Saturday, March 28, 2009

R.I.P. ZEKE EVANS, 9/07-4/1/09

I went to the vet yesterday, April Fool's Day, at about 4:30 to help Zeke die peacefully.
Zeke developed a urinary blockage, which can happen with neutered male cats. It probably developed over a period of time, but if there were signs of something like this coming, we didn't notice him having any problems. Those who were watching our cats while we were on vacation either did not see Zeke (being a shy cat) or they didn't notice anything wrong.
When we got home from our 9-10 day trip on Saturday evening, we found Zeke lying by the water dish, basically dying. We got him to our veterinarian, a good person who has been doing all she possibly can do for Zeke during the last few days. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty with what means she has had at her disposal to try and save him.
What can happen with a urinary blockage is that the body may cease to function normally with elimination of urine. It doesn't get eliminated, and the body reabsorbs the toxins. This changes body chemistry in a negative way. In Zeke's case, his kidneys have ceased to function normally enough for him to live without being pretty much on life support. There has simply been too much damage to his body.
This is so sad for us, and it seems to me so unfair. Zeke is/was only a year and half old. He will never grow to be an older cat. I will always wonder what it would have been like, having him with us as he grew older into a full feline adulthood.
We rescued Zeke in a literal sense. One autumn evening Mrs. Snave was standing near an open window at our house and heard a kitten in distress. She and I went outside to find the kitten, and sure enough he was under the hood of our neighbor's truck. He had apparently been a stray who hitched a ride home from the grocery store. Was it a case where some kids took a box of kittens to the Safeway and their parents told them to not come back home with any left? Is that how he ended up as an 8-10 week old stray? We will never know for sure, but we will always wonder.
We got him out from the engine, and our neighbor said "Looks like you've got yourselves a cat." We took the little guy inside, and he promptly won us over. Curiosity, personality plus, and extremely good looks! What more could we want? We will always hope we gave him the best home he could have possibly had, and if there was ever more we could have done to prevent such an early death.
I will always remember Zeke very fondly. He had a high-pitched voice for a cat of 14+ pounds... kind of a "little big boy" if you will. He could usually be found not socialzing but nearby, often hunkering against a wall around the corner in our house, waiting for Zeva to come by so he could pounce on her! He seemed ungainly and large sometimes, but when he wanted to he could really move! He enjoyed a good snuggle from time to time, and had recently made it his nightly routine to come camp on my chest at bedtime as I fell asleep reading. I can't begin to tell you how much I am going to miss that, and how much I am going to miss him altogether.
Life throws us curveballs from time to time. For some people the loss of an animal may not mean too much, but to me it has to be the closest thing I can think of to losing a family member. At the Snave house, the pets are family, period. The loss of Zeke represents a major curveball for me right now, as it also does for Mrs. Snave and for our daughters.
He lived far too short a life, and he was far too wonderful a friend to live such a short life. We can be very glad we got to know him and live with him, even if his time was short.
Zeva is especially going to miss him, as they have grown up together. We may have to look into finding her a companion, but that isn't likely to happen right away, if at all. Without having had a chance to see Zeke's body or to gain some sense of finality about him, will she always wonder where he is, what has become of him? That's another sad question I am sure our family will ponder from time to time. I do believe animals have good memories for familiar people and for familiar animal friends, so I think even through the years she will think about Zeke from time to time... and wonder.
Thank you for your support and your concerns during the last few days. This episode has represented the unthinkable; it has been a living nightmare for our family, and it has been devastating. Please wish us all the best, as I believe it is going to take us a while to get over the loss of our very special friend.


Blogger MRMacrum said...

That's tough. Coming home to a sick animal. Male cats, expecially fixed male cats are so prone to this. Hope the little fellow makes it.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Poor kitty....We're pulling for him here in Texas.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Oh man, best of luck to Zeke.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Oh no! Poor Zeke. Sending positive thoughts - I hope he recovers despite the bad news so far.

