About 2 years ago my roommate and I decided to get another kitty to keep our black kitty-cat, Ziva, company. Two cats are better than one. They can keep each other company and play together. We searched the Mason County Kitten Rescue web site and found an adorable tiger striped kitty. We called to set a play date to go see her. When we entered the room she was in with a lot of other little kitties roaming and playing around, she sat in shoe box sleeping. They said she had just come about from being spayed only a few hours ago but was still very sleepy. I went over to pet her head and then left her alone as we talked to the assistant about cat behavior when introducing a new cat to another cat. While sitting and talking she came out of the box and entered my territory, or the towel I was sitting on and sat with me. When picking a kitty, the best thing to do is give the one you like a little bit of attention and then see if they will return the favor and come and see you. It’s a cat introduction and the best way to know if they will like you. As the assistant said, cats normally pick their owners. She wasn’t quite ready to come home so we claimed her and set out to get out additional cat furniture to make her transition to our home easier. We set up the 2nd bathroom as her room, complete with a food dish and water, and litter box.
The next day, the roommate and I named her Saber and took her home. We kept her in the 2nd bathroom for about 2 weeks before we introduced Ziva to her. Every time it was breakfast or dinner time we would have them eat together with the door separating them. That way they could get to know their smells. And every other day switch blankets from one area to the other so they could sleep in each other scents. This worked seamlessly, until Ziva got really curious and wandered into the bathroom. I had forgotten to shut the door all the way. Ziva made it two steps into the bathroom, and sniffed Saber. Saber let out the tiniest hiss. She was so tiny, being afraid she fluffed up as big as she could. The cutest little fluff ball ever. Ziva seemed very unfazed by it but more excited to smell her new friend. It was another few days when we finally let Saber explore the rest of the house and only a week or so of Ziva showing her all the different hiding places. They were pretty much inseparable after this point.
Saber was very particular when it came to sleeping on my bed. There must be a soft blanket at the end of the bed. If there wasn’t she showed her frustration by peeing on the bed. She had me trained to wake up at 4:30 every morning to feed her and Ziva. She would wake me randomly in the middle of the night for cuddles and pets. She was my talker, always meowing telling me about her day when I home from work and while I was getting ready for work. When it was treat time, normally in the morning after making breakfast, she would fetch treats as I would throw them to her or she catch them with her little paws. My favorite times were when I was typing on my computer and she would sit in my lap or on the desk and bat at my hand or the mouse. One of my favorite memories was when she fell asleep in my sweater while I was playing video games with my roommate and a friend. She pawed at me and I picked her up and cradled her in my sweater. She slept a long while and only moved when I had to get up.
She was very protective of the house, keeping birds and other cats from even approaching the back deck or side windows. Though Saber was an indoor cat she got out once, very briefly, to touch the snow. Then hurried back inside.
She like most animals hated going to the vet but was really good about staying in the table for the vet the exam her. Saber would bury her head into my chest when shots had to be given. She loved the laser, she would chase it all day if I let her. She loved a lot of human food. Most of the time would beg to try it because I was eating it. I couldn’t turn her down so I would give her very small pieces. She would eat out of hand if I let her.
It was a few weeks ago, with the stress of moving roommates, she started feeling unwell. Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, then vomiting. I thought it was just hairball season much like the last year. But it was different she stopped eating altogether for about 2 days. I took her to the vet at the beginning of the 2nd day to get her tested. I got home from work and received a call from the vet. He had told me after some tests and ultrasounds, from her not eating it caused liver complications, and she had a blockage in her gallbladder. Her gallbladder very full could burst at any moment and the surgery would be able to fix the issue but chances during surgery were that she could die because of how weak she was already and that it could burst and she would be in more pain as it was.
I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. Do the surgery with high chances of her not being quite the same after, her dying during it or the gallbladder bursting during the surgery and her being in pain until she passed? There had to be another option. Another way. She was only two and a half. Still soo young. This condition was only found in cats five and older. Obstructions were either cancerous, build up of plaque or genetic. It took me a while to really think about it and weigh my options. I made the hard decision to euthanize her. The risk was too high, the surgery very risky, invasive and extremely expensive. She passed in my arms, so peaceful falling asleep as she usually did with me petting her head and ears.
“My little tiger chunk. You left this world too soon. There was so much more I wanted to show you, so much more to experience. I love you. Rest in peace my little one, my Saber, my fierce little tiger. We will meet again. I am blessed and grateful for the time we had.”
Things happen for a reason, not sure why at times but I know I have more patience, love, and strength from this experience.
Keep kicking and Smiling- TJ Banski