Tuesday, January 7, 2014

RIP Gretchen cat

In the summer of 2001, in the courtyard of the apartment complex where my older brother lived at the time a feral mother cat had a litter of 4 kittens:  Two males and two females.  When they were about 5-6 weeks old I got one of them (which was named Oscar) and a co-worker of mine who'd come along got one of the female kittens.  Both were somewhat sickly at the time and I while managed to nurse Oscar back to health, the female kitten died.  A week or so later we went back and he was able to capture the other male, leaving a female kitten there.

Some months later - October, I believe - my brother reported that the remaining female kitten was still there and I was goaded into coming over.  I had two cats already:  Oscar, and a then 4-year old Siamese named Thomas, and I was somewhat reluctantly convinced to adopt another cat.  Somewhere we found a fish net and managed to catch the small, wild, hissing furball and stuff her in a pet carrier, everyone involved getting scratched in the process.  Taking her to the vet she was pronounced healthy and in due course she got both vaccinations and "fixed."  Near the beginning of all of this, someone - I'm not sure who - decided that her name would be Gretchen.

For the first few months that I had her she was little but an elusive shadow that I would only occasionally see around the house, but she slowly became bolder, eventually getting brave enough to leap onto the bed at night, demand to be petted for a few minutes and then wander off somewhere else to sleep - and there were many days in the beginning when that would be the only time that I would see her.

Unfortunately, she and her brother, Oscar, never got along and pretty much avoided each other, occasionally getting into brief, noisy fights and very occasionally I'd find that one of them had been contacted by the sharp claws of the other.  Gradually she became attached to me and would usually park herself somewhere in the same room is I - usually just out of sight until she'd suddenly hop into my lap and curl up, purring while I scratched her neck.

Today, however, I had to let go of Gretchen the cat.

Late last week she was off her food and seemed lethargic - a rather sudden change from her normal behavior of just a few days before.  Seeing that she was dehydrated I gave her about 150 milliliters of ringers lactate subcutaneously (I had this paraphernalia on hand from a previous health scare with Oscar:  I would recommend that anyone with aging cats obtain this from a vet and learn how to use it!) and called the vet as soon as its office opened the next morning, a Saturday.

Upon examination the news was not good:  She had rapidly and recently acquired some gum lesions and her blood work showed that her kidneys were nearly nonfunctional and she also had an infection which the vet said was likely a result of her kidney problems rather than the cause.  Despite being rather doubtful of the ultimate outcome, the vet gave me some antibiotics and more ringers lactate, sending me home with her.

It would not surprise you to know that despite the antibiotics and infusions she did not get any better.  On Saturday she ate a bit of the special food that the vet had given me, a bit less on Sunday and nothing on Monday.

This morning I found her in the room where the waterbowl and litter box are, lying weakly on the carpet and she could barely stand when coaxed to do so.  At such this point a difficult decision had to be made - and you already know that that was.

I called the vet, made an appointment, went in with a cat, stayed with her until after she passed away and left with an empty pet carrier.

I do still have Oscar, Gretchen's brother and the Siamese cat, Thomas who is now approaching 18 years old.  Both of them have their problems:  Oscar had transient renal failure two years ago and somehow recovered (for now...) while Thomas is suffering largely from old age.  Even though she only appeared from her hiding places when I was home alone and was very particular in deciding when she wanted my attention, I will miss this cat.

Gretchen the cat - a picture taken on January 5, 2014, two days before she died.


In the months that followed, I have lost the other two cats mentioned above.  Thomas died in May due to old age and in July, Oscar, Gretchen's sibling, died of complications of renal and hepatic failure.  Later that year I got another cat from my niece - a 16 year old grimalkin:  I had her for about two and a half years before she also succumbed to old age in July of 2016.

At the moment I have one cat - Izzy - a fuzzy, mixed-breed (mostly) Japanese bobtail female that I got from my niece in February or March when she moved into a place where should could not have pets.  A bit of a derp, she's an affectionate cat, but not bonded to any particular person like the other three cats - but still company, nonetheless.


This page stolen from ka7oei.blogspot.com


  1. Sorry for your loss. It always hurts.


  2. Makes me really sad to read about you and your cat. A cat I had from 1995-2008 died in my bed, in my arms he passed away. I layed myself down at his side of the bed, and lay there in six days. Ate no food, drank just a little
    water, but used 8 bottles of Vodka and 100 Valium to get me through those worst days.
    I have another cat now, I think he was about 5-6 year when I opened my home and bed for him. He is about 12 year now, so one day will he leave me too. But I can't be without a cat in my life, so there will come a new cat after him.
    I'm really sorry, this is your blog and your sorrow. And I writes about me. It is better to love someone, and we lose them, than never felt love and sorrow,
    Have a nice spring.

  3. Thanks for that comment!

    My niece recently had to give up her cat because of a move. New cats, like friends, aren't substitutes for past, but different.

    (Sorry for the delay in posting - I don't check the email account to which comments get sent every day.)



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