Sunday, July 15, 2007
Alex - In Memoriam
View Alex's slide show on Flickr
Our oldest cat, Alex, is now no longer with us. We have now lost 2 of our 4 cats in the last 3 months. It has been a rough Summer. Alex, as you may know if you read here regularly, had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and had been diagnosed with pancreatitis and soon-to-fail kidneys. He had always had a good appetite and we had the IBD vomiting under control, but during the past month he had lost a pound, then suddenly stopped eating. He was in terrible distress and discomfort all weekend (in spite of his pain medicine he'd already been on for weeks), and had some swelling around his middle and a fever. He was 16 and a half years old! I think that's about 85 in people-years. He had been sick for years, but what a trooper he was!
Alex was named after Alexander the Great, and that was before I knew what a fighter he was, how strong, how determined, how smart, and able to get what he wanted. He was a talker with plenty of charm. Our family-members, who didn't normally like cats, loved Alex because he was so people-oriented and friendly, so they thought of him like a dog. He was completely unshy, and absolutely loved meeting new people. Every time we used to go on trips and leave him in a kennel, they would tell us when we got back how Alex managed to get special treatment -- no extra charge -- they did it willingly. He looked you straight in the eyes and if you leaned toward him he'd give you a strong head-bonk.
I picked him up at the Humane Society in 1991. He was only 8 weeks old and was listed as a "stray". He was definitely "working the room" of potential cat-parents, and we were stumbling over each other to adopt him first! (see his baby pictures at the slide show link at the top) He was so sweet and loving there, then as soon as I got him home, he turned into a screen-climbing, ankle-grabbing, cord-chewing, toe-pouncing, stair-acrobatic Hellbeast. He never relaxed, practically never slept (guess who else was not allowed to sleep?) and didn't mind being squirted with water. In fact, he has actually opened his mouth in anticipation of me squirting him, thinking it was a fun way to get a drink. I had to get my husband to rescue me from him (all the time) when he wouldn't let me walk through the apartment without attacking me like I was a Wildebeest just passing through. Those were his kitten years. (I think he remained a kitten for years... not settled down.)
He was one of those pets who didn't want you to leave him... ever. Those longing looks we got when leaving for work or going somewhere prompted me to bring home another cat (Henry), but we soon found that Alex HATED cats. He never peacefully co-existed with any of the other cats we got. If you are wondering how we ended up with more cats even after knowing about his attitude, well -- that's another story for another day. We would joke that he didn't like his own reflection in the mirror because it was a cat. ;-)
After many years, he did settle down a bit, and became very affectionate with us. He even seemed to pick me as his favorite, and loved to sit in my lap. He'd always ask with a little meow before jumping up. Then he'd just nuzzle, cuddle and gaze at you rather than sleep. He never slept that much anyway. Alex had a personality and a half, and although we are crying over him now, he still brings us a smile under the tears, and he always will.
Click on the Alex label for approximately the last year of posts on him, and the links below are the rest of them (oldest first):
Caffeine Cat Fiend
You Lookin' at me?
Salad and Tummy Troubles
Wyatt Urp needs a bigger tent
Friday the 13th Peek-a-Boo Alex
King Kong Kat
All the Live Long Day
Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at TBIFOC - Cats - Catblogging -