Boy of Joy
Kitty 1993-2000

Where To Go?
Who Was Evander A Rescue Kitty Comes Home A Special Needs Kitty
A Dying Kitty
Song is The River by Bruce Springsteen. Click to play.
Back to the Unfettered Soul

Who Was Evander?

He was a big galumphing tom cat, even though he was neutered. He was twelve pounds of blue eyed white neutered tom cat love. He was the cat who lived peacably at the bottom of the hirearchy and did not care about the females' power schemes. He loved hunting in the tall grass and resting in his numerous outdoor nests. He was a cat who came to greet me tail held high like a kitten, a raspy little tom cat mew escaping his lips. He was never clean. He never cared and even when the vet told me to bathe him, I did not. I sometimes apologized for driveway cruds or fleas in his coat. A neighbor remarked once less than politely about a turd sticking out of the por cat's rear. I treated the fleas, and yanked the turd free, but the driveway cruds stayed.

Once a less than caring friend of my boyfriend's visited and complained when Evander joined him on the desk. "He only wants petting," I protested. The friend did not even notice Evander's beautiful blue eyes. I of course loved Evander. I am and always will be his human mommy. I will always miss him. That is why I have put this page together so that others can understand the life of my sweet wander-kitty and so that they can mourn his death.

Back to the
top of the page.

A Resecue Kitty Comes Home

It was New Year's Eve 1996, and I had no intention of taking a third kitty into my household. I had already helped rescue Sting earlier that fall and that was enough. I preferred females to males anyway. I was at work because we were open just for one day. I was hanging out in my office reading email when Heather, a cat lover and one of the clericals who worked at circulation announced that there was a poor white kitty in the snow. Temperatures were predicted to go to ten below zero that night. This was after all in Utica, New York. Wind chills would plummet to thirty below. The beautiful white kitty would freeze to death. I volunteered a can of sardines and Heather went out to bring in the waif from the cold.

Heather got the white kitty inside, and then of course we had to decide what to do with him. Heather already had three Persian cats and that was enough. Patti had seven cats. No one else wanted a kitty though I tried to give the white kitty to Liz because he was so mellow and sweet. He would have made a great "starter kitty." Actually, I was wrong but did not find out unitl later.

Patti and Heather put the white kitty on my lap and let me inspect and pet him. I looked beneath the tail and found that he was a neutered tom. I checked his ears for mites. They had scars. He purred as I petted him. His eyes were China blue. There were two alternatives: he could either go to a farm or I could take on one more cat.

The white kitty also wore a collar. From the veterinarian's number on that collar, we were able to piece together his hisory. He was born in Camden New York and belonged to an old lady who lived near Patti. She called the lady and the lady did not want the white kitty back. The kitty's name was Skeeter. I looked at the big neutered boy purring under my desk and knew that was no Skeeter. That was a heavy weight. The only question was whether to name him after Michael Tyson or Evander Holyfield. I took a poll of my colleagues, and Evander won hands down, so Skeeter became Evander.

According to Evander's first owner, she had given her kitty to a family in Oneida who in turn had given him to a family in Utica, who most probably DUMPED him. Evander had not had an easy life. He rode home quietly in a box while my stunned boyfriend drove the car. Poor Lou. He could undersatnd my becming attached to a three week old little black kitten (Sting) and Georgia had always been a part of my life, but this "mangy old tom cat." What can I say? Evander always charmed the ladies.

Back to the top of the page.

A Special Needs Kitty

A cat who had been through three owners is a cat with behavioral problems. A cat in a multi-cat household from the infernal regions is a cat with behavior problems waiting to happen. No kitty is perfect, and Evander was simply Evander. Lou was worried that Evander or Georgia would become jealous and run away from home. I, who knew something of cat behavior, knew that at least one cat would have a very pungent way of expressing his discontent. Evander who did not know how to growl loved to pee on anything that had a human odor on it. The bathmat was a special target. My sweater got hit one morning as I bathed. Anything left to dry on the outside line had to be hung above tail level or it too got sprayed. I had to remember not to put any clothing on the floor and to remove the bathmat to the shower curtain bar after using it. Evander without targets "held his fire."

