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February 2024


Dear Readers, This arrived in our inbox and immediately we were taken back through the years. … Bless the folks who saved and loved Ivy Joy -- and took many more photos of her. This is how Lezli expressed the love for the cat who loved and inspired love. It began exactly like this:

Tribute from Ivy Joy’s mom, Lezli Ragland
Charles Dickens said it so well:
“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”

In Loving memory of our  beautiful, beautiful Ivy Joy Ragland… 
August 29, 2011 to March 25, 2024

412 ivy kitchen tableOur hearts are better because of you, Sweet Ivy Joy. Thank you for teaching us about love, strength, courage, tenacity, feistiness, tolerance, and loving acceptance… Thank you for loving us and picking us as your family. You are my soul kitty and will remain  forever in all our hearts.

As I work in my office every day and look towards the window, I miss seeing you there and how you shared the desk with me. You were always so tolerant of my work and my colleagues got used to seeing you on the WebEx meetings swishing your tail and demanding attention…as  you usually joined the conference calls, especially when you wanted a treat!
 You could be pretty demanding when it came to food! 

As I reflect back on your life journey with us, I realize just how amazing it was …My precious angel, Jazzi Sunshine kitty Ragland, had earned her
wings and my heart was not the same after that. Then some time later, we lost our special-needs kitty, CK aka Cuddles Kitty Ragland. Our 412 ivy paper baghome  was Cat-less for the first time in over 25 years. We still had all our ferals but no feline family inside our house!  

Don’t get me wrong, our ferals were very important to us….We did 63 TNRs over the years and provided, food, water, shelter, love and vet care to them. Our oldest feral, Big Blackie, was with us almost 20 years. After CK earned his wings, my heart was not ready for another cat…I was still able to get my kitty cuddle fix from my parents’ (Joy and Frank Ragland) cats, Chloe and Louie Blue Ragland. They, too,  were pretty awesome. What cat is not!?

I remember when Larry Powell (wonderful animal advocate, author, editor, columnist and downright amazing human-being) wrote about Ivy Joy and introduced her to the animal network. Then my phone rang one day and super animal hero, Johnnie England (former President of Operation Kindness and an incredible human-being), called to tell me about 412 ivy  withcard gameIvy stating she thought she would do well with us. Johnnie and I were connected through all our animal rescues and she supported my efforts to help those animals who needed help. Johnnie connected me to Edna and Frank Taylor of Houston Tx in August 2011. I was  told about this young cat they had who needed a home.
She was a special needs kitty who was not tolerant of other kitties and needed to go to a special family! Before I knew it, Edna and Frank were driving her to our home in Dallas Tx and when precious Ivy arrived on August 29th 2011 she made herself at home and our hearts have never been the same. Ivy checked us out and picked us for her family. We are so thankful of that! Ivy learned how to integrate with our family so well! She was the Queen of all of us, but more so of our hearts. She helped me heal from the other losses. 

Ivy had a lot of lifetime special needs such as fear anxiety, extreme vet aggression, teeth grinding, irritable bowel, inflammatory bladder syndrome… and lastly cancer which started in fall of 2020. Ivy was very appreciative of all the care she received and if she didn’t agree with it…she 412 ivy  people nap timewould let you know! 

Ivy Joy had the most beautiful long white whiskers, and she loved to sit on your chest while you slept and stick them up your nose !! That tickle was intense! The thought of her doing that makes me giggle! I miss it….

I miss her sitting on the DVR and blocking part of the TV….she loved the warmth and watching her favorite shows…upfront and  center!

I miss her rubbing up against my legs and bathing my hands….she was good at caring for me….she took care of all of us! 

I miss her laying in the middle of our table games….she made sure she got to play!

I miss her everything…I miss her presence in our lives….

I had the honor of being Ivy’s mom and  special person for 13 plus years. It will never be long enough, but it is what we had. We had a very strong bond that only we shared! Her dad, Michael Ragland, was so incredibly special to her, as well!  He was an amazing cat dad to her! She purred with joy when he was home! She loved to sleep on him, too! He ran a very close second to me!

412 ivy pink rosesIvy lived life on her terms and she loved her family so much! There was a mutual love and a mutual respect for who we were and for who she was….I feel pretty lost without her. She was my strength and her love will remain forever strong in all of our hearts.