Baxter had a blockage like that but it was only partial; didn't realize it until one day he peed blood. I rushed him to the vet and he wasn't blocked anymore - maybe whatever it was passed. I've been worried ever since about going away and leaving him home in case it happens while we're gone. It's almost impossible to realize a cat has this if someone else is taking care of them because they always hide so no one realizes there's a problem until it's so late.

We tried him on the special food but it gave him the runs. I have him back on the original food he was fine on - I had switched him about 6 months before the incident to that new EVO food. I think it had too much protein for him.

Baxter is sending his best wishes to Zeke...

11:35 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Really sorry, Snave. Hope he pulls through.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Hope he's okay, it's always hard to lose a family member.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I wish Zeke the best. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet, and I know how they become members of the family.

12:44 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

Can't wait to read about your trip but sure am sorry to hear about your Zeke. He has youth on his side so I hope the best does work out. Take care!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I do hope Zeke gets better. It is so sad when a cat is ailing like this.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Sorry to hear about Zeke. That's a hell of a thing to come home to at the end of a vacation.

I hope he pulls through.

6:01 PM  
Blogger 1138 said...

Best wishes.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Snave, thanks for continuing to update this post with news of Zeke. It sounds hopeful - he is young and strong and that is in his favor. My fingers are crossed and I'm sending lots of positive thoughts his way.

7:28 PM  
Blogger DB said...

Oh man, this is rough. As my cat is sitting in my lap as I read this, this kind of struck a nerve. My best to you, the wife, and, of course, Zeke. We are pulling for him.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

I'll be thinking of Zeke today at work, and will check back this afternoon. My fingers are crossed and Kitty (sitting on the chair next to me) has her paws crossed.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks for all the well wishes, everyone. Things don't look particularly good today so far. My fingers are crossed for some good news from the vet in a few hours, but given the lack of improvement in his his kidney function, I'm not holding my breath. Well... yes, I am holding my breath. This is difficult.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

I'm really sorry it had to end this way. You're right that a beloved pet is the same as a family member.

We had to put one of our cats to sleep over a year ago (January '08) and it took us forever to get over it. We still haven't. He was eleven.

Sorry for your loss. R.I.P. Zeke.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Urinary problems in cats are hard to detect even by the vet. In reading up on this (I have a female tuxedo cat) I find that 80% go undectected.
On the bright side you'll know that he's chasing butterflys and birds in a better place.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

That is so sad to hear about Zeke. I was so hoping he would recover. It is so hard to lose a pet, even if one has only know him or her for a short time.

5:24 PM  
Blogger lovehog said...

Sorry Snave. At least he had his best friend by his side. I chickened and let mine go out all alone. I still regret that very much. You did all you could do..try not to blame yourselves.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

My eyes welled up and spilled over. I love cats, even the ones I don''t know.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and for Zeke's. He sure got deprived of some wonderful people.

6:45 PM  
Blogger DB said...

Rest in peace Zeke. I am sorry for your loss, Snave. Cherish your memories.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I know he was a good friend, and I'm so sorry his health left you with no choice. May you and your family find comfort in knowing he no longer suffers, even if that is very cold comfort.

10:13 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Please accept my belated sympathy. I know all too well how painful it is to have to say goodbye too soon to a beloved pet. Take comfort in having given Zeke your love, a good home and good vet care for the short time you had together. Sometimes that's all you can do.

And please, once you've had a few weeks to get through the loss, see if you can make room in your heart and home for another cat. Shelters always have plenty. Many pets, cats and dogs, too, are especially in need of help now, when so many people are having to move from apartments and homes they can no longer afford.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks so much for all your kind comments! It does mean a lot. He was such a special little friend.

We are keeping our eyes and ears open for a new companion for Zeva. It is awfully soon to be thinking about something like that, but nonetheless we're open to the idea, and soon if the right opportunity presents itself.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Snave, I'm so very sorry to hear that you had to let Zeke go. I know how hard it is to lose a family member as he was.

2:38 PM  

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