Cats—How it started


Early in the morning on Thanksgiving day in 2006, a female black cat stopped by our house. She did not have on a collar so I just presumed that Sophie the Black Catshe was a feral cat. I set out some human canned tuna and water. She ate and drank, and took off. I figured that would be the last I would see of her.

Late in the afternoon on Christmas eve in 2006, a female black cat stopped by our house. I was pretty sure it was the same black cat from Thanksgiving. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “a cat that knows human holidays….” I set out some human canned tuna and water. She ate and drank, and stayed……………. Jim named her Sophie.

Sophie on fence

At the time, we lived in the southeast San Diego County boondocks where the roads were all black asphalt and there were street lights every mile or so. Sophie had the run of the indoors and outdoors, but she remained pretty much an outdoor cat.

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

Sophie the Black Cat

In May 2007, we moved back towards civilization; it was dark and lonely out in the southeast San Diego County boondocks. We determined to take Sophie with us, and she didn’t seem to have any problem with that. However, civilization meant more significant car traffic, and we worried about Sophie.

We tried to make her into a 100% indoor cat, but when the sun went down, she would howl like a wolf until we let her out. She would go exploring, returning at dawn to be let in…. indoor cat by day, outdoor cat by night.

Sadly, on September 20, 2007, Sophie didn’t return at dawn like she always did. I suspected the worst, and my suspicion was confirmed when I got a call a couple of hours later telling me that Sophie had been hit and killed by a car a couple of blocks over. The caller told me that Sophie’s little body had been placed up on the curb under the bushes, and a towel had been placed over the body. She gave me the address.

I went and got the body and gave her a proper burial, out at the home where she had adopted us since we still owned it at that time. I should never had looked at Sophie’s body under that towel. It’s an image that haunts me to this day. I should just have picked her up under that towel and buried her and the towel.

I was quite despondent, and when Jim got up, I told him what had happened. We cried and hugged each other, and determined to get another cat. Jim always had been a cat person but I considered myself a dog person. Sophie made me a cat person.

We went down to the El Cajon Animal Shelter that afternoon and found Zoey. She had just been turned into the Shelter, so she wasn’t adoptable until the next day. The next day we were in front of the Shelter ten minutes before it opened. As soon as those doors were unlocked, we rushed in and adopted Zoey. Three hours after we got home with her, I snapped this picture of her in my office share:

After taking that picture, I add to Zoey’s name, and she became Zoey the cool Cat. That picture pretty much told me that she kind of liked our place and was intent on becoming Queen.

Since mid-April, Zoey the Cool Cat has not been herself. I took her to a nearby vet. Was not happy with him, so I took her to a nearby vet hospital. Wasn’t really happy with them, either, so I took her to a vet hospital recommended by a long-time Realtor friend whom I had done business with for 15 years as a home inspector.

Hospitals are more expensive than stand-alone vets. Much more expensive.

The second vet hospital took blood, poop, and pee samples, and called me a few days later to tell me the results of the tests. They asked me to bring her back in for another blood sample to determine whether her condition was temporary for that one day or appeared to be long-term. It was long-term.

Last Monday, she went on a special anti-diabetes prescription diet. Dry food is about $10 per pound, and wet food is about $6 per pound. Holy smokes. It’s more expensive than a ribeye steak or Maine lobster!

Is she worth it?

In my next post, I’ll tell you how whether or not the prescription diet appears to be working….

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

18 thoughts on “Cats—How it started

  1. Pit

    Good morning, Russel,
    I’m sorry to hear about Zooey’s condition, and I hope that the diet will work.
    In the last few months of his life with us, our Fritz had diabetes, too. He didn’t need a special diet, though, but two shots of insulin a day – one in the morning and one in the evening. It was amazing how calmly he took them. That treatment did help, but it looked like, at around maybe 15 years of age [we don’t know exactly as he came to us as a stray], he was getting towards the end of his earthly life. He became unwell and I took him to our vet. They kept him there to medicate and watch over him for a weekend. The following Monday, after a phone talk with the vet, I went there, already (nearly) decided to have him put out of his misery. But just a few minutes before I arrived, he walked over the rainbow bridge. [] The vet was with him, when he just closed his eyes, went to sleep, and stopped breathing. Sad as it is, I’m glad he didn’t have to suffer long and simply passed away in his sleep.
    For you and Zooey I hope for a good end. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the treatment will work and that she’ll stay with you for a long time still.
    Have a wonderful Sunday,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      When the vet explained the options for Zoey the Cool Cat, I told her that neither Jim nor I would be up to giving her daily insulin shots, and drawing blood and testing it every week. We would have to give her up to a long-term care facility or have her put down. Update coming in my post tomorrow. Hint: It’s good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pit

        I’m glad, Russel, to have learned from your recent post that ZCC is only borderline diabetic and that a “simple” [even if very expensive] diet does the trick and helps. But just in case: I found out with our Fritz that those insulin injections are absolutely doable. I had never before imagined how easy those would be and how quietly he would take them. Never even the slightest “meow” at this little prick he must have felt. Feeding him pills – when he needed them – was way more difficult.
        Anyway: good luck for all three of you,


  2. acflory

    -hugs- I’m glad you know what’s wrong and have a chance of fixing it. Zoey won’t be happy at the change in diet but she’ll thank you eventually. Don’t want to butt in but chicken thigh fillet, skin off, might be a nice, low fat treat every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Opinion—Pets speak, but we have to understand their language (part one) | Russel Ray Photos

  4. jengarynewadventures

    Seeing the photo of Zoey on your office chair, she was right at home! I am so sorry about Sophie. We live in TN with the wood behind us but a 2 lane fast pace highway in front so we worry about our stray kitties that find us. I will have to post a pic of our little black kitty that has taken over the front yard,patio furniture too and sent our older calico cat, Sassy or Sassafras to the back yard to lounge on the patio furniture and the grandbabies trampoline 🙂 Jen

    Liked by 1 person


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