College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

May 13, 2005- August 10, 2006                       My beloved best friend, Hobbes, lost his battle with autoimmune anemia today. He was just over a year old. Hobbes came to me from a farm in Menomonie, Wisconsin, one of a large litter of barn kittens. He was the only orange one, therefore destined to be mine.
He was a very brave kitten that first night in his new home. He spent some time exploring then settled in for the night, sleeping with me in the palm of my hand. After that first night, we were  bonded tight. He was all mischief, always knocking over plant pots and hiding in unexpected

  places- he loved to sleep in the broiler pan of my oven and jump into the refrigerator (sometimes getting stuck inside!) He was so tiny at first he couldn’t “meow” and instead squeaked, hence earning the nickname “Squeaky Cheese” – a Wisconsin favorite. He loved to sit in the windowsills, watching the goings-on of the busy neighborhood. And Hobbes especially loved the birds in the trees. He chirped back at them, and his little tail twitched as his big eyes followed their every move.

Hobbes (much like his namesake from Calvin and Hobbes) loved snacks. He quickly learned to like edamame (my snack) and Greenies (crunchy kitten treats).
I would skim a Greenie across the floor – Hobbes liked his prey on the run. He also developed an affinity for my socks, and as his teeth and claws grew, my sock population declined.

Hobbes’ first trip to the vet was memorable, because he was too small to register on the scale! But for such a tiny kitten, he had a big purr. He was a snuggler, and stuck close to me at all times. It wasn’t long before tiny Hobbes learned how to get up the attic stairs in my apartment (he perfected the zig-zag technique). He went to work with me in my attic office everyday, as we edited the documentary “The Defenders.” He liked to sleep on my desk, and walk across my computer keyboard, and bite my toes – all in an effort to distract. But I loved nothing better than to take a “Hobbes Break” and play with him. (String was his worst enemy and greatest love.) We carried on many conversations – he talked all day long, and I imitated him right back. He was a well-rested cat, and had his own blanket, and chair (my chair, in fact) and if there was a sunny spot on the floor, Hobbes was sure to be found in it.

He grew fast (don’t all children?) and before I knew it winter had come and my kitten was a cat, big enough to keep me warm. Hobbes loved to sleep on my chest, and it was the best feeling in the world to have him there, purring away. This was how he greeted me in the morning, and how we said goodnight to each other every night.
Soon, though, I realized Hobbes needed a friend. So on my birthday this year, I went to the Humane Society and brought back a baby sister for Hobbes: Hobbes didn’t know quite what to think of Tinkerbell at first. He certainly didn’t like her, and made it known that I was his mom, this was his house, and he was in charge. That didn’t stop Tinkerbell from making herself right at home, and her tough street-wise attitude won Hobbes over. They were best friends within a week.

They loved moving to Seattle this spring, and instantly took to the new apartment. They were partners in crime, causing mischief in tandem. Tinkerbell took the lead from her big brother, learning the best ways to topple plants, how to sneak into the fridge, and that my office chair is best stolen for a nap less than a second after I get out of it. Hobbes even taught Tinkerbell to love water (Hobbes always enjoyed splashing in the faucet, often hopping right into my shower with me) and the two of them figured out how to turn on the faucet in the tub. I came home one day to an almost-disaster: they had plugged up the tub and hit the water – it was an inch from overflowing onto the floor! I taped it up every morning, but that didn’t stop Hobbes from sitting in the tub, studying the taped handles, trying to puzzle out a way to get the water on for playtime. I made it a point to create a distraction every day before leaving for work – I built them forts from pillows and blankets, and they spent the days playing hide-and-seek, wrestling, and napping together. When I came home, the fort would be lying in ruins, having been destroyed in some great kitty cat battle.

 Hobbes celebrated his first birthday in May – with his first taste of canned food!  He got a whole bowl to himself, and ate it all in three bites. My little kitten had grown into Handsome Hobbes, a loving, too-smart, chatty cat. He was my first cat, and I looked forward to having him as part of my life for twenty more birthdays. It was last week when I noticed Hobbes was not himself. He stopped greeting me at the door when I came home from work, seemed too tired to leap onto my bed to snuggle, and stopped eating his food. His condition grew serious this past weekend, when he couldn’t stop vomiting. I took him to an animal hospital, thinking he had a stomachache, and was not prepared for the news from the vet. Hobbes was severely anemic, a sign of a life-threatening chronic condition such as feline leukemia (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Hobbes was tested for both, but came back negative. The vet was at a loss as to how to treat him, warning that a bevy of expensive tests would likely reveal that whatever he had was terminal. I chose to put Hobbes on medication, in the hope that he had an infection that was causing his immune system to be so weakened. But he was too weak to tolerate the antibiotics. After four days of struggling to keep medication, food, or water down, I decided to put Hobbes to sleep. He fought very hard for his life the past week, but in the end, I wanted to do what was best for my friend and let him go. Fortunately, I was able to have Hobbes put to sleep at home, so he could be with Tinkerbell and among the people he loved. He died in my arms.

Hobbes was a tremendous comfort to me this past tumultuous year, and I’m forever grateful that he came into my life when he did. I loved Hobbes very much, and I will miss him.

Revised Aug. 25, 2006     |     Printer Friendly Version