He wasn't even my cat, really. One of a pair of gorgeous Burmese, he belonged serially to two sets of friends of mine. I was the go-between for the adoption and cat-sat him for a year in the interim while his new parents were on sabbatical. When I die and my deeds good and bad are toted up, if such things matter, making this adoption happen should stand me in good credit. For Jasper's new parents it was a life-changing event, in the best possible way.
He was terrified when he first arrived, cowering in the nethermost corner of his carrier, only his rump showing, his tail curled under him. He was shiny and sable brown, with a few stray white hairs on his chest. While his "sister" Truffle was a regal specimen of her kind, with an impressive pedigree going back to the original Burmese, Jasper's papers only said "DO NOT BREED". We suspected the white blaze was an unforgivable aberration. He was also much sleeker than the average Burmese and had a mighty Siamese yowl that could be heard far and wide. Because of that yowl, and his reputation for being a bit of a brat, his adoption was only conditional.
And what a brat he was! It took him a while to overcome his initial fear -- he even disappeared for a few days into the uncharted recesses of the basement -- but once he got comfortable, he showed his true colours. He first gleefully destroyed a chair cushion. Then he shifted his attentions to the brand new wool broadloom on the stairs. Over time he clawed his way through it in several places all the way to the wood beneath, despite numerous scratching posts being made available for his claw-sharpening pleasure. He staged random attacks on Truffle, who nevertheless ruled the roost, leaving tufts of her fur for me to find. He was very jealous of any attention she received. Once he even nipped her while she was sleeping on my chest, minding her own business, and in her panic to flee, and getting a claw caught in my top, she bit me.
Nevertheless he stayed, saved by the fact that he was a great cuddler. They both were: "I am trapped under cats" became a wonderful excuse both for me and for my friends not to do things. He also had a loud purr and was as soft as silk. At night he would curl up next to me under the covers and generate massive amounts of heat, while Truffle would come and go, her departures announced by a soft thump. And as he mellowed with age, he became less bratty. The carpet would never be safe from him, but he never again attacked a cushion. He even stopped attacking Truffle.
Truffle died two years ago and we were all very, very sad, but as my friends said, when they returned from the vet they still had Jasper to come home to. Jasper missed Truffle and yowled even more plaintively as he searched for her all throughout the house. He became even needier than he had been, if that was possible. Then, in the way of male cats, he developed kidney disease and over the space of about year he dwindled away to nothing. First he lost his ability to jump and run, then by the end he couldn't even walk. But he still had his yowl, if somewhat muted, and his fur was soft and shiny to his last day. And he still loved to cuddle.
Of all the cats I had known, and there had been many, Jasper was my favorite.
I'll miss you, buddy.