Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goodbye, Dear Friend

Zachary Martin Sisk Maham (1993-2008) also know as Zach, Zachifer, Jefe, Zack Cat, and Ack went to kitty heaven today. He died of complications from diabetes. He will be greatly missed by his human family he left behind.

I got Zach in the fall of my junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill. I had just moved into an apartment and wanted a cat. I couldn't bring one of my cats from home as they were outdoor cats and we didn't think they would adjust well to being indoor cats. So I went to the Chapel Hill animal shelter and found Zach.

He isn't the kitten I intended to get. I liked a dark gray kitten, but my roommate Jill convinced me that Zach had way more personality than the other kitten so I adopted him instead. This was around Halloween and I had to wait an extra few days to be able to pick him up as they wouldn't let me get a black cat right before Halloween.

I remember bringing Zach back to my apartment and letting him out of the carrier. He looked so much smaller and more fragile than he did at the animal shelter. The first time I needed to go somewhere I was scared to leave him by himself.

Zach did have lots of personality and was constantly getting in trouble for jumping on the counters and digging holes in the carpet. He liked to chase the fish in the aquarium and he loved to fetch pencils and other toys.

Just a few weeks after getting him, I had to take him to the vet late at night. He had a respiratory infection left over from being a pound kitty. Luckily he ended up being fine. Then when I finally had him de-clawed he had complications and had to have a second surgery. For months afterward anytime he was in trouble he would raise his paw and pretend it was hurt to try to get out of trouble. Zach was a very smart cat.

Zach moved with me to Texas after college. When I arrived he was the only thing I knew in the state. I loved coming home from work and knowing he was waiting for me. He was always so happy to see me. The first several times Michael came to visit, Zach attacked him - biting and scratching his ankles. At one point I told Michael, "the cat is staying, you can decide whether or not you are!"

Zach wasn't so sure what he thought of Howdy and Toby, our dogs, when we brought them home, but he soon showed them who was boss. He would go up to Toby standing on his hind legs and "attack" her nose. She would bark and snap at him and then chase him through the apartment. Most of the time all three of them really liked each other and usually if there was trouble, Zach had started it.

When we moved into our house Zach started peeing on things. This was Zach's way of showing displeasure. If we went away for a weekend, Zach peed. If we didn't clean the litter box to suit him, Zach peed. If we had a baby, Zach peed. If we had overnight guests, Zach peed. Anytime Zach got stressed, Zach let us know.

Zach had a habit of drinking out of my water glass. I know it is gross and I'm not really sure how it started but the cat loved ice water. It wasn't good enough to get him his own glass - he wanted mine. For a while I would feed him a bite or two of ice cream when I had it but at some point he developed an intolerance. It didn't stop him from begging for it though.

After Sam was born, Zach was my buddy. He would always comfort me and snuggle with me. He did everything he could to console me during those first months.

Rehm's very first word was "Ack." He thought that was what all cats were called and he loved his "Ack" most of all.

Zach was also an escape artist. If a door was open, Zach was going outside. Once the kids got old enough to open the outside doors I constantly heard, "Mom, Zach is out!" Then I would have to chase him down and get him back inside. One time he got out and we didn't realize it for about 48 hours. We panicked. We found him several hours later hanging out in one of the neighbors' driveways with not a care in the world.

Zach has had his share of health issues. He had pancreatitis 7 or 8 years ago. Let me tell you force feeding a cat with a syringe for several weeks is not fun. It also can cause quite a few arguements with your spouse when it takes one of you holding him and one feeding. Three years ago Zach was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then we have been treating him with insulin twice a day to keep it under control.

It will be strange not to have to pick up every clothing or other cloth things off the floor immediately to ensure that Zach doesn't pee on it. It will be strange not to have to stand vigilantly at the door everytime it is opened. It will be strange not to share my water. It will just be strange.

Zach took very good care of me for 15 years. I hope he thought I took good care of him, too.

Zach, you will be missed. I love you buddy!


Cathi_in_TX said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry. Oh how sad. RIP Zach. We'll miss you.

friendsmiling said...

Oh, I am so sorry. I remember staying in your apartment in Chapel Hill. That Damn cat always jumped on my head during the night while I was sleeping. He scared me to death. He also would leap up into the blinds and cause a loud noise during the night.
I know how much you loved him and how hard it is to love an animal that has been with you in your house as part of your family for so long. Zack, say hello to Shelby Lynn and Marly! He will be missed.

Karen said...

Yes, you took great care of him. He was very lucky.