Delenda Est Carthago

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Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

30.8.06

Our cat, Zoe


As I mentioned, on Monday night we had to put our cat down. She had been sick for over a week, and wasn't getting better. It's never an easy decision to end a pet's life, but it was for the best.

We got Zoe in 1997. She was at the animal shelter in Oregon for some reason - we never did learn why. Krys felt guilty about taking her, actually - she had just arrived and was near the front of the shelter, while we passed on other cats who had been there longer and were therefore closer to death. Zoe, however, was so friendly - she was crying and rubbing against the cage and purring loudly. We suspect that someone with children sent her to the shelter because she swatted at their kid. Zoe was never particularly patient, especially with the children, and we wonder if that was why she was there in the first place.

We brought her home and she became part of our lives. Early on, she was very snuggly and used to lie between us on the bed. We also learned that she was quite pissy occasionally - the vet told us she had some calico in her, and calicos are notoriously high-strung. Zoe loved getting petted, but once she was done, you better stop, because she would swat at you. She was funny that way - one second she would be purring and rubbing against you, and then she would draw blood with her claws. After a few seconds, she would start rubbing against you again. Weird.


After two years, we realized she was lonely, especially when we weren't around. We went on a cruise to Grenada and Venezuela in 1999, and when we returned from the trip, she was at our window crying miserably. We were living in the townhouse on the side of the hill, and we could hear her from our garage, which was at the bottom of the hill. We had hired a cat sitter to come and be with her during the week that we were gone, but she wasn't there all the time, and Zoe was lonely. That's when we decided to get another cat.

Picking a new cat was a delicate process. Zoe was the queen of the castle, and we knew she wouldn't take kindly to another cat. So we wanted a mellow, male cat. We went to a foster home instead of a shelter, because we knew if the cat didn't fit in with Zoe we could take it back and it wouldn't be in danger of dying. The first cat we got was far too mellow - he made himself right at home and really freaked Zoe out. So we took him back and told the people at the home that we needed a really wimpy cat that she could push around but wouldn't mind it. They gave us Smokey.

Smokey was the perfect fit for Zoe. She could harass him, but he didn't mind. Up until she got sick she would harass him, and he would come back for more. In the beginning he was very scared to come out - he spent a month under out futon - but once he did, he fit right in. He would chase Zoe around, she would hiss at him and swat him, and he would slink away. Then he would chase her again. Despite her protests, she would play with him occasionally, and I think she liked having him around.

When we moved into a house in 2000, Zoe had a wonderful time. She was able to go out more (she could go out when we lived in the townhouse, but there wasn't a lot of places for her to go) and she became the queen of the neighborhood. There were a few cats in the area, and Zoe would antagonize the one next door, in particular. It was humorous because she was really a wimp - when the other cat was inside she would strut around on our neighbor's back porch meowing, but the instant the cat came outside she would flee. That was fine with us - we didn't want her getting in fights.

When we moved to Arizona in 2001 we decided to keep her inside. We lived in a big apartment complex, and when we moved out of there and into a house, we were near a very busy street and didn't want her wandering into traffic. By the time we bought our house in 2003 she had been an inside cat for so long we didn't let her out again. We were also a bit worried about the fact that a lot of people on our street seemed to leave their garage doors open, and we didn't want her getting trapped. She adjusted well, although she still ran outside occasionally. When she did, it was quite funny - she stayed right against the house and cried, as if she didn't know what to do outside anymore. We would catch her and bring her back in, and she seemed happier. She and Smokey loved lying in our greenhouse window in the kitchen during the summer, soaking up the sun. During the winter she would sleep with me in the bed (Krys moves around too much, so she stayed on my side). She never really liked the children. She would tolerate them, but didn't like to be touched by them. We worried about it with Norah, because Mia got hurt before she was really interested in her and could move toward her quickly, but Norah was okay around Zoe. She liked to grab at Zoe, and Zoe would often swat her, but only a few times with her claws. Norah had begun to learn to stay away. We told Zoe that she should just get up and leave when Norah came around, and usually she did, but occasionally she just got pissy.

Last year we found out that Zoe (and Smokey, for that matter) had teeny-tiny kidneys. Apparently kidney problems are very common in cats, and they told us that kidney failure would eventually kill her. She was fine until about two weeks ago, when we noticed she wasn't eating very much. She lost weight pretty quickly, and when I took her to the vet last Tuesday he told me she was already pretty far gone. She was severely dehydrated, and kidney failure makes cats nauseous, so she wasn't interested in eating. We gave her fluids at home through subcutaneous injections, and on Saturday we took her to the vet for intravenous fluids, because that's more effective. She was able to eat on Sunday, but she was also still staggering around and did not look very happy. I took her back to the vet on Monday for more IV treatment, because it's usually a two-day process (but they're closed on Sundays), but she didn't get any better. When I called shortly after six on Monday, the doctor said she started having seizures because of all the toxins in her body. They gave her Valium but the seizures didn't stop, and he said there was pretty much no hope for her. I went back to the vet to say goodbye. She was sedated, but her eyes were open, so I hope she realized that it was me stroking her and that soon she would be beyond pain.

So we're pretty sad around here. Smokey isn't quite sure where his "sister" went, and Krys and I are depressed. I'm kind of glad we didn't have to explain it to the kids - we know we're going to have to get into death soon enough, but later is nicer than sooner, I suppose. We're going to see how Smokey adjusts, because we think he really likes having another kitty around. I have a feeling we'll be rescuing one soon enough. Cats are, after all, very cool.

Thanks to everyone who expressed their condolences on my last post. I appreciate it. I know anyone who's had a pet understands that they may "only" be an animal, but they're still family members. I've been very busy the past couple of days, which is why I haven't posted anything. I'll get back to it soon. If you're interested, later on today I should have something about Mia's birthday party this past Sunday. She turns four today, and we're very happy with her progress. I haven't posted it yet, but it should be at the other blog this evening (Arizona time, of course).

We'll miss Zoe. She was a fine cat.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Ashley said...

:(

30/8/06 7:15 PM  
Blogger Chance said...

That's some fine story. A terrific tribute. You left a tear in my eye at the end --- seriously. RIP, Zoe.

31/8/06 10:47 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks, guys.

1/9/06 9:15 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Greg! Haven't been by for while, so I thought I should visit.

I still can't beleave I'm a closet cat lover. It just doesn't seem to fit my personality. But here I am, a slave to that purr.

1/9/06 8:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And I meant to say:

I'm sorry for your loss.
I would be devastated by the loss of my kitty.

Sorry Greg.

1/9/06 8:36 PM  
Blogger Roxy said...

:-(

3/9/06 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats so sad.

:( i would be devastated by my cats death.


Right now he has cancer.

9/10/07 10:04 PM  

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