered happily, prolifically and continuously ever since.

So, in these last 10 years, JJ aged and developed hyperthyroidism. At that time, there was only one treatment: Neomercazole tablets, and NO cat has ever enjoyed taking them! ( See “How to give your cat a pill " The Internet. )

Now, we at Cat Calls are experts at pilling cats, and have many, many tricks up our collective sleeves - all of them kind – but could we get JJ to take her meds? Probably only about 90% of the time!

(I never asked, but I bet she took them like a treat if it was DADDY giving them!! Am I bitter about this? HELL yes!! )

JJ aged, and Linda and Ian retired, and moved to their dream-home, sadly a long way away from us: Linda and I kept in touch by Facebook.

As happens, and sadly, we lost JJ to old, much loved age, and Linda and I often talked about JJ’s orchid, and how it was still thriving. Its now in my bathroom, and I usually think of her fondly and with much love as I water it.

Last week, Linda messaged me to tell me that Ian was gone. He had been diagnosed with cancer last May, and had passed away, gently and peacefully at home. Such a lovely man. I’m weeping a little as I type, because its so sad that such a fine, loving man, who was worshipped by a cat ( its usually the other way around! ) is lost.

We all die: the hope for us all is that we get to have a good death.

Linda told me that Ian was accepting, at home and comfortable, and that they had talked lots and discussed his wishes.

Linda had something to confess to Ian: when JJ had passed away, Linda had wanted to have her cremated, and keep her ashes: Ian hadn’t wanted that.

But Linda did it anyway.

When Linda told Ian, he was so happy, and has asked for his own ashes to be mixed with JJ’s, so that they can be together forever.

I’m going to leave this here, as I’m having a proper sob now: but what a lovely thing in the darkest of times.

Linda has given purr-mission for me to write this, and Ian’s funeral will be on 30th March 2020: I will attend if current circumstances allow.

Much love to Linda who says " feel free to share whatever stories about Ian. His legend lives on.

Rest in Peace, together forever, Ian Hopkins and JJ Hopkins

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