With two other cats already part of the household at that time (seven year old Hobie and Chooey, who were brothers and also Himalayans), our plan was to just buy one kitten but when we saw the two brothers, it was love at first sight. But Rob wanted the red kitten and I wanted the white one. What do you do when you can’t decide? Why, take them both of course. Yikes! Four cats? Were we nuts? Our families and friends thought we were although it didn’t seem like a big deal to me, my Mom used to breed and show Persian cats so I grew up in a house populated with 10 to 15 cats at any given moment in time. Besides, back then we had a big house, perfect for our four “kids” to romp, hide, play and chase each other around. Often, they would get to sit outside on our big farmer’s porch or take a stroll around the yard with our close supervision.
From the very beginning Gizmo claimed me as his master (or perhaps more appropriately his slave). Super affectionate and happiest when he was sitting in my lap or lying on my pillow at night with his head on my shoulder, keeping me awake with his incessant purring in my ear, this little bundle of fur brought many hours of joy to both of us over the years.
Those who say that they don’t like cats because they think they don’t have personalities have never met any of our kitties. Every cat we have owned has had their own unique personality and Gizmo was no exception.
Sparky has always been the outgoing one and very adventurous, while Gizmo was shyer and quieter tending to shrink into the background when we had company, allowing Sparky to get most of the attention.
Being as skittish as he was, it was a surprise last year when he decided to be brave – no more hiding for him while we were driving in the coach, instead he would jump up onto my lap to watch the scenery and to snooze during the trip. And when we were on the boat in RI for the summer, he loved lying in the cockpit at all hours of the day and night watching the fish jump, ogling the birds as they flew or floated by or just spending time lazily gazing into the shiny reflections in the water.
And boy, was he a creature of habit
expecting demanding his breakfast at the same time each day as well as his treats each night. But no, not the usual kitty treats like those found in the pet food aisle, Gizmo’s favorite was Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese (low fat). One time when we were still living in our house, while watching a football game, I gave him a taste of the Laughing Cow since he loved all types of cheeses. Well, what a mistake that was! After that, every time I sat in my chair after dinner he would come running over meowing for his special treat!
But alas, last year at the age of twelve, he was diagnosed with a tumor on his liver. Although he had been slightly lethargic for quite some time, possibly a result of either his age, his heart condition or his tumor, he seemed to be doing pretty well until a couple of months ago.
When we returned to RI a few weeks ago, our favorite vet, Dr. Schoen at Hill and Harbour Veterinary Center, confirmed our suspicions – the liver tumor had grown and was causing fluid build up. Because of the fluid, Gizmo looked like a basketball with legs. In the hopes that it would make him feel better, Dr. Schoen drained over a liter of fluid – Gizmo lost 1-1/2 pounds in an instant. Examining cells extracted from the fluid, Dr. Schoen confirmed that Gizmo did in fact have cancer. We had hoped he would rebound and last a while longer but it wasn’t meant to be. Within a couple of weeks, the fluid returned, Gizmo became even more lethargic and more and more uncomfortable, crying a lot especially when we picked him up. Although it was heartbreaking to see him decline, we were thankful that he lasted as long as he did.
Even though the quality of his life was deteriorating quickly, we struggled as most pet owners do with making that difficult decision. Selfishly we want to keep him with us as long as we could. But logically knowing that he would never get better and would most likely start to suffer even more than he already was, we had to put our emotions aside and make that dreaded appointment.
For those of you who have been following our blog site for awhile, you might remember that on our way to a vet in Florida to have Chooey euthanized, we had a very major flat tire. Talk about bad timing! Fast forward to 2017 – on Friday morning (our appointment at the vets was at noon) when we went to start up the van, the battery was totally dead, wouldn’t even crank with our trusty booster charger. Never had a problem before. We had washed the van the day before – did we leave something on or forget to turn off a light? Don’t think so, besides the lights automatically go out after a certain period of time. Fortunately Rob was able to fiddle with a few connections and it finally started. We were a little nervous that we might be somewhere and the same problem would happen, even talked about getting a new battery. But no, since then absolutely no problem. Were these kitties trying to tell us something?
Despite that momentary setback, we made it to the vets on time. Gizmo died peacefully in my arms shortly after noon on Friday, June 16th.
Ah, yes, without him, there is a tremendous void, without him the coach seems very empty. But even though his physical presence is no longer here and we are grieving the loss of our family member, we try to be comforted by our precious memories of him.
Goodbye, my sweet adorable Gizmo! Thank you for all the joy and unconditional love you brought to our home. Oh, how we will miss you….. Click here for some more photo memories of Gizmo.
So Sparky is now an only “child”. Does he miss his brother? Well to be honest, looking back on it Sparky must have sensed the cancer and kind of mostly gave his brother the cold shoulder starting around that time. We hadn’t seen them play with each other for quite a while. Perhaps shunning the sick is just instinctive behavior. Just the same though, since Gizmo disappeared he definitely seems somewhat subdued and even more needy than usual. Even though the signs are subtle, I think in his cat like way he feels the loss and misses his brother too…