Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In Loving Memory of Chloe

It is with great sadness that we had to say good-bye to our nineteen year old cat Chloe this past Sun., March 6th. I recently wrote an article about having an allergy assessment done on her in which I also spoke about how well she was doing and had been doing.Though she was doing the best she ever had been in regards to her irritable bowel problems, she, like so many other cats, had developed kidney disease as well as painful dental problems. Shortly after I wrote that article, she began to decline and for the past few weeks was under hospice care until it was time for her to go. 

We adopted Chloe (originally known as Ethel) in October of 2000, when she was three years old from our veterinarian clinic. I was at the clinic one day and saw a couple of adult cats that were looking for homes. They were cats from a hoarding situation that got out of control and the owner had to relinquish her cats. The clinic was kind enough to take a few of them and find homes for them. Chloe was one of them and she caught my eye. She was very pretty and once they took her out of the cage for me to pet, that's all it took. She found her forever home.

Chloe lived with five different cats and four dogs over her lifetime with us. She liked dogs more than other cats. After coming from a cat hoarding situation and then enduring three male kittens growing up with us over the years, it's no wonder! She loved our dogs and always welcomed and enjoyed the various dogs that sometimes stayed with us from time to time as well. 

Chloe was a very verbal cat. People think that Siamese cats are constant and obnoxious talkers -- I would put my Chloe in a talking contest with any Siamese. She talked (and sometimes screamed) so much that it would make you have second thoughts about ever having another cat. She knew how to get my attention with her different meows. She had a meow for "where are you?", a different meow for "I'm hungry", another sound for "open the door", or "I'm going to the litter box". She would sometimes make sounds that sounded like she was in agony or distress, just to get me to come running. Once there, she would let out a little, soft "what?" She talked and told us about everything. She was a very good communicator and she used her verbal commands to make us virtually her slaves. She enjoyed it. For instance, she had a dog door that she used just fine when she wanted to, but would usually make us open the door for her instead. I often said she was a cat Goddess in a previous life and was used to having humans as servants and bossing them around. She was very good at it.

Chloe was the one who woke us up to let us know our house had flooded while we (and our dog) were sleeping in May of last year. She was wading through the water and kept meowing on and on until we got out of bed, only to step in water. She was not freaked out about it like our other cat Dusty. She took everything in stride (except going to the vet).

All of our pets are great teachers, and Chloe was no exception. Chloe taught me a lot about cats and about myself. Since she had stomach and digestive issues from the start, it was a challenge to figure out how to get her to a healthier state -- at least one of not constantly throwing up, and keep her there. She spent a lot of her life having diarrhea and vomiting, and was eventually diagnosed as having irritable bowel disease. She spent her whole life teaching me what she could and could not tolerate, and what she did or did not like, when it came to food. She inspired me to research and learn more about feline nutrition and well-being. It was Chloe who taught me the biggest lesson about cats that I had to see and experience for myself before I really got it -- and it's something that most cat owner's don't want to hear, for several different reasons -- cats should not be eating dry all. We are doing them a dis-service by feeding them dry foods.The BEST thing you could ever do for your cat's health, longevity and well-being is never give them dry food and if they are currently eating dry food, slowly wean them off of it. It's the best thing I ever did for Chloe and my other cats as well. And the intention here is to get them completely off of dry food and onto at the very least -- a grain-free can food diet, which is closer to biologically appropriate food for a feline carnivore than dry food will ever be. Ever.

We are grateful for the sixteen years we had Chloe as our beloved cat and for all that she taught us. She leaves a big empty (quiet!) void in our lives and will really be missed.

(Picture: She loved everything about dogs, including rolling and covering herself in dog hair!)