In Memory of the Squirter


On the 13th of January 2014, we said goodbye to our most needy ... most lovable ... biggest baby ... most trying ... biggest challenge due to behavior ... most vocal ... and pickiest eater of our cat family. Before I tell you why we had to say goodbye to our beloved Squirter, let me give you a little background on how we came upon him and had the pleasure of giving him six good years.

You may or may not have come up with the reason we called him Squirt and sometimes the Squirter, AKA Pee-body. The family down the street from us basically kicked him and his sister out of the house because he was using the walls and carpet as his bathroom and not the litter box. They never considered the fact it may have been a health issue. Their concern was the house and not the cats - so goodbye declawed kitties - have a nice life outside.

Not being able to fend for themselves, the cats we later named Squirt and Shadow made their way to our house with the other 4 strays that came to eat every night. Squirt always acted like he was afraid of being outside and was very jumpy. He basically was an indoor cat who did not know how to cope outside.

When he came walking up to our house, he would make noises that almost sounded like grumbling. He was hungry and tired and did not like being outside, and was always voicing this to us. His sister, Shadow, would usually just eat and leave. She went back to the house where she was evicted and just hung around the porch. Squirt would eat and stay with us, reluctant to leave. He even sat outside with us one Fourth of July and watched the neighbors shoot off fireworks. We were surprised the noise did not scare him.

My wonderful cat dad husband and I feared for Squirt and Shadow due to the fact they were declawed and there were many dogs that were allowed to roam the neighborhood unattended. The cats had no way to defend themselves or even climb fences or trees to get away.

We learned from other neighbors that Squirt’s owner was in ill health and her small children and husband had no interest whatsoever in the cats. They fed them when they thought about it, but that was it. They would never be allowed in the house again.

We knew it was now up to us to help Squirt and Shadow. Squirt was the first one we took to the vet. After a thorough exam, including shots and blood work, Squirt was given a good report as far as general health. Their report showed a neutered black short hair, approximate age of two. When I told her the reason we now were Squirt’s adoptive parents and his circumstances at the other house, she suggested we leave him so she could get a urine sample. A call later that day, confirmed our suspicious about urinary tract and kidney problems. He did, indeed, have a serious UTI infection. He was put on an 10 day antibiotic. Another medication was added for behavior problems and urinary tract issues, which we basically continued giving him on a permanent basis.

I’ll admit it was not always fun cleaning up the urine outside the box in the beginning. It took a while for the medication to work and Squirt was a challenge in many ways. His quirky personality and neediness only endeared him more to us. The other cats, however, would have voted him “Most Likely To Get Voted Out Of The House”! If one of the cats would accidentally get shut in a closet or pantry, the others would immediately scratch on the door and notify us. When Squirt got closed up in a closet one day, no one let us know and we had to go looking for him ourselves. They seemed to be pleased he was temporarily contained for the time being.

Squirt was Squirt and we always just dealt with him. We could always tell when another UTI was coming on because we would once again find urine outside the box. He would also make noises outside the box and we could tell he associated using the box with pain. We always sympathized with his ongoing kidney issues.

Always a healthy eater, we worried when this hearty appetite started dwindling recently. He would show up to eat, but just have a few bites of the wet food and leave. We knew he was eating some hard food and drinking lots of water, so we didn’t worry too much.

A week into watching him basically not eat any wet food, we began to worry. I knew that drinking a lot of water could also be a sign of illness, such as diabetes. An emergency appointment was made with our vet. She asked us to leave him for testing and to get a urine sample.

Later in the day, a call came in from the vet herself. I was expecting the vet tech to be telling me to come get him and that it was another UTI. Instead, I got the devastating news that Squirt was in kidney failure and that his blood work showed a total shut down was taking place, with no chance for recovery. She advised us to let him go.

Let him go - when you hear these words, your mind cannot fully comprehend what this means. Being the one who says, “go ahead, end his life” has got to the hardest thing anyone can do. My husband and I immediately left home to be with Squirt during his final moments.

I was not expecting him to be so active and alive looking. I wanted him to look sick and to be lethargic. Instead he was all over us and happy we were there. When the vet came in with the two injections in her hand, I could still not comprehend we were ending his life, a life that took a lot of care, a life that we could not imagine not being with us any longer.

We held him as the first shot was given that put him to sleep. The next shot ended his life in a matter of seconds. The vet confirmed he was gone and left him with us. We both cried, as we held him and thought of the many wonderful stories and happy memories of our Squirter. We know he had a good life with us and that he loved us as much as we loved him.

Good bye, Squirter, my love. We will never forget you!

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