He came to us a few days after 9-11, 2001, a frightened, little ordinary gray and white kitten, thrown out at our house. I heard his pitiful cries and quickly scooped him up before the dog knew he was here. Since we already had a cat at the house, I wrapped him up in a towel and took him to a barn where I fed him every day until he got big enough to find his way to the chicken houses. He lived in a large drain pipe and when men came to catch the chickens I brought him to the house so he wouldn't get carried off or run over by trucks. The older cat didn't welcome him at all except with one-sided fights; the kitten always had a pleasant personality. The old cat left home, so the kitten became our house cat, a part of our family, another child. Everyone came to know Jasper and how special he was to us. He let us know when he needed to go outside and then when he wanted back inside, he would reach up and jiggle the doorknob. He selected various places in the house for his naps, slept at the foot of the bed some nights, and seemed to know when I was fixing supper; he had a way of parking himself in front of the refrigerator where I needed to walk. He loved to nuzzle up under my hair and I told him many times, "You're the bestest kitty in the world." We were all three going to be 70 years old this year; planned to grow old together.
This week, he had gone outside for his potty break and never came back. I called and called, even got up in the night to see if he had come to the door because it was so very cold. The next morning Noel found him in front of the tool shed; roaming dogs had killed him during his outside time. Now there's that terrible empty spot in our hearts, overlapped with loving memories of him, and at the same time, hate for the dogs. I thought yesterday I heard the noise of his little paws on the floor, the jiggling of the doorknob, and I've looked many times at the chair where he slept; but he's not there after 9 1/2 years and it's a terrible emptiness.