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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In memory of Rusty, a very sweet cat

                            This is the photo I took the first time I saw Rusty in our yard.

Rusty, a handsome male cat, wandered into our backyard in the spring of 2005. His eyes exactly matched his yellow fur. I ran for my cell phone to take his photo.  I really didn't expect him to visit again, but he did . . . almost daily, for about ten years.  

At first, he was a community cat, visiting different houses.  Everyone fed him and many gave him a name.  We called him Rusty because of his color.  The children down the street named him Milo after a movie cat.  Another little girl called him Buttercup, probably because of his color.  We learned that his family had moved away and left him.  

He was, however, a survivor.  He knew where the sheltered places were when it rained and when it was cold.  He knew how to make it on his own. Once or twice, I found a dead, partially eaten rat or squirrel in the shrubbery. He was a big cat, once weighing in at 17 pounds during a vet check-up.  He had a sweet face with very expressive eyes.

Gradually, he started stopping by our house morning and night. He liked to sleep on our patio in a cushioned lawn chair, but we brought him in when it was cold or raining.  Our very young, black cat Bella loved him and he was like a mother cat with her, licking her head, playing with her, tolerating her kittenish antics.  We began taking him to the vet for check-ups and immunizations. We considered him our cat.  Still, there was something a bit unreachable about him.  His early lonely life made him stand-offish.  

Last week, he seemed sick.  He sat with his eyes closed.  HIs breath came in heaves.  We took him to the vet where an x-ray showed his lungs and body cavity filled with fluid.  The vet said his condition was critical.  Finally, after much agonizing, we agreed to have him euthanized.  

We miss him very much.  I still look for him on the patio and at the door. He was a strong presence in our family. Bella especially misses him.  He was a good, sweet cat.
RIP, Rusty.  
Rusty was very motherly with our cat Bella, often
licking her as a mother would.

It was a stretch,but he could drink from a small
birdbath in our yard.

Playing with Bella on the porch.

Stalking a lizard


  1. Sweet Rusty! I will miss him too. What a good kitty. I hope there are many mice and lizards in his kitty heaven.

  2. I enjoyed caring for Rusty. I always thought it was funny when I would feed him and then as I was driving away, I would see him wander up to another porch maybe for dessert. I always worried when I visited Bella and didn't see him but I knew he was a smart and seasoned survivor. Rusty was so lucky to have found you to care for him. He was especially lucky to have you help him cross over so as he didn't have to suffer. I will miss him and I know I will find myself looking out the back door for him as I visit Bella next time. RIP Rusty .