When I taught second grade, I had a student named Jack who brought his cat and her kittens to school for Show and Tell one day. I told my husband Robert how cute the kittens were, and he agreed we could adopt one. We selected this precious little black and white kitten and named him Jack in honor of my student.
Jack with our dog Sam. Almost from Day One, Jack ruled the roost and was the *alpha dog* in their relationship
Jack was a very cool cat. He had distinctive markings and carried himself with a very self-assured air. He was generally aloof with people but was very affectionate to me. He had a special place in my heart and was a great pet. He died several years ago at the age of 15, and I still miss him.
In his day Jack was quite the hunter, delighting in bringing home *gifts* to me. I'm not sure if he noticed my less than enthusiastic response to his offerings, but at some point he transitioned from bringing home dead rodents to bringing home dishrags, spare socks, even an occasional pair of little boy's underwear. I wasn't ever quite sure what to do with these items so I collected them in a box in my garage.
Jack *hunting* our other cat Tigger in our backyard
One day a very nosy neighbor, whom I call *Mrs. B,* came over to inspect a new piece of furniture at my house. We happened to walk out back, and she noticed one of Jack's latest conquests, a washrag, on my doormat.
"Now, how in the world did my dish cloth get over here?" she wondered aloud. Mrs. B told me that she often set things out to dry on her back porch and had noticed that they disappeared from time to time.
I sheepishly confessed to the devious ways of my pilfering cat and showed her my collection of items that Jack had brought me. She reclaimed about 90% of what was in the box as her own.
Several weeks later Jack brought home an ENORMOUS pair of women's underwear. I was too embarrassed to call Mrs. B (who was not a small woman) and tell her I thought they might be hers. So instead, I snuck down our alley in the cloak of darkness one night and tossed them over the fence into her backyard.
The next day I had a message on my answering machine:
"Eloise? This is Cindy B___. We have a new problem. Now it seems that Jack is bringing ME other people's clothing. I found a pair of women's underwear in my backyard this morning..."
Jack in our rent house about six months before he died
4 weeks ago