c. 2007 - 06 Aug. 2010
Jaxx showed up in 2009 at the barn where my horse was living. He was a tom, clearly a stray, and was quite shy at first. However, he discovered that there was food at the barn (a female barn cat was already living there), and he became a regular and gradually learned to trust my horse's caretaker, and eventually me.
We wanted to get him neutered and vaccinated, since that would reduce his fighting and improve his health prospects. However, while Jaxx enjoyed being petted and talked to, he was not at all pleased with the idea of being placed in a cat-carrier, and being a large, very muscular cat, he proved impossible to corral for several months.
Eventually, in February 2010, my friend managed to get him into a carrier and I took him to the vet. The original plan was for him to continue being a barn cat after being neutered, since both of us had houses full of cats already. Unfortunately, testing showed that Jaxx was FIV-positive. With a compromised immune system it would have been risky for him to remain at the barn, being exposed to various health risks, so I adopted him.
Jaxx adapted very quickly to being a housecat, but had to be integrated slowly and carefully into the population here, to prevent fights that could either spread the FIV to my other cats or cause infections for Jaxx. As with many "retired" toms, however, Jaxx proved to be gentle and non-aggressive, and settled in very well. He scouted out various favored sleeping places, watched birds out the window, and generally enjoyed taking it easy. Friendly and affectionate, he loved to have his heavy jaw-muscles massaged and to just sit beside me and keep me company.
Jaxx's stay with me was tragically brief. On the afternoon of 06 Aug. 2010 he developed a sudden paralysis of his rear legs. In cats this is usually caused by a thromboembolism (blood clot), most often due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious heart disease. I rushed him to the vet, where he received emergency treatment, but his condition rapidly worsened. His lungs started filling with fluid, either from multiple clots or heart failure, and there were indications that his spine was affected as well. His respiratory distress increased, in spite of oxygen and medication, and it was clear that he was dying. I had him put to sleep that evening.
Jaxx lived with me only a little under six months, though I knew him at the barn for a year or so before that. Sweet, gentle, and loving, he was just an excellent cat. I had hoped to give him a good life, in spite of the FIV which increased his risk of various health problems, but we were not that fortunate. It's some comfort that he did enjoy his life here for the short time he had, and that when the end came he wasn't alone out in the country somewhere. But he was greatly missed.