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
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.