Remembering Zoloft

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Joey Lusvardi and Zoloft
Zoloft and I when we first met and one of my favorite photos of us.

It is with an extremely heavy heart and sadness that I cannot even put into words that I must announce that my best friend and the inspiration for Class Act Cats, Zoloft, has passed away. I won’t sugarcoat it and pretend that I’m anything less than devastated or that I’m handling his loss well. He was my best friend and the absolute love of my life. He got me through the pandemic and some of the most challenging times I’ve lived through. His absence leaves a gaping hole in my life. I would give up anything to have him back for another day filled with snugs and purrs.

At the same time, I am so, so grateful for the time I had with him. It hurts right now, but I know that my memories of him and the special times we had together will be a treasure for the rest of my days. He didn’t come into my life until he was 8 so my time with him was much shorter than I would have liked, but it genuinely was the best period of my life. He really was an incredible cat who always comforted me when I needed it and followed me around like he was velcro. I’ll miss his thunderous purrs and his warm snuggles. Heck, I’ll even miss him screaming at me to give him more food.

I have so many stories and happy memories I could share, but I want to share the one that has the most meaning to me and the one that sums up who he was.

Zoloft the cat lying on a couch.
Zoloft looking handsome, as he always did. Photo by Lisa Peterson of Pawsh Photography.

Zoloft came into my life on March 27, 2018. I had wanted a pet for my entire childhood and into my adult life, but circumstances never worked out to get one so I relied on cat and dog sitting for others to get my fix. I loved hanging out with other people’s pets, but I was ready for one of my own. A friend posted about a cat that needed a new home and I knew I had to meet him. When I showed up to meet him at his old home, he came right up and started rubbing against me right away. It was like being struck with a lightning bolt as when I left, I knew he had to come live with me. I got home and immediately began rearranging my furniture so he would be able to enjoy the space.

The day he came home, he was dropped off by his old owner and as I was talking with her, I let him out to explore. The poor guy wandered around to explore, but he was clearly frightened. Whenever I’d get near him, he’d hiss at me. I decided to let him be and let him come to me when he was ready. I was terrified that I made a mistake. I was so worried he wouldn’t be happy with me and that it wasn’t going to work out. I already loved him so much.

He hid that night but came out to eat and used his litter box. The next morning when I left for work, he was out of hiding but stayed at a distance. The whole day, I could only think about him and how much I wanted him to be happy.

After work, I let him decide when and how he wanted to interact with me and he mostly stayed away from me that evening. I got into bed and was so worried he wouldn’t be happy with me because he still seemed scared.

Five minutes later, he hopped up on the bed. He slowly approached, looked at me, and climbed onto my chest and purred. I let him sniff my hand and he rubbed his head into it. I knew he was going to be happy and that with some time, we’d learn about each other.

We can’t truly know if our cats love us in the same sense we love them, but I’d like to think my little shadow loved me almost as much as I loved him. I add the almost because the amount of love I have for my little bug is an all-consuming kind of love that I’m not sure can be matched.

Thank you for being my best friend, Zoloft. You changed me for the better and I am so grateful for every second we had together. Being your daddy will always be my favorite part of my life. I promise you that I will take everything you’ve taught me and use it to make life better for other cats. Wherever you are, I hope there’s a comfy office chair to sit on.

I love you for eternity, my sweet cat.

Zoloft, a lynx point SIamese cat, stares out a screen door while sitting on a pineapple rug. He has a blue bowtie on that's turned to the back.

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Joey Lusvardi

Joey Lusvardi CCBC is an IAABC Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and professional cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation and cat training service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. Joey is available for in home sessions locally or virtual sessions wherever you are located!