Grooming was another sore spot, quite literally. The first year I had Evander he developed mats in his short haired coat. I cut them out myself and let the furr blow away as the poor boy of joy kitty sat in the driveway. At midsummer, Evander developed an absess because he neglected to properly lick open a sore on his side. He was on anarobe drops and locked in the house.

Evander also proved to be partially virile. When Stingie went into silent heats, Evander would mount her on the living room floor. My boyfriend would get quite upset. I reminded him tha Evander lacked the necessary equipment and that Stingie was under age.

With all of this, Evander was a great cat. He came to his name, loved to be petted, and would even follow Lou and me on " pride walks." Evander made the three day trip down to Georgia without complaint. He used the onboard toilet facility in his crate so did not have to have his crate cleaned on the fly. He sat and looked out the window like a good boy. He was always the last cat allowed near the food dishes, but he never complained. I would sometimes cuddle him on the bedroom floor while my boyfriend watched perplexed. When Lou went up north to spend time with his brother, I told Evander "you're better to me than ten thousand boyfriends."

Columbus, Georgia was paradise for Evander. He spent most of his time out of doors. He hunted and took big pride walks. He was always there to greet me when I came home from work. Last spring, I had Evander and Georgia (Stingie had died 3/8/00) boarded at a kennel for three weeks while I went to Europe. According to the kennel owner, Evander and Georgia even taught the parrot who was being boarded there to meow. Evander returned home with a good loud meow.

Back to the top of the page.

A Dying Kitty

This is the part of the page that I don't want to write. Maybe it is too painful. Maybe I fear that my memories of that time willl wipe all others from the map. Some time in late June Evander started acting funny. He hung out in his litter pan in the computer room unless I let him out. I thought Georgia was picking on him. He found new hiding places outside including the cinder block wall of the garbage corral. Then he moved his headquarters to my bath tub. He lay in there until it was time for him to be let out when I got home from work. I often carried him to the door.

I thought Georgia, my alpha girl kitty, was picking on him. Then I sensed something was really wrong. Evander's back end became really dirty one night so I bathed him in the tub. I had done this a few times before to remove impacted turds. Evander fought me but even at close to his full twelve pounds, he was no match for a human who knows how to scruff a kitty. After the bathing he ran out of the tub and tried to eat. He would take a few bites, stop, take a few more and just hang his head over the dish. Then he defecated on the newspaper. I knew something was very wrong. The fact that Evander was losing weight and making a funny purr did not help either.

I remember walking and walking late at night, tears streaming down my face, extremely frightened. At the vet's the doctor asked " why do you think your kitty is dying?" I told him the symptoms and they tested him for leukemia. The test came back positive. Evander received a shot of steroids and antibiotic and a prescription for antibiotic pills. It had to be pills because he was a large cat. I felt like the chief enforcer at the methadone clinic when each day began with the morning meds. It took Evander two days to begin eating Fancy Feast again. Evander never returned to dry food. It also took him two days to get up enough strength to walk to the litter pan to urinate again.

Both due to his different diet (which Georgia wanted in the worst way) and the fact that I had to monitor his elimination, Evander had to be isolated in the dressing room. I had never nursed a dying creature before and I panicked way more than I should have. Evander never got all of his strength back. He came out of the isolation area to the kitchen only once and that was in early August. One morning I found him breathing shallowly in his litter pan and making a funny purr. I took him to the vet's again and learned that his leukemia was end stage. The funny thing about all of thtese diagnosees was they sort of only confirmed what I already knew. I prepaid for Evander's euthanasia. I knew the time would come.

