Vector charley all travel is local

That’s when we signed as Jackson’s new staff at the Three Oaks Veterinary Clinic, where Lisa Knapp handed the two-year-old, neutered, domestic cat over to our care with all the best wishes in the world. Jackson, you see, had belonged to Lisa’s daughter, and when her daughter decided she wanted a dog instead of a cat, she gave Jackson to her mother to add to her menagerie at Knapp’s Miniature Horse Farm in Rolling Prairie, Ind. Being the new cat on the farm, Jackson got bullied by a big male named Nicholas, and she retreated to the garage for refuge and began chewing on the leather saddle of Lisa’s husband’s motorcycle.

But from the first second we appeared in the Knapp driveway, Jackson strutted her black-and-white self. We fell in love with Jackson, and she obviously wanted to go home with us.

We told Lisa we’d think it over for a few days, but we called her later that same day and said we would gladly take delivery of Jackson the very next week at the clinic in Three Oaks.

And, as a tribute to our beloved furry friend, we would like to urge all of you with indoor/outdoor cats to immediately convert them to strictly indoor cats. We learned all too late that coyotes look to cats, both domestic and feral, as a favorite food source. Jacqui Jackson, I am sure, would tell you if she could to keep your kitties inside and to let them look at the birds and bunnies from safe perches.

So Jacqui Jackson was the last of our indoor/outdoor pets. By the time this appears in print, we will surely have adopted a worthy feline successor to Jacqui Jackson and Makita. But this cat will be confined to our friendly confines, and we will do everything humanly possible to make his or her cat life as safe, serene, and comfortable as can be.

(Fried’s Cat Shelter, Indiana) Many of you suggested we get another cat, sooner than later, so we drove on down to Michigan City Saturday and told the friendly folks at this amazing no-kill shelter on Hwy. 212 our tale of woe with Jacqui. Then we said we were looking for a neutered, front-declawed, indoor cat. They had just the cat for us: an orange tiger they were temporarily calling Skipper because they were assigning Gilligan’s Island names to the cats in the intake unit where Skipper was being lodged. Skipper had been found by animal control literally trying to break into a house, meaning he wanted to be indoors. He had either been abandoned or lost and had wandered outdoors in Michigan City for a time before animal control brought him to Fried’s Cat Shelter. We met Skipper and fell in love with the emaciated guy as fast as he fell in love with us. “He’s purring,” Natalie said, as she petted him. He purred for me too, and I blurted: “We should call him Tiger, because he has the color and spirit of a tiger.” So we committed to Tiger on August 18, and pending good results from his visit with the vet on August 22, we’ll bring Tiger to his new home with us on Friday, August 24. It will be Christmas in August for all three of us. We are going to have to put some “groceries” on him by feeding him kitten food for a time, but we’re all about second chances. So keep your fingers crossed for us that Tiger passes his physical Wednesday and comes to live with us Friday. Stay tuned.

(Berrien County Youth Fair, Michigan) What is they say about making plans and not planning the outcome? Yeah, something like that. Anyway, we put a big red BCYF on the calendar entry for Monday, August 13, 2018. Why? Because that was our 41st wedding anniversary, and we intended to celebrate on the fairgrounds on the first day of the BCYF, or Berrien County Youth Fair. We have loved the Youth Fair since we moved to Michigan in 1987, and when the first day of the fair coincided this year with our anniversary, we naturally made a fair date. And, as a bonus, there was going to be cat judging that afternoon in the dog/cat tent. What could be better? Well, for starters, Natalie re-injured her right hip the week before doing some exuberant bicycling. So she knew she wasn’t going to be able to cover much ground on the fairgrounds, especially since much of it is so lumpy. Then, we learned the morning of our anniversary that our beloved cat, Jacqui Jackson, had been killed by a coyote the day before. Bummer of bummers. We didn’t go to the Youth Fair on our anniversary, so busy were we with the aftermath of Jacqui’s untimely departure and the need to replenish the larder. Sigh! Bigger Sigh!!! What were some grief-stricken cat lovers to do? Why go to the Youth Fair on Friday, August 17, despite the rain, despite the death of Jacqui, and despite the pain in Natalie’s hip. We did our best and we dedicated our visit to Jacqui’s memory, and we even got to talk about her to the lady who had organized the cat show on August 13 at the fair. While watching a lively zumba demonstration on the midway no less. We resolved then and there to never miss the Youth Fair, come hurt hips, dead cats, or high water. And for that we are most grateful. See you at the 2019 Berrien County Youth Fair for our 42nd wedding anniversary! You can buy us some veggie corn dogs if you’d like.