August 1, 1990--July 20, 1998

Me and Stupid One rainy night in August, 1990, I suddenly awoke from a sound sleep. Through the open window came an imperious "Meow!" Concerned over whose cat was out in such a drenching thunderstorm, I hurried to the front door. Instead of the full-grown cat that the tone of the meowing had led me to expect, I found a tiny, shivering kitten! He couldn't have been more than 4 weeks old! I brought him inside and dried him off; he was adorable! He waved his tail from side to side so energetically that he knocked himself over several times. My two other cats didn't quite know what to make of him; they seemed to think he was some new brand of cat toy!

The three cats lounging around My mom had been looking for a new cat ever since I'd moved out and taken the family pets with me--they were brothers and we didn't want to separate them. She said she would love to adopt him once she returned from her vacation. So I agreed to keep him until then. I called him Stupid, because of his silly kitten antics and also so Mom would have a chance to name him when she came home!

Stupid relaxing Well, Mom's landlord threw a fit about her having a cat, so a month later Stupid was back with me. Somehow, the name Mom had picked out for him (Clouseau, after one of her favorite movies) never stuck, and he always answered to Stupid. My other two kitties, Frodo (the tabby) and Puszykaat (the Siamese) eventually got used to him. They raised him, litter-trained him, washed behind his ears, and generally acted as if he were their own brother.

When Stupid was just 3, the two older cats died (they were 14!)--Frodo in September 1993 of liver failure and Puszykaat in December of a stroke. My (now) husband moved in, we moved to Illinois, and in July 1994 Gidget joined our family. All this was a little much for Stupid, and he ended up being treated with Elavil for nervous depression! He reacted well to it, though; and except for a slight relapse when our daughter was born was fine ever since.

Stupid and Gidget In November of 1997 we went home to Ohio for Thanksgiving. When we came home, I noticed that he seemed to have lost some weight, but I figured that he had just not been eating a whole lot while we were gone. But no matter how much I fed him, he didn't gain anything back, then I noticed some yellowing in his ears--jaundice. That was that. I took him to the vet.
Stupid was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, meaning his kidneys were shutting down. The waste products, instead of being eliminated in his urine, were simply recirculating in his bloodstream. He spent a week in the hospital, then Ed sent him home. He was on many medications, like potassium and calcium supplements, steroids, nutritional supplements, and he got fluids subcutaneously on a daily basis. Eventually I was able to taper that off, but I still gave him the sq fluids whenever he seemed to be going through a bad spell. He would do well for a few weeks, then have a few bad days, then do well...It was very up-and-down and took a big toll on me emotionally.

Eventually nothing seemed to be helping much. Stupid had lost almost half his body weight, and although he still enjoyed his usual pasttimes, he grew tired very easily. Then he stopped eating entirely--throughout the whole illness he'd always had a good appetite. I gave him the last 50 cc's of saline out of his bag and he was so weak the weight of the fluids was too much for him. Even I couldn't fool myself any longer. I called Ed and made an appointment right away. On July 20, 1998, eight months after his initial diagnosis, Stupid went home to be with his Mother.

We buried Stupid outside, under the window he always sat in to watch the birds. I was desolate, and kept thinking maybe there was something else we hadn't tried--don't ask me what, though; we did conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathic name it, we tried it. Monday night, as I lay in bed trying unsuccessfully to sleep, Stupid came to me. I saw him fat, with shiny fluffy fur, his tail sticking straight up and waving back and forth as it did when he was pleased with himself. He bounced up to me, and gave me a long look, as if to say, "I know you tried, and I love you for it, but I'm much happier now," and bounced away again. So now, while I grieve for the loss of his companionship and love, I know that I did the right thing.


For more information about feline CRF and its treatment, there is a wonderful website called the Feline Chronic Renal Failure Information Center, run by people who lost their cat to CRF. You can also email me.



  MIDI Selection: Cat in the Dryer