Monday, August 20, 2007

In Memory: Scat Latham 1998 - August 20, 2007

I remember the first time I saw Scat. He was a scrawny little yellow cat sitting on the porch of Joshua's first babysitter's house. I don't remember if she said he was a baby of one of her cats or a stray. I think he was the kitten to one of her cats. All I know is he was eat up with fleas and just tiny, tiny. I offered, one day, to take him to the vet to get his shots and be de-wormed and de-flea'd. She allowed me to and off we went. Mind you, at this time, I had four cats of my own, but being an animal lover, I couldn't resist.

Scat started to fill out a little each day, but was still pretty small. One Monday morning, I showed up and asked where he was. I was told he had likely been run over by one of the cars pulling out of the babysitters on Friday and wasn't doing well. I asked her why she hadn't called me -- I would have taken him to the vet. She said she didn't think to. I scooped him up and took him straightaway to the vet's office. The accident had partially neutered him and done some damage to his backside/pelvis area. It took almost a week (and I'm sure several hundred dollars) to get him ready to leave. I remember Dr. Danny saying to me that he was a runt and that he probably wouldn't live a very long life. I scoffed. At this point, I told the babysitter I had fallen in love with him and was taking him to my house.

And, thus, Scat became a Latham.

The years were pretty good to Scat. He had a nice warm house, loving scratches, a belly full of food, playmates and a big yard to explore. He grew into this large, fluffy orange cat with light yellow highlights. He was a handsome fellow.

Looking back, the start of the end for Scat was when I came outside to find a neighbor's cat fighting with him, standing over him and Scat unable to get up. Apparently, this fight did nerve damage to Scat's backside and his legs. There was one rear leg that never really healed up from this. We thought this might be the end for Scat as he was unable to walk for a couple of weeks. But that Scat, he's a fighter and he came back. He learned how to use the legs he had to jump and run -- a sweet little crooked run -- and got along fine for a little while longer.

Then, we noticed the huge amounts of urine in the litter box.

A trip to the vet confirmed he had diabetes. At which point, we considered this might be the end for him, again. But, it wasn't. Kevin and I learned how to give insulin twice a day and tried, really hard, to feed him a different diet. We regulated the insulin dosage over several months and a lot of visits to the vet's office. And the fellow whose hair had become ungroomed and who drank too frequently and went to the litterbox too much became ok again. We continued this regimine for a couple of years.

And then, miracle of miracles, we went on vacation and left Scat at the Kitty Spa (aka Pleasant View Animal Hospital) and they discovered, through routine glucose tests, that Scat did not have diabetes any more! Praise the Lord!! No more needles and buying insulin. What a blessing.

That blessing soon turned to a curse as we realized that something was wrong with Scat -- again. He would stand in the litter box, or outside, and try to go, but nothing other than pee was coming out. Off we go, again, to the vet. Constipated -- multiple times. The vet discovered that the nerves that make the colon function were now not working. So, we started a regimine of cysapride and lactalose twice a day to help move things along. We were back on the routine, and Scat HATED the taste of this medicine. No matter which flavor we tried, it apparently was very bitter as he would squint up his eyes, back up and after getting it, smack his lips and stick his tongue out. Poor thing!!! But it was a must. Several months ago, he had to have a procedure that I think is called an obstination. It was where they had to surgically go in and removed impacted fecal matter from his colon. In retrospect, it would have been better to have not done that and just put him out of his misery then. But, hope is a hard carrot on a stick to let go by. After that, we continued on the medicine regimine and tried some different diet options. None of this really worked. Several times he had to go back in for enemas -- the last time being just this past Monday.

But, for all the medical maladies that beset Scat, there are so many things I will remember him for.
  • He was a gentle soul. He rarely EVER hissed at another cat in the house and was the peaceful cat.
  • He never, that I can remember, pee'd anywhere he wasn't supposed to. Toward the end, he might miss the edge of the box and it spill out, but he was always conscientious of being a clean cat.
  • He LOVED to come into the bathroom with you and rub your legs and hope for some petting time.
  • He loved to have under his chin scratched. This would really get him purring.
  • He was loved by the folks at our vet's office. Unfortunately, he spent a lot of time there and they got to know and love him as their own, I think.
  • He was as big and fluffy as our neighbor's Pomeranian, Chewy. When Chewy would get out, from a distance, they looked a lot alike.
  • Scat loved to lay under the deck. If you couldn't find him, chances are great he would be way up in under the shortest part of the deck. He was also found of the closet and under the bed if he thought he was going to the vet's office.
  • He loved to lay on the coffee table -- sprawled out in the middle of it.
  • He liked to lay on the couch beside me while I worked. He didn't mind if I reached over and rubbed his tummy either.
  • He LOVED feather toys and would run and leap and jump at them -- even later on when his leg got messed up, he would still do it.
  • If he wanted out or in, he would stand at the door, on his hind legs, "running" his front paws over the glass until you let him in or out. This didn't happen after his run in with the other cat as he couldn't stand on his back legs them. He also really liked to scratch the front door trim up this way. Kevin replaced the weather stripping countless times because of this. Come to think of it, we had problems with the wallpaper on the kitchen wall corner for this reason as well.
  • Scat had one black whisker in with all his other white whiskers. I told him that this made him special.
  • He liked to lay under the bush at the corner of the house and under the van too. We could usually find him in one of those places. Kevin chose to bury him under the tree at the corner

I have a lovely picture of him, when he was very healthy, in the yard in a field of purple flowers. I had it just the other day. I will attempt to scan and post it here really soon.

He was a good cat and a good friend. He will be missed by us all.

1 comment:

Bryant Clan said...

I'm so sorry. I know, this must be very hard. He sounds so sweet. I pray God will help you handle this well.