Purr Prints of the Heart – Guest Post and Fundraiser for Advocates 4 Animals

11347630_864742936928222_873678951_o I was given the opportunity to share a guest post about Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond as written in the voice of my dearly departed cat, Mr. Jazz, on the Kitties in the City blog site. Kitties in the City is a beautiful and informative blog that was created by the talented, award-winning author and pet expert, Stacey Ritz, who is also my dear friend and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Advocates 4 Animals, Inc. – a 501(c)3 feline welfare organization based in Greene County, OH. Advocates 4 Animals (A4A) is one of my favorite rescues and Stacey gave me the option of having the post go up in late May or early June. Being that June is Adopt a Shelter/Rescue Cat Month and it also marks the one year anniversary month of the unexpected passing of my beloved rescue cat, Harley, (June 24), I knew I had to pick the June date.

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My motivation was actually deeper than that. Harley, Mr. Jazz, Purr Prints, and A4A have an interconnection that is special to me and I wanted to pay tribute to that relationship by helping to raise funds for the rescue cats at A4A as a way of thanking them for all they do to help feed, shelter, and find homes for them.

For this particular guest post and aspect of Purr Prints,  I decided to expound on the nature of the human-feline bond and how strong it is, because when a person ultimately decides to adopt a cat – whether it is through a rescue organization, a reputable breeder, finding a stray, or any other multitude of reasons – it is typically done with the full knowledge in the scheme of their own human time frame of life, that ultimately the pet will leave them and they will have to say goodbye. The basic premise of Purr Prints, as Mr. Jazz tells it, is despite that inevitably of loss, we still bring them into our hearts and homes, because in the long run, the unconditional love, happiness, and companionship a pet provides us far outweighs the eventual pain of letting go.

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This picture was taken from Purr Prints of the Heart and beautifully depicts the stoic friendship between Harley and Jazz. They lived together for 10 years and the memory of both of them will forevermore live in my heart.

Mr. Jazz also explores the bond between pets themselves in Purr Prints, as he was a cat that lived in a multi-pet home for all 15 years of his life. One of the most compelling chapters of the book, “One Last Gift,” is how cat companion to Mr. Jazz, Harley, reacted when she instinctively knew Jazz was nearing the end of his life. Harley was not a cat prone to venturing anywhere away from the living room couch where she preferred to nap her days away, but somehow she knew a goodbye to her dear friend was in order.

Jazz writes,

“One night, just like any other night before Mom went to bed, she brought a blanket to lie down with me. Harley came with her, and this time rather than settling next to Mom, Harley put her body next to mine. Mom tried to shoo her away, thinking she might be bothering me, but Harley insisted on staying and put the girth of her body next to mine, almost willing her love and warmth into me.

Mom realized Harley was saying goodbye to her friend, so she let her stay. It was a very beautiful moment for all of us, and it gave me an opportunity to tell Harley it was okay – that I was okay with it all. I knew I was dying and I wasn’t afraid. I told her I’d had a wonderful life – so many great memories – and it was up to her and the others to take care of Mom and Dad now.”

A mere 7 months after we had to help cross Jazz over the Rainbow Bridge, we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to Harley and cross her as well. It was a brutally tough moment for me, but somehow, through the worst of my disbelief and pain, Jazz came back to me to reassure me that Harley was in a better place. Far too lengthy a topic to discuss here, but shared in detail in Purr Prints,  all I can say is that I have been very blessed to have been given the gift of having Jazz come to me in the afterlife on occasion and one of those occasions was to let me know he had met Harley at the Rainbow Bridge and that she was okay.

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Harley as the calendar cat cover girl for 2013

As I wipe away my tears in memory of it all, in honor of what Mr. Jazz would have wanted me to do – find the beauty and dignity of letting go – I will be donating 10% of the proceeds of the sales of Purr Prints to A4A between now and the end of the month. The special connection – Harley was the cat cover girl for the 2013 A4A calendar and I believe it is the purrfect tribute to my feline friend who left this earth far to early, but stays in my heart, never forgotten.

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To read my article in full on the Kitties in the City blog, please click here. To find details on purchasing PurrPrints of the Heart, please click here. And to bring your donations to life, I want to share where your money will be going. These are just some of the beautiful cats at A4A that are up for adoption – your donations will help keep them fed, clean, safe, and warm until they can find their wonderful furever homes.

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Cher reminds me so much of my sweet Harley – she has those big, loving, trusting eyes. Photo credit: Stacey Ritz/Advocates 4 Animals, Inc.