I spent the next two months, eating sleeping, working, and nusring Evander. When not nursing Evander and home, I was on the computer so I could get up every half hour or so and look in on him. Although Evander got up for his first feeding when the food was fresh, for the other feedings, I held the dish under his face and pushed the food together to make it easier to grab. I also gave Evander two night feedings and the second feeding was around 12:30am with multiple passes. I could not go shopping right after work and I got to bed every night around 2am. That was how we lived. Evander got good time out of this. He enjoyed his attention, fresh food, and petting. I am glad we had that time.

On the evening of September 28, Evander stopped being able to get up and eat. He seemed unable to concentrate on his food. He did eat around 3am but with way too much coaxing for fresh food. I knew what the morning would bring. By this point Evander was so weak he slipped when he walked and could not make it to his litter pan or the sink (He was on the bathroom counter) to pee. I was always sponging up urine. Evander's back end and tail were caked with feces. He did not have the strength to move an impacted turd that was way inside him either.

I did not dress the morning of the 29th. I just shoved my shirt into a pair of pants and left on my nightie. I had a feeling that Evander's death would be messy. I called the vet and then at the appointed time, took Evander from the litter pan that had become his nest. He weighed so little. I crated him up and carried him over to the vet. They were real nice. We sat out on the outside step in the sunshine. I opened the crate door and petted him. Then I brought him. in. The vet had trouble finding a vein. Evander yowled and needed to be scruffed but nothing reallly happened when he injected the pink liquid in. "You better check," I said to the vet when the vet said he was gone. Sure enough there was no heart beat and Evander felt very flopppy when I tried to pick him up. I asked if he could be weighed. He weighed out at 6.25 lb

Then the tech folded him up in the red bathmat from Utica. I had brought the mat with me. Long ago I decided that Evander would be buried in that mat. They had no boxes, so I carried Evander home in my arms in the bright sunlight. His eyes were still open and still clear and blue. His tongue which stuck out when he died stayed in where the tech had tucked it. When he died he left something on the table at the vets as I expected he would. I laid Evander in state on the bathroom counter which had been his sick room and called Mr. Gregory of Bi-City Pet Cemetary.

The fiuneral was scheduled for 5:30pm. I already had money set aside for my boy's burial. I bathed, dressed in a black skirt, blouse, and stockings, and went to work. Pam, David, and I were late for Evander's funeral. We had readings from the Bible and Chaucer and from a book of cat poetry. We had fall silk flowers that we laid on his grave. I already had a disposible camera so we could take funeral pictures. I picked up the pictuures today. I am going to be giving some to my boyfriend who is currently in Utica, New York.

Lou came down to visit Evander, Georgia, and me two weeks before Evander died. He helped me stock up on food. He also photographed Evander in the sick room. I do not have a scanner and am not sure how my pictures would mix with the words on this page. Right now it is hard to leave the apartment though I was finally able to grocery shop on Thursday 10/5 night. It was strange to go to Publix and not bring home any Fancy Feast. I know that while Evander was sick, I craved my freedom. Now I do not care about it.

On Monday I go to schul to fast and pray for Yom Kippur. I do not feel repentant. I feel I have already paid God in full for anything I could ever have done with the loss of both Sting and Evander, yet my faith remains unshaken. Some day I shall see both of my lost kitties again. I hope they are not waiting around at sme rainbow bridge. I hope Stingie is plotting world domination from unnder a bed and Evander, well I hope he is outside.

Feline leukemia is viral and since Georgia, my last kitty was exposed heavily and not always immunized she is a presumed asymptomatic positive and must remain indoors only so she does not spread the contagion. There can also be no new cats in this apartment until a negative test on Georgia and certain cleaning procedures renders this place free of the scourge. I am not ready to test Georgia. I do not need to know that she too has an incurable disease.

That is where I am left. It has happened. I am here. Georgia is here. There are no whys. I miss Evander terribly. I hope you can understand why.

Roanna/Eileen H. Kramer/ZOIDRubashov -- 10/7/00

Back to the
top of the page.