It’s kind of strange. I’d been so mad at him lately. Ziggy was a funny cat. Mr. Tough Guy… he would bully our little tabby around mercilessly. Twice our little tabby, Goku, required vet attention for abscesses as a result of the brawls. Goku never won them.
It got to the point where Goku spent any inside time hiding in my daughter’s room. Outside he was safe, because Ziggy, as tough as he was INSIDE the house, was a nervous wreck outside. He HATED outside.
Every once in awhile, he would go out the open patio door on a nice day,but if he saw the door was about to close, he’d run for his dear life back to the door. If by chance he did not notice the door closing, and inadvertently got locked out, WOW. A total freak out session would ensue with him scrambling futilely against the glass… trying to claw his way through the glass sliding door. It was a wee bit funny to watch.
Ziggy never bothered our orange cat Harley. Nope. If Ziggy ever got on Harley’s nerves, the hissing and growling that Harley would direct at Ziggy would definitely encourage Ziggy to piss off. Oh.. speaking of piss… Ziggy had a habit.
He had no urinary crystals, his kidneys were fine… he did it to be belligerent .
All three cats were obtained at approximatelythe same time from different sources about 8 years ago. Our beautiful long hair Tika had just been torn to pieces by a friend’s pit bull in front of my three older children who at the time were 12, 8 and 6 . So I purchased a beautiful black male short-hair (Ziggy), from the pet store, my oldest found a stray (Goku) and brought him home, and a boy/friend had promised a friend of his with a litter of kittens that I was taking one of them, (Harley)… So, we ended up with three..
In the beginning, it was just silly kitten fights, but soon enough, hierarchy was determined and it was like this… Ziggy was the big naughty one who liked to bug the other two. Harley would tear a strip off him if Ziggy REALLY bothered him, but Goku would cower and run. So… Ziggy decided he was boss. At LEAST of Goku.
Ziggy developed an annoying habit of pissing in any place that Goku enjoyed relaxing. And eventually, pissing to show his displeasure became a regular occurrence. At least once weekly we wold find some VERY smelly male kitty urine in an irritating spot.Yes, he was neutered. They all were neutered quite young.
But other than that habit, and bullying Goku, Ziggy was awesome. Gorgeous, sleek, black ,large (upwards of 17 lbs), a strong face, almost panther like. His fur gleamed. He was affectionate with people, never scratched or bit. Just loved attention.
When my two youngest were born, Ziggy started getting less attention. When my 19 month old was born, Ziggy pissed in our heating vents in the floor in almost every room on the main floor. So we had to start locking him out of the bedrooms. And of course that meant no more sleeping with us. And when our newest child was born three months ago, even less attention was bestowed on Ziggy. I never really thought about it. Three cats, a dog, five kids…. I mean I TRIED to remember to pay more attention to him. But lack of sleep, pre-occupation with the new business I’ve been trying to get off the ground, argumentative teens, crying babies and housework…
Anyhow. A friend moved to a farm and I offered her Goku. What a great life! Away from Ziggy, freedom! No more sneak attacks and vet visits for drainage tubes etc. Goku probably did not mind leaving too much really. He’s an odd little guy. If you show him love, he’ll follow you anywhere. When you pet him, as you pull your hand away, he grabs on so that you don’t stop. His big eyes pleading ‘LOVE ME!!!’…. he will do this with random strangers and has taken it upon himself to invite himself into our neighbours homes on multiple occasions. So, though we’d miss him, we knew he would be happy.
I noticed Ziggy had been losing weight, but attributed it to springtime, and to locking up the food so he couldnt help himself (it’s Evo, it’s expensive!)…I had a fleeting thought of ‘oh, sure…. Goku is gone and now Ziggy’s going to get sick and die’… not really believing it, but the thought began to take hold as a noticed his breathing seemed a bit laboured when purring…. there was a deeper heaving sort of effect when he purred that my 20 year old son and my husband dismissed as being non existent.
What was not dismissible though was the weight loss. Though it seemed Ziggy was eating, but i think he would just run to his food dish happily, with Harley,and just stare. I did not watch the eating habits, as their dish was down in the rec room and it was my 16 year old daughter’s job to feed them.
A few days ago, I noticed the laboured breathing seemed worse. I looked into his huge ,yellow, full harvest moon eyes… and I saw it. I don’t know if he was telling me he was going… or if I just knew. But I cried.
Part of me just thought I was silly, but the bigger part of me knew I was right. The next few days I really watched him, and took note of things I had been missing. He was weaker, he ate almost nothing. His eyes looked searchingly into mine when I stroked him and felt around. I booked a vet appt for the next day. I would have booked an appt the 1st day I noticed weight loss a few weeks ago if we were not so financially challenged these days. Later that same day, Ziggy went outside on the patio, got himself locked out, but this time, his scrambling was very subdued, and when he came in, he was happy and purring, but lay on the floor – like he always has done when he wants to get fed, runs ahead of you and throws himself down on the floor – but this time it seemed more like he could not catch his breath easily. He was laying down out of exhaustion.
Today we went in. Husband, myself, baby Demetrio and Ziggy. The vet was good and did not make me feel bad when I told him that if it were serious, we could not afford treatment, that instead we would have to euthanize. By the time we had Ziggy out of the carrier, and on the scale, (still weighed in t 13lbs!), he was breathing with his mouth open.. like some cats do when they smell something peculiar. But he was doing it because he was frightened, and his heart was racing, and with that came the need for more oxygen, which called for more work on the lungs’ behalf. The vet said it did not look good. He listened to his heart and chest, prodded around, then took him to see if he could draw out fluid from around the lungs. He came back with a syringe full of cloudy pus-like fluid. We decided to get a chest x-ray. Ziggy did not fare well through the chest x-ray. The doctor took more fluid to try to ease the discomfort and make it easier to breathe…. this time the syringe had pus and blood in it.
The x-ray showed a large mass filling his chest cavity, compressing his lungs and heart. By this time, Ziggy was on oxygen. I hated for his last day to be like this. But there was no other choice. My husband went into the surgical room to be with him while the vet gave him the needle. The vet thought the needle may not even be necessary because his lungs were barely functioning. The only sign of life was the heart beating on the monitor. Ziggy lay completely still. Eyes wide open. I was not in the surgical room for that part. I stood in the waiting room, staring out the large windows with 3 month old Demetrio in my arms, with tears streaming down my face. Trying not to think of how badly I wanted to have more time with him, to show him the love I’d been to busy to share the past while. Trying not to think of the scoldings I’d given him for deliberately pissing here and there…wishing I had appreciated him more while I still had the chance. His glorious, satiny black fur. The most beautiful cat I had ever owned. His cheeky, silly self.
Then, it was over, my husband came out. I’m so thankful that he was there with him. Ziggy loved him so very much. I was torn. I had wanted to be in there, but if Demetrio had started screaming and fussing… I just didnt want to make anything more stressful. And I just couldn’t handle it. I’m weak I guess.
I can only be thankful, that those last few days I had with him, I told him how very much I loved him. And each stroke was full of tenderness and the desire to heal him. By the way he stared at me, I think he understood. And he knew that I knew… he was dying.
Bye Ziggy. I love you.