Tag Archives: pets

Goodbye Old Friend.

Regular readers might recall back in April, when our beautiful cat Zakk went missing after our big move. You may also recall, that upon his joyous return 18 days later, I mentioned that he was on antibiotics for an infected foot. Well, that infected foot, soon turned to four and was diagnosed as Plasma Cell Pododermatitis – also known as Pillow Paw, a painful result of the failure of the immune system.

Zakky was given steroids, which calmed the condition down temporarily, but it came back time and time again. Weekly visits to the Vet meant that he became the perfect patient. Doctor Jess would open his cage, lift him out and he would head-butt her, while purring loudly and walking all over her keyboard as she tried to use her computer  –  just like at home. After a while, I no longer needed to hold him still while she put the needle in. She would hold his neck and he knew it was time to sit down, and when it was done, he’d continue his big show of affection.

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Zakky disapproves of me brushing my teeth before giving him food.

He was screened and cleared for feline AIDS. He was put under anesthetic and biopsied. He was confined inside and still managed to tear his stitches. It was decided he suffered from an unknown autoimmune disease. His feet would continue to cause him trouble, and he would develop other complications over time. The treatment would involve long term steroids use, which would damage his kidneys and liver, and had already begun to lose effectiveness. A few days before Christmas, we decided to just give him one last big dose of steroids, let him have fun painlessly exploring, playing and generally being a cat, with the understanding that when he started deteriorating again, we’d end it before it was too painful. As the doctor took the needle out, she told me that it should hopefully see him through to February. It didn’t. Yesterday we said goodbye to Zakky.

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The evening of his return in April, when he met our new fluffy rug.

I’m sad in quite a profound way, but the shock and anguish that I felt with Angus’s sudden violent departure is not there, for which I’m grateful. We knew it was coming, and the kids were prepared.  I’m glad he was able to go with dignity, with me rubbing his ears in that special way he loved and the doctor whispering gentle, soothing words to him. We buried him near his favourite spot by the fence, where there the iron had been pulled back and the gap created a kitty shortcut. After the gap had been closed, Zakky had taken to sleeping there, as if he just went to the spot out of habit.

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After an incident while snooping around the neighbours garage. Do you know how hard it is to bath a cat?

Zakky was not a cat to dish out affection everywhere, when he gave you love, it was on his terms. Which was probably a good thing because his love was intense. When it was cuddle time, it was Cuddle Time Or Else.  Rubs and scratches were to be contained to the neck/head only, ears were to be rubbed firmly and only one side at a time. Touching his belly was strictly forbidden and picking him up was nothing less than an act of war. But cuddles at bedtime were the best. If I lay down on my stomach, he’d climb on my back and knead for several minutes before curling up to sleep. It’s the closest thing to a massage I’ve had in years. I’m going to miss that.

Taken 2 days ago

Taken 2 days ago, what a gorgeous face, you’d never guess he was such a freakish kitten.

Zakky, from ridiculously ugly, alien-faced, flea-ridden, abused beginnings, to the most handsome kitty on the block. You were there for three changes of address, a marriage, 2 children, 5 other cats, 2 birds and a multitude of rats.  You’ve survived being hit by a car, falling in a drum of oil, being trapped in another car with no water for 9 days, and missing in a bitter winter for 18, but this time you’re not coming back, and that’s ok. I think you deserve your rest.

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I Promise This Won’t Become a Cat Blog

Recently when our cat Zakk went missing, I was surprised by the messages from well-wishers around the world. As most of you know, Zakk was found, via the internet, after nearly 3 weeks. He’s been much more of a home body since his return – still preferring to sleep outside, but making more frequent returns and occasionally peeing in my bathtub. He’s currently nursing an infected paw and is on antibiotics, but is otherwise back to good health.

Today, I am doubly grateful for his safe return, as yesterday we lost out other dear boy, Angus. That morning Angus lay on the deck, sunning himself while I scratched his head; half an hour later there was a knock at the door. A nice woman and her daughter asked me if I have a big white and ginger cat, as one has just been hit by a car. A terrible part of me, hoped that it was Tom, the beautiful, friendly cat from a couple of doors down, but luckily for Tom (and his equally lovely owner) it was not.

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It was heartbreaking to lift his still warm, but limp body out of the gutter and into my baby-bath. I was terrified that he would move or make a sound, I hoped like hell he hadn’t survived injuries like that. Small blessings prevailed and he was gone. I covered him up, so the the kids didn’t see and called Husband. Husband moved him into a cardboard box and we had a burial for Angus in the back yard, our daughter wrote Angus a letter and drew a picture of him doing his favourite thing: scavenging pizza off somebody’s dinner plate. Later she drew a picture for Lita because “Angus is Lita’s only kitty friend”.

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Angus was a supremely affectionate cat, he loved everyone whether they liked it or not. If there was a spare lap, it was for him. It was nice to know that he was always in the mood for a cuddle when I needed it. I will miss him immensely.

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Attempting to suckle on Husband.

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His gymnastics career was short. He decided that he preferred eating and sitting over physical exertion.

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Our games of “Put stuff on Angus” was always pretty entertaining after a few drinks.

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Only a cat truly appreciates the joys of a nap.

Such a sweet goodbye. We buried this with him.

Such a sweet goodbye. We buried this with him.

The Woes of a Catlady

An off topic post for today, as I am currently mourning the disappearance of my beloved, oldest kitty, Zakk. Moving house with four cats was always going to be tricky: new smells, new territory to establish, new rivals.

The first outings of the kitty gang was revealing in terms of individual personalities. The “under-dog” Lita, was the first to venture outside, doing a quick lap around the perimeter, then spend ample time peering over fences in to the neighbouring properties. She quickly established a system of roof-top/fence-top shortcuts and made her self at home.

Two days later the Alpha-male, Zakk and his highly strung personal secretary and hygiene assistant, Kranky emerged. Zakk had the first lap of the back yard, while Krank mimicked him a few feet behind and Lita watched from the garage roof. Both Zakk and PA returned to the safety of the bedroom for the rest of the day.

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Angus, the dumb but loveable oaf, remained hidden under the blankets at the foot of the bed for several more days, coming out in the dead of night to eat and use the litter tray. Eventually he ventured out, only to become frightened and hide under the house for a day and a night.

Each cat gradually adopted a new routine, Lita slowly coaxed her playmate, Angus, back into play fighting and found a new hobby in skidding on the wood floor. Zakk returned to his usual habit of exploring far and wide, only returning once or twice each day for food and an ear scratch. Angus resumed dinner table scavenging. Krank continued cleaning Zakk’s ears and butt – a duty that she has taken very seriously since she was a 5 week old kitten.

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Then Zakk stopped coming home. The last time I saw him, he was trying to eat while Krank held his head and jammed her tongue in his ear – his usual dinnertime routine. Angus sat nearby waiting his turn, while Lita, knowing her place in the pecking order, hid in the pantry. It’s been 5 days now, and he has not returned. It’s possible he’s decided to head back to our old place, but knowing Zakk, I think it’s more likely that he’s found himself a new human pet. One with a quieter house and a comfier sofa. He has a well documented history of making himself welcome in the homes of strangers and I have long suspected that he had another family in our old town. I’ve put posters up and contacted the local shelter, but I’m not getting my hopes up – I just hope wherever he his, he’s safe and warm and has a fully belly.

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