Saturday, March 28, 2009
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.