College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

I met Itchy in the summer of 1996. He was a young feral cat living near my home. I would leave food on the porch for him and sit at my desk watching Itchy out the window. Many evenings would be spent playing with him through the window with a laser pointer. I spent the better part of a year trying to befriend the little black and white cat. Then one day in 1997 I managed to catch him and brought him in. Hamlet and he became instant friends and were always with each other from then on.


It took several years before Itchy would start to bond with me, but he was always fearful of strangers, the doorbell and thunderstorms. One night about 3 years after his capture, I felt him climb onto the bed to sleep at my feet. Itchy was starting to trust me.

In 1998 we moved to Illinois. Itchy and Hamlet would lay on the balcony and sun when I let them, but always under my watchful eye. One day Itchy jumped onto the railing and before I could reach him, he fell. I ran down searching for him, calling his name over and over. I heard a little mew above me and looked up to see him on a balcony two floors below ours. He had managed to grab the brick face and slowed his fall enough to swing onto another balcony, pulling out several claws in the process.

In 2000 he began to have bouts of FLUTD repeatedly. Several were bad enough to hospitalize him for days at a time. I would visit him at the veterinarian for hours at a time. After a diet change, a water fountain and distilled water exclusively we managed to get the episodes under control. All seemed well again.

In the spring of 2002 my girlfriend and I moved together to Montana and merged our feline homes into a single 5 cat household. Then in September 2002, Itchy stopped eating and became sick. After several weeks of tests, x-rays and barium series we discovered he had a stricture in his duodenum, and was unable to pass anything remotely solid. It had to be removed. A 2 inch section of his intestine was taken out and biopsies were sent out as well. It was a most invasive surgery and it took Itchy months to recover. But it was far from over, the biopsies showed lymphosarcoma. After much discussion with our veterinarian and specialists, we felt chemotherapy stood a good chance of putting him into remission. Thus started a year of chemo. Itchy would have to go to the veterinarian’s office each week, then every other week, then every 3 weeks while we gave him medications at home. During the course of his treatment he developed diabetes and had to be given insulin twice a day. In January 2004 the chemotherapy ended and he was believed in full remission. In February he became sick again. By March we knew his cancer had returned with a vengeance and his ability to digest foods diminished considerably. He was eating 3 to 5 cups of food a day and slowly starving.

We looked into a rescue protocol, but decided that it would do more harm than good. I always hoped he would overcome the nightmare and all would be well, but deep down I knew the truth. By May our once 14lb Itchy was a mere 6lbs. On May 12th 2004 at 9:10am I made the saddest decision of my life, to let Itchy go. I thought it would be the worst day of our lives, till 15 days later we lost Copycat and 2 days after that we lost Electra. In a short span of 17 days we lost 3 of the bravest, sweetest and greatest friends we ever knew. Each left a hole in our souls that will never quite heal.



Posted Sept, 15 2005  |     Printer Friendly Version