CHER – Cher is a dilute calico and A4A rescued her when her time was up at a local animal shelter. Cher was emaciated and in need of love. Since rescued by A4A, Cher is now spayed and fully vetted. She is a total lap cat and loves to snuggle. She also loves to play. She loves everyone she meets and is an absolute sweetheart! As many adopters choose to adopt young kittens, Cher has been waiting for over a year for adoption and she hopes to find a loving, furever home to call her own soon!

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I love a black cat and Carmen is a gorgeous, beautiful girl! Photo credit: Stacey Ritz/Advocates 4 Animals, Inc.

CARMEN – Carmen was dumped on the side of the road when her guardians relationship ended and no one wanted to keep her. Abandoned in her pet carrier, A4A rescued her. Carmen is now spayed, fully vetted and ready for adoption. She LOVES everyone she meets and would love to beat the odds by finding a new home soon, as short-haired black cats statistically wait longer for adoption.

To see all of the beautiful adoptable pets currently at A4A, please click here for photos/videos/bio’s/contact info.

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  1. Great story! It’s amazing how many sensors cats have beyond the obvious physical ones (sight, sound, taste).

    When my Pepe Francois passed away, I was devastated. It was sudden from one day to the next. But Jean Pierre, his buddy, playmate and protector, would search for him. At that sight, my heart shattered. But strangely I did have a dream with Pepe Francois with a message that I would find the right cat, at the right time which would lead me to a new path. I didn’t quite understand the last part and thought the order was backwards. Now I know, in moving to north downtown by the river, I found a stray kitten. Many stray kittens. I kept the smallest one. LIttle did I know my entire world would change and I ventured into a new direction. Thus Riverfront Cats was born. My life changed forever and for the better. This was the silver lining in Francois’ sudden passing.

    I bet you didn’t expect to write this book which is impacting all lives–human and cat.
    Let’s see where the road leads to next!

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for sharing this Christine – I did not know this story. I do remember that many moons ago, you were a “dog only” person and that there was one cat in particular that came into your life and changed your perception about the feline species! Now look at you!! My goodness, we both really have come a long way over the past several years!

  2. I’m headed over to the Kitties in the City blog to read your whole article, but I wanted to give a big paws up for finding a way to give back in honor of Mr. Jazz. The cat community is so different from other writing communities in that regard, and it’s so meaningful.

    • Deb says:

      You are so right about that, Sometimes Cats Herd You and it really means so much to me to be able to help cats when I can. Thank you for heading over to the Kitties in the City blog too – I appreciate it!

  3. sharon says:

    I enjoy your blog so much, and this post especially. Last year we helped our Mittens cross over. In her memory I have made my purchase of your book. Mr Jazz was such a special cat I cannot wait to read his point of view. Thank you for sharing with us Deb, and for now sharing with A4A. We have 3 kitties remaining in our home now, and one puppy. I am sure my cats are similar to yours in the “oh that dog” mentality. Hugs from 1 cat momma to another.

    • Deb says:

      Sharon – Thank you so much for your kind comment and purchase of Purr Prints. I do hope you will enjoy the book and it is so beautiful that you bought it in memory of your beloved Mittens. As far as the dog issue, yes, that will be addressed in Purr Prints!

  4. Stacey Ritz / Advocates 4 Animals says:

    Deb, thank you so much for your kind words and for your support of Advocates 4 Animals! We are honored to share your guest post on Kitties in the City, too. :-)

    • Deb says:

      Thank you Stacey – it was my honor to be featured on your blog. I really enjoy exploring different aspects of Purr Prints and so it was nice having a new platform to do so. I also hope sweet Cher and Carmine find forever homes soon!

  5. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    I read your guest post Deb; awesome… and I also gave Purr Prints its much deserved ten star review :)

    ♥♥♥

    I’m happy for you that dood Jazz’s book is catching so much attention ~~~~ ♥♥♥

  6. Gweat posty and gweat fotos. Weez purrayin’ all da kitties get luvvin’ furever homes and soon. Weez only want udder kitties to be as blest as we awe.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  7. We’re heading over to read your article. Paws up for honoring Mr. Jazz this way.

  8. meowmeowmans says:

    What a wonderful way to honor your beloved Mr. Jazz. We will go and read your full article now, Deb.

    Hugs!

  9. I think it’s wonderful that you’re donating a portion of the proceeds to A4A this month. I hope the donations can help these kitties find some new loving forever homes.

  10. A says:

    Great post and the book sounds great too. You all have a great day.

  11. Very inspiring post, it’s wonderful that you’re donating to A4A. Hope all the kitties in need get help. Stopping by from the Inspire Me Monday post, come say hi!