The story behind Zoey the Cool Cat


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I grew up in the farming and ranching community of Kingsville, Texas, population 23,000 or so. My family, however, were railroaders with Missouri Pacific Railroad until my third oldest uncle bought a ton of land and created his own ranch.

I’ve had every kind of pet you can possibly imagine — Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl family, snakes, pigs, horses, cattle, fish, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, even a monkey which I eventually had to give up to the San Antonio Zoo.

My favorite pets were always dogs. My first was Bosco, a mutt. Then I had Bougher, a Welsh corghi. Then it was a pair of purebred beagles, Union and Pacific (named after the Union Pacific Railroad). Then Sugar, a chow/besenji mix, and Penny, a long-haired dachshund.

Penny and Sugar

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sugar rode on the back of my motorcyle with me.

Sugar ready to go biking

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I disappeared from College Station, Texas, on April 15, 1993, letting only one friend know what I was doing. He came down from Waco, Texas, and took the two dogs. I took off in my 1989 Ford Mustang GT for who knows where, eventually winding up in San Diego. I never went back to Texas. Midlife crisis, I am here.

I didn’t have any pets from 1993 to 2006. On Thanksgiving Day 2006, a feral black cat came to visit me. I gave her food and milk; she accepted everything and then took off. Nothing like eating and running.

She returned on Christmas Eve. I guess she understood human holidays. I gave her more food and milk; this time she stayed. Jim named her Sophie.

Sophie on fence

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We tried to make Sophie into an indoor cat. She was happy being inside until the sun went down. Then she would howl and howl until we opened the door to let her out. She’d come back the next morning and scratch on our bedroom window to let us know that she was back and wanted in. Sometimes she’d bring us a gopher, or snake, or rat, or bird………… Typical cat.

On September 19, 2007, in the wee hours of the morning, Sophie was hit and killed by a car. A black cat on a black asphalt road in the black of night. I knew it would happen eventually. A neighborhood lady found her smashed body, removed her nametag, wrapped her in some old towels, and called to tell me what had happened. I went and got Sophie from the side of the road and gave her a proper burial. Unfortunately, I unwrapped the towels to make sure that it was our Sophie. It was, but it was the most gruesome sight I have ever seen. I was devastated.

You can see more pictures of Sophie at her memorial web site.

That afternoon Jim and I went down to the El Cajon Animal Shelter to get a cat……….. an indoor cat. We settled on Zoey, with the name spelled Zoe. We were not able to pick her up until 24 hours later. I added the Y to Zoe to create Zoey, so that it would rhyme in sight and sound with Joey. Makes sense.

Zoey had been with us about three hours when she took this position in the chair in which I sit at this very moment:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“What a cool cat!” I remarked, and after that it was always “Zoey the Cool Cat.”

I am now officially a cat person.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

35 thoughts on “The story behind Zoey the Cool Cat

  1. Kathy A. Schowe

    Our animals are so important to us…and I always wanted to know about Zoey. Thank you for sharing– and I’m so sorry to hear about Sophie. How terribly sad– I cannot imagine seeing that. I have had to put a few pets down– and it is never easy.
    Miss you on AR– but will keep in touch! Best, K


    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Hey, Kathy. After Jason Sardi’s recent post, Jim is finished with that other site also. Along with the WordPress web site that Eric Cooper set up for Jim, I’m now setting up a WordPress blog since Eric is working at a software company and no longer available to us. Jim will be blogging on WordPress and just letting the AR blog die a slow death.


  2. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    what a sad but happy story…
    circles of life…
    I love all the pictures of Zoey…
    I feed so many cats…they should be wild since they are ferrals(all mine have passed to the otherside) but they are very familar when its feeding time, and I have three wild ones that share their kittens with me..
    i try not to get attached…but…
    I miss my Sammi, she was a Himalayain(?selling) Siamese….17 years…..
    now I have two wolves…they are too rough with the cats ..soo I play with
    the cats outside the yard…
    I do miss my indoor cats…*sigh*
    Thank you Russel…I enjoyed this and since I was suspose to turn off the computer 20 miutes okay I will now…
    Take Care…
    (and yes the campsite was spic and span…I do appreciate you stopping by Thank You)


  3. seapunk2

    What a great story. It’s one thing to have a loved pet euthanized because of sickness or old age, etc., and all that goes with that. To have a pet so demolished is horrendous. I have personally and literally shoveled and scraped 7 cats off of the street I used to live on, as drivers thought it was a long, straight racetrack. I remember some people driving around me, while I stood in the street one particular time, with my shovel and box, sobbing and crying out Tig-Tig’s name. Poor Tig-Tig was so traumatized, I thought he’d never be a normal cat. He was kept in a box by a breeder… I get choked up just thinking about it. I must share some pics.
    I have 13 animals and have had more, at times. So many need us. Thank you for adopting. This makes me very happy.


