I had to put my cat Mauser down this week.
My aunt Marsden found Mauser on June 18, 2000. She and my uncle were eating in their truck behind a KFC and saw a tiny grey kitten in the alley that ran behind the restaurant. He would shrink back against the wall whenever a car came by, but as they watched he kept getting braver and braver, and straying farther and farther out into the alleyway. It was obvious he was going to get squished, so Aunt Marsden and Uncle Bruce looked around to see if they could figure out where he had wandered off from. They couldn’t, so even though my Aunt is deathly allergic to cats, they took him home. I got a very wheezy call that night asking if I wanted a kitten.
I did, and my friend Rachel was willing to drive him up from LA to my parents’ place in Milpitas, where I was living (having just finished undergrad and waiting to start grad school in the fall). He was so tiny back then – I don’t have any pix from right after we got him, unfortunately. The above shot was taken when he was a few months old. The vet estimated he was about eight weeks old when we got him, which puts his birth some time in late April of that year. His tail was tiny at that point, a mere wisp. I actually worried that he might wind up with weird proportions, a normal body and a tiny tail.
My parents looked after him while I was in school, and when I moved out, he and Zephyr (who joined us in 2001) moved with me.
Mauser was never a terribly healthy cat. He was always small (I think his highest weight was about 8.5 lbs). He had a couple rounds of serious illness as a youngster, and when he was about six his kidneys started to go. He joined the ranks of cats with chronic renal failure (CRF) and I had to give him subcutaneous fluids several times a week, as well as shots of anti-anemia medication. I’d always had trouble getting him to eat enough, and his kidney troubles only made that more difficult.
He was an incredibly sweet cat, though, and popular at the vet’s office. Everyone loved him, except for a cardiologist he got annoyed at and clawed across the face. That earned him a red half-dot on his vet file, although it was the only time he was really cranky at the vet. He was always well-behaved with me, even when I was learning how to inject his fluids and having to stick him several times with the huge needles used for that.
His kidney troubles made him a lot more low-key as well. He stopped being playful and mostly wanted to sit around and watch, or lie in a lap and be petted. He and Zephyr were never friendly, which is a pity. They mostly tolerated each other.
In the end, he stopped eating and a trip to the vet revealed his kidneys were completely shot and he had some sort of systemic infection. We never did track down where the infection was. There wasn’t much point — without at least partially-functioning kidneys, there’s no way for a cat to recover. Had he been human, he would have been on dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant.
It was hard to let him go. He was my first cat as an adult, the first I raised from a little bitty kitten. When I went in, the vet (Dr. Amy Long at Parktown Veterinary Clinic) and the vet techs were incredibly sweet. They’ve all gotten to know Mauser over the years, what with his health issues. Plus, several of the techs petsat for me when I was out of town, since Mauser’s medical regimen was complex enough it wasn’t fair for me to ask my friends to handle it. They all told me how much they loved the little guy. One of my friends went with me so I wouldn’t have to drive home on my own.
I’m really going to miss him. He was a sweet cat. I feel so lucky that my aunt and uncle found him and gave him to me.