Posted by: raesalley | August 3, 2008

losing him

as I type this, I’m having a little difficulty doing so. I’ve got Skitz curled up between me and my laptop on both of my arms. Every once in a while, he’ll stand and stretch and circle around before flopping down again in a tight ball. While it can be completely obnoxious at times when I’m trying to do work, I don’t think I’ll start shoving him around just so I can get done thirty seconds faster. I think this even as I call him a brat and he flicks his tail under my nose again.

Earlier this week, I had to call the Bald One at his job because I finally figured out a mystery. Lately, my laptop back which sits on the stairs below the half wall upstairs has been found with its contents sprawled out over the living room floor. We thought that someone was just hitting it as they turned our place into a NASCAR track, but turns out it is something more serious. While I sat in our living room, I saw a grey and white ball of fur come crashing off the second story landing onto the stairs below. Before my brain could really process what was happening, I was out of the chair. Not fast enough to catch, but fast enough to check on him once he landed. He was a little disoriented, but otherwise fine for having fallen about fifteen feet.

Skitz doesn’t live halfway. When he has an itch, he manages to scratch off a few layers of skin. He’s had a problem with licking where he removes all of his fur. We’ve had to put him on prozac to help calm him down. This is the cat that when he decides he’s getting a good scratch he will lean so completely into the scratch that his center of balance moves and causes him to fall. Most of the time, that’s while we’re holding him and doing the scratching. Witnessing him fall from a second story rail makes me believe that isn’t always the case.

Skitz has been a problem child from day one of his life with the Bald One. Initially adopted by his housemate, then threatened with return because he wasn’t as cool as Gabe, he adopted him out from under his housemate. He never was as “cool” as Gabe, being the younger brother destined to not quite do the same things and never quite match up. However, the skinny tabby has his own personality. He’s got enough of an Asian influence to have the streamlined head and Siamese talkativeness. When I came into the mix, he adopted me over my husband as his human, much to the displeasure of my existing cat. The two of them split me as he gets me during the day and she owns me at night and whenever he’s not around.

When I was working on my masters, I didn’t have a lot of free time, so he’d lay on the couch next to me while my laptop took up prime real estate on my lap. My papers would be on my right, he’d be on my left. And when the papers got packed up and the laptop closed, that was his cue to take over. Ever since then, if I have my laptop out, he’s pressed against my leg.

The biggest concern we have is he’s at times a potentially lethal sick kitty. We don’t know why, but he appears to be prone to UTIs, which for boys is deadly. We say “appears” because he is the singular most difficult cat to get through a vet appointment. The best luck we’ve had is now with our mobile vet who comes to us. And still, that wasn’t pretty. He’s been medicated, seems to get better and is now on special food for the rest of his life. It seems to help, but nobody really knows.

He’s afraid of thunderstorms, usually resulting in him hiding in the darndest places – including our bathroom cabinet. He’s one of our lighter cats, but he knows how to step between tendon and bone to separate them causing extreme pain. He’s one of the most solar powered cats I’ve ever met, to the point where I’ve watched him follow a sunspot for an entire day across the floor. He has the most insistent way of politely getting your attention when you’re in a chair and he wants you.

But all these thoughts race in my head as I’m afraid we’re losing him. The skin allergies or whatever it is that is bothering him goes in phases and each one appears to be worse. Right now, we’re on a good swing after the latest round that resulted in a scab on his head about the size of a quarter. That’s healed, but left a bald spot making him look like a tonsured monk. The hair is coming back very thinly on his hind legs from the previous bad round before that where he had licked himself completely bald. His ears still have bumps from scratching, but are no longer bleeding when you look at them. And now, he’s falling from a landing more and more frequently. I’m getting a cat bed like the ones they have for windows, hoping that the raised edge will prevent the scary falls, but is that enough?

All of our cats are approaching senior citizen status. Edana just hit it this year while Gabe and Skitz have a few years on her. Daisy is just two years behind. These guys are supposed to live forever, right? Then why am I afraid I’m losing him?



  1. My folks had a cat with bad skin allergies. She had cortisone shots starting once a year, then twice, then four, then they finally just gave up, putting her down rather than keeping her alive and miserable itching. Putting a loved pet down is THE SINGLE HARDEST thing I’ve ever done but we have to be responsible gaurdians and know when it’s time. 😦 Sucks, tho.

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