  4. Sharmishtha

    it really hurts when a loved pet gets killed like that. cats are free spirits, its almost impossible to keep them indoors for long. thats why dogs are my all time favourite pets.


  5. seapunk2

    Reblogged this on seapunk2 and commented:
    Just read the following story about Russel Ray’s loss of one cat and adoption of another. Thought it a good time to start sharing a big part of my own life, my beloved animals, for whom I take my job as guardian, very seriously.


  6. magsx2

    It is always so very sad when we lose a beloved pet, but how great that you found Zoey at the shelter, the best place I feel to find a pet.
    How lucky you were to have so many pets growing up, it certainly would of taught you a fair bit about animals. 🙂


  7. Hot Rod Cowgirl

    Sophie was a very cool kitty angel too and drivers can be so very mean…even though we live on a country road I have lost countless puppies and dogs to drivers going by too fast…and I too lost Kalamazoo my 16 year old black Manx to the road in front of my home…it is terrible and it breaks your heart in many pieces. My animals are human to me and my family. God Bless Sophie:) Zoey is a very cool kitty too:) Love her stripes and markings….and a perfect cattitude too!!!! Thank you for sharing:)


  8. Lisa at fLVE

    How lucky you are to be able to have so many pets and how lucky they are to have you. I have a soft spot for black cats but I do love dogs too. Sad about Sophie. Zoey is cool.


  9. FeyGirl

    XOXO! Love your story…. I’ve just lost a few (feral) kitties, and it’s breaking my heart to no end, I love them as much as my own babies. Thanks so very much for sharing — it’s so good to hear of others’ love for these guys out there, after seeing so much ick sometimes. ♥


  10. seakist

    Now can I camp out in your blog? What happened to the post “I wanted to follow you, but oh no…”? I started reading it in my email box, then whenever I clicked to read the rest it wasn’t there. I’m nosy, I want to know the ending! Please share!


  11. Freedomborn

    Thanks for sharing Russel, I suspected you loved all animals not just cats although I love them too, as well as the rest except of course the nasties but they are needed for the food chain, still I’m not impressed they want me to be on theirs or to eat my food. 😦

    Our dog Missy died a few weeks ago when we were on Holidays, we couldn’t even get her to a Vet, they were closed but we have her in our heart so she will always remain with us.

    Your the first to know this great news Russel as we only found out last night from the Animal Rescue Shelter that they have another furry friend for us who needs a home and who is very suited to us, I will do a Post about him after he is part of our family, perhaps early next week, his name is Mo Joe, we will once again have our ‘M and M’s ( see link below )

    Blog Post –

    Christian Love from both of us Anne.


    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      My wise old grandmother taught me that all God’s creatures have a right to live. I agree, but sometimes I have to let them live outside, not inside. Spiders, lizards, millipeded, crickets, etc., all get captured and re-released outside so that some bird can eat them — lol. Hey, it’s Mother and Father Nature’s food chain, not mine!

      I do find it disconcerting to watch some of the animal documentaries on Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, etc., because they tend to want to focus on the food chain itself instead of the beauty of the animals and their lives.


  12. Freedomborn

    Hi again Russel, yes I agree, and I no longer watch Animal Documentaries either, in Truth I no longer watch T.V I’m very carful these days what I fill my mind with and yelling at the people on the screen to wake up to themselves and get a life, is not really productive, so it is a real waste of time.

    My life is full without the interference of T.V but it’s not everyone’s choice, Ron watches it sometimes but mainly the News and information shows, his time is very limited, he wears many hats.

    God is the Creator of all life including the whole Universe, contrary to what many believe there is ample evidence to prove that this is True and the gifts He has also given us, such as Animals, we are indeed to appreciate by caring for them, with genuine concern for their welfare.

    Yep, keep the mossies, flies, cockroaches, snakes, spiders etc outside for sure, they may be needed but I don’t have to see them face to face or eye ball to eyeball just let them roam free in the back yard as you suggested but right at the back of it not up close and personal.

    Thanks again Russel- Christian Love from us both- Anne


  13. Pit

    Hi Russel,
    Wonderful post: I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. Please, give Zoey a nice pat and a scratch behind her ears.
    Take care, and have a good one,


  14. Halim

    Zoey is really cute, and reminds me of our Suzy. And Sophie looked a lot like our Blackie, who is male. We have another male cat Didi.

    Some months after Ras our German Shepherd passed away in 2003, we suddenly had visits from one stray cat after another in our backyard. We fed them all. Some made repeated visits, a few stayed, some drifted away eventually. We never had cats before that.

    Then one day one we named Tommy who we loved because he was very affectionate and attached to us, got hit and killed by a car too like your Sophie. We were devastated and after we buried him, scrambled to get the other cats in. That’s when we officially adopted Suzy and Didi. Blackie turned up in my front porch some months later and stole my heart by refusing to leave my side and looking deep into my eyes when he meowed at me intently lol.



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