In 2021, when my mom, Ivy’s namesake—Joy Ragland — moved in with us, Ivy  bonded with her in an amazing way….she loved her cuddle times with her. It was really cool to see the way she had grown and evolved to loving her humans. Ivy really knew she was loved and worshipped as every cat should be….but she showed unconditional love to us, as well.

Ivy was very tolerant and loving of all of her dog siblings, but always let them know she was the princess of the house! Ivy had a very special bond with our wonderful Boston, Luna Rose Ragland. Sweet Luna earned her wings on June  2, 2021. Ivy really grieved that loss (as we all did )….and now, they have been reunited at the Rainbow Bridge.

Ivy enjoyed her morning milk, and her cuddles before I left  for work each day. That had been a ritual since 2011. I’m so grateful I started working from home in 2018 so I could care for my mom after my incredibly special father, Frank Ragland, earned his wings. My parents shared a once in a lifetime love of 60 years. So Amazing. 

In taking a job from home, I got to spend  so much more time with my furs and bond even more with my precious Ivy Joy. 

412 ivy  with dog palAfter joining our family, Ivy went on vacations with us! She loved the weeks we spent at the cabins in Oklahoma and getting extra family time! Ivy was a wonderful traveler and always made herself at home!

When Ivy was diagnosed with feline mammary cancer in the fall of 2021, our hearts sank….literally sank….cancer has had and still does have such a huge presence in our lives….an unwelcome presence. 

Knowing she was facing the cancer journey, too, made us so sad. Ivy  was a true cancer warrior! We have lots of loving CCLs (Crazy Cat Ladies) who walk in support of breast cancer and feline mammary  cancer. In doing so, they honor Ivy Joy and  all those furry ones affected by the disease.  Thank you,  CCLs!
One night early in her cancer diagnosis when Ivy was cuddling with me…she and I had a long talk….I let her know she would never be alone. I thought it was OK for her to have the surgery and she seemed to agree. As long as there wasn’t much follow up….Ivy had to be gassed down every time she went to the vet, as she became like a lion on steroids and they couldn’t treat her.  Ivy suffered from extreme fear aggression at the vet! Phew! 

After her first cancer surgery to remove her tumor, it was not a surprise that
412 ivy  lounging chairshe did wonderfully and healed without complications. This surgery gifted all of us 18 more months of time together. Her cancer reappeared and she had surgery again in December 2023. The new tumor was removed and appeared to be gone but the vets were not feeling as optimistic this go round. The vets were right. Unfortunately,  the cancer spread to her lungs in January 2024. 

During one of our many chats, I always let Ivy know I would do everything to make her life special and I promised her the best passing when it was her time….Ivy let me know when she was ready to fly and we helped her earn her wings March 25, 2024. [NOTE TO HER RESCUER: Edna, her little pink bed you brought her to our home with in 2011 was her final resting place. She loved that bed!]

In my mind’s eye, I still look for her and hear her meow….It broke our hearts to let her go but she was ready to fly and leave her cancer behind. It 412 ivy wtching birdwas her time and she earned her angel wings the same way she lived her life… on her terms. She has joined all those who have gone before us and she’s watching over all of us now! Our sweet Elderly Chi, Honey Bun Ragland, is grieving the loss and so is our little Chi, Amelia Rae Ragland. When Amelia joined our family in December of 2021, She was not happy to have a cat in the household.  It took some time and patience, but Ivy Joy and Amelia learned to love each other. 

A very special thank you to  my wonderful husband,  Michael, my Mom, Joy, and many family and friends for loving her, caring for her and being in her life! Thank you to Larry Powell for making her famous through his stories and columns…Such a wonderful animal advocate and person…and  thank you to Jonnie  England for connecting her to me…you were right, it was a purrfect match! Thank you Edna and Frank Taylor for rescuing her and giving her the best chance on life….thank you for connecting us with Ivy and for picking us for her family. 

I will always love you, Ivy Joy….princess of my heart…our hearts are connected by Paws. 
Fly Free sweet girl and keep shining brightly.  2011-2024
Ivy’s mom, Lezli Ragland