19 October 2008


The spring of 1996 brought many changes. We had been married in February. Art got a job in Broomfield as a hardware tech. We bought our first home- a little 800 square foot (1200 if you count the basement) bungalow in Denver proper. We had just come out of a long string of moves from Greeley to Utah, Texas Creek, to Rochester, NY, back to Greeley. My dear sweet Opal moved with us each time. Art's mal Moose was lost in Texas Creek. We did pick up a couple of ferrets when we finally moved back to Greeley. Denver was the beginning of our new life as a married couple. Art picked a wonderful dog out at the Boulder shelter. He was the smartest dog we have had to date. You could have a conversation with Ky and he would understand. I thought another cat should join our brood. So off I went to the Longmont Humane Society. Art was working an odd shift so he could not make it. I picked out a lovely kitten and filled out all the paperwork. They looked it over and when I was about to hand them a check they said that Art had to come down to give his approval of the adoption. What? That wasn't going to happen. He was sleeping or at work when they were open. I was young, impatient, and fiesty so I tromped out and right over to the mall. Turns out it was fate. There was the most adorable grey fluffball waiting there. She greeted me with an instant purr when I picked her up. Her little claws latched on when I tried to set her down. So I took her home with me that minute.
She blended in quickly. Even crabby old Opal liked having her around. She would spar with the weasels providing endless entertainment for themselves. In the beginning the ferrets had the upper hand, but as she grew and learned their tricks it became an even match. I remember her spending time sunning in a potted plant I had on our porch. She was so tiny! She spent most of her time in my arms, though. She just loved to be held. She didn't care what I was doing as long as she could be there with me. She would climb up my leg if I set her down- that was quite interesting in the summer- Yow! She loved anyone and everyone. She would come right up to anyone who stepped into our home. She wasn't shy. You could hold her on her back and rub her belly or she would put her little arms up around your neck to get a big long back pat.
It wasn't until we moved to NH that we found out she was a ferocious killer. She would take down birds, mice, and chipmunks. She and Opal spent the first two months (which they stayed inside for) watching and planning their first attack- a little chipper that lived under the front step.
She was the perfect cat. Art thought we should have named her Noodle because of how she would just flop in your arms any which way to get love. She could sneak onto his lap without him even noticing. She was just an extension of him. Art got lap time in the morning I was graced with her in the evening. She kept me warm many a winter night by snuggling down on my lap. But the weather didn't really make a difference, or the time of day.
She's on my lap as I type this.
Before we left for our last trip we noticed that she was piddling around the house a lot. I thought she was just mad and trying to make a point (she knows which buttons to push after all) about us leaving so much, and she never quite embraced Lizzy. When we got back I found several piddles, and a few hairballs. I put her outside for the rest of the day. That night Art went to a concert with friends. Zoi peed right next to me while I was in the kitchen. I got mad and put her in the basement. Later she was on my lap while I was watching tube. I got up to go to the restroom, and she followed and squatted on a towel left on the floor! I was furious. I put her in the basement again and left a note for Art that she would spend the night there. When Art came home she ran out of the garage. He finally got her back in- he never saw my note. The next morning she wasn't in the room with us so I assumed she was in the basement. We talked about what could be bothering her, and set off to find her. Art found her upstairs in the loft. She was lethargic, hot, and laying in piddle. We called the vet immediately. Of course, we both had a hectic day with a weeks worth of appointments to catch up on, but we rearranged our schedules. I set off for my first appointment and Art dropped her at the Vet's office. A couple of hours later I went in to meet with them. I thought that maybe she had worms. Cancer. Her little kidney was swollen to the size of a raquetball. So best case she had pancreatitus, or cancer. Blood tests would come in the next day to confirm one or the other. She didn't eat or drink the rest of the day and her hot little body just laid there so sadly.
I had the FD rummage sale to work Saturday, and Art had training for Ski Patrol. She called on my cell to tell me her white blood cell count was off the charts and it was the worst. I had three choices: we could have exploratory surgery to 100% confirm which she told me would not change anything, we could give her a series of cortisone shots and steroid boosters to give us a little more time, or...
So I dropped everything and took her down for the cortisone shot. She feels better now and even started eating again last night. We will talk to the vet again Monday, but the end is near. Sweet Zoi has not left me unless it was to go to Art, and I won't leave her until...
Life is too short- this seems so unfair. She is only 12. I thought she would live until she was 18 or 20. How can it happen so fast? There is going to be a big hole in our lives when she is gone. I can't even bear to think of it. For now I am just holding her as tight as I can for as long as I can.


Renna said...

Oh, Shannon, my heart is breaking for you. Tears of empathy are falling as I type. We've walked this road four times in the past two years with our dogs. Our own Puddy (Tat), who is about 12 as best as we can remember, is this year showing the first signs of slowing down.

It does seem unfair that our pets live such short lives compared to people, especially since we have the capacity to love them the same as people.

I will pray for you and Art as you face the end with Zoi...

Shannon said...

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I am sorry for your losses. I hope they all went peacefully.
Losing Zo will be like losing a part of me, and I think it will be even harder on Art.
I am trying to be upbeat around her, but these darn tears just keep falling out!
I hope Puddy lives to a happy healthy 20 years old :)

Anonymous said...

That is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry for you. Our pets can really touch our lives. May she go peacefully. ((Hugs))

Ben said...

i remember when i lost my first cat. it was really sad. i was really attached to him and I still think about him.

i am sorry to hear about your loss. i know it is hard and we are all here to help.

Uncivil said...

I've mourned the loss of my pets more than some of my relatives!
That's is just the toughest thing to deal with when a pet is sick, and you feel so helpless!
Hugs to Zoi!

Farm Chick Paula said...

Oh no, honey... I'm so sorry...
I really dread things like this with all my animals even though I know they are inevitable.... but you're so right- life IS too short... especially for our fur friends. (And feathered ones, too!!)

EXSENO said...

I looks just like one ofmy cats. I'm so sorry that is so heart breaking. I didn't think I wanted any cats. My daughter brought home one little abandoned kitty. Before we even thought that she was old enough, she had three kitten, I don't even think it was four months later she had three more.

Wish you lived here I would give you one or two or three. I can't afford to feed seven cats. But now I love them all. My heart is breaking some of them have to go.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about Zoi. I remember how fun she was when I would come to your house in Denver...a real spitfire!!! She was a stinker with Opal! Reading this just brought it closer for us that we probably don't have much more time with Gus and Kitty (aka Sunny). Kitty is now 15, and Gus is 12. They are both looking "old" now. This is just a reminder I need to be sure and cherish them even more! Take care, and tell your DH we said hi and we think of you guys often! Deb

Shannon said...

Thank you everyone for your supportive words. This has been hard on us. We decided not to euthenize (guess I am pro-life- period) and we feel much better. My fingers are a little worse for wear from pushing pills down her throat, but it will give us all more time with each other- not sure if it's days or weeks but we will cherish every minute!
Yvonne and Ben- Thank you for your warm thoughts!
Uncivil- I am with you on the relatives, but mostly because I have spent the last twelve and a half years with Zoi and only seen my relatives sporatically growing up.
Paula- It is soo short! We are taking this as a notice to appreciate every minute we have with all of our fur(and feather)babies.
Exseno- I sure hope you are able to find loving homes for all of your little meowers- Kittens are so fun!:0) I don;t think we will get another kitten for a while though
Deb- The pic I posted with you and Zo is one of my favorites!
Silly Sunny! What a ham he was!
Good old Denver!