Cats are truly unique individuals, and for one lovely kitty named Josephine, she’s full of quirks that others can’t help but admire. Her journey with her loyal human is about showing others that cats like her don’t need to be euthanized because all it takes is patience, understanding, and educating yourself to live with these special needs cats—and all their silly cat antics. I caught up with Josephine’s humble servant hoping to feature her story on the site, and thankfully, she agreed. So, everyone get to know this quirky girl who can hopefully inspire you to consider opening your heart and home to a cat like her someday.
How did Josephine come into your life?
I had been without a cat for almost five years after losing my previous cat, my soul cat, Pooh. In April 2016, I finally decided it was time to adopt again. I went on PetFinder and saw Jo’s photo. She was at a local cats-only vet practice which also maintained a foster and rescue program. I went to see her the next day. She was supposed to be 3 years old but turned out that she was not quite a year old. She was funny and playful, and she had thumbs, and I fell for her. I took her home on April 26.
How did she get her name?
Jo was spotted sitting in a tree on the campus of St. Joseph’s Hospital, and a Good Samaritan got her down and took her to the rescue. She was named Josephine in honor of where she was found and I decided to keep it. The “Quirky” part of her social media persona came about in an early discussion with Jo’s Veterinary behaviorist. After the behaviorist listed all of Jo’s diagnoses, I simply said, “I guess I have a quirky cat.”
Can you tell me about her quirks?
Where to start? Lol. Jo is very good about using scratchers. Before she eats or starts to play, and sometimes in the middle of playing, Jo will stop to use her scratcher.
She loves lying on my lap, but will only do so if there’s a blanket, or pillow, on my lap. She refuses to lie on just my lap.
She’s in love with the toilet paper holder (which is metal and stands on the floor). Every morning while she’s getting her pets from me, she’ll rub on that thing hard enough to push it over.
She has opposable thumbs and uses them to pick toys up.
Jo has obsessive compulsive tendencies. One of the ways this shows up is in Jo’s insistence of sniffing absolutely every. Single. Thing. Possible. Usually several times over.
Jo gets treats with her medication, which she takes three times a day. She is basically an alarm clock and will remind me exactly when her medication (ie treats) are due.
She really does enjoy watching “Chopped” and she’s watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” numerous times.
What is her personality like?
That’s a complicated question because there is “medicated Jo” and “unmedicated Jo”. Unmedicated Jo is a very anxious, obsessive compulsive cat that is prone to extreme over stimulation, excessive vocalization, and sudden aggression. Unmedicated Jo is not a happy cat. Medicated Jo is a less anxious, less obsessive compulsive cat, who is still prone to extreme over stimulation and sudden aggression, but less often than when unmedicated. Josephine’s Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) is partially responsible for her tendency towards aggression. It also causes her to experience seizure-like episodes that cause her to stare at, and lick, the floor, and exhibit excessive grooming, and anxiety. Medicated Jo is also a cat who demands lap naps, loves to play, and be petted, and especially loves company as she’s a very social cat.
What’s something special you want other cat people to know about her?
There is much I’d like people to know about Jo, and cats like her. I’d like people to understand that cats like Jo who exhibit behavior issues, I call them “behaviorally challenging cats”, are, and should be seen, and treated, as special needs cats.
I’d like people to understand that behavioral issues in cats are often easily addressed and that these cats should not be dumped at shelters. Statistics show that over 50% of cats left at shelters for “behavior problems” are euthanized. The vast majority of those cats could be saved with more education and compassion.
I’d like people to know that even though Jo has been, and will continue to be (on occasion), aggressive, it does not mean she’s a “bad cat”. There’s no such thing as a bad animal. Jo is aggressive at times, but none of the reasons for that aggression: a neurological condition, anxiety, and a forceful personality, are her “fault”. Like all of us, Jo deals with the conditions dealt to her the best she can. It’s up to me to help her do that, and to learn what I can to help minimize the effects of those conditions. Because I have refused to give up on Jo; refused to have her put down when she first started being aggressive, I now have a sweet, loving, playful, lap cat who is kind of a big deal on social media. Lol. All animals deserve the best chance at a safe, healthy, and happy life, and it’s up to us to make sure that happens.
I’d also like people to know that if they are experiencing behavior issues with their cat, that they are more than welcome to contact me. I’m not a vet or behaviorist, but I have years of practical experience dealing with these issues, and I’m happy to share that experience. I can also provide people with a lot of information about behavioral issues in cats, and help them find a behaviorist in their area. Last, but certainly not least, I will listen and remind them they aren’t alone in dealing with their “crazy” cat.
If people are interested in reading about our journey together, they can read my blog at:
Finally, people can hear me chat with Fiona Shaw, host of the podcast, Lets Chat About Cats Podcast, episode 44. It can be accessed through IG and Spotify.
I want to give a special “thank you” to Josephine’s mom, Diane Johnson, aka the HS (which stands for “Human Staff”), for allowing me to share her cat’s story and images with all of the Cattitude Daily readers. Stories like hers just go to show you that sometimes the most amazing cats of all are simply misunderstood, and thankfully there are kindhearted folks like Diane who are willing to take a chance on them. For more on Josephine the Quirky Cat, be sure to check out her social media channels and website.
Instagram | Facebook | Her Website
All Images Courtesy of Josephine the Quirky Cat on Facebook