Elvis Has Left the Building

July 3, 2007 at 2:18 am 1 comment

I haven’t been writing much since the close of school and the onset of summer. Lately, things in my life seem a little overwhelming and much too much to put down in words. However, this is one instance deserves reflection: Elvis has left the building!

23022.jpgThe Elvis of which I speak is “The King” of kitties. Born in a barn somewhere in southern Maine, I was warned he was feral when I met this little kitten at the Westbrook shelter in 1994. “How could that cute little black creature be too wild to adopt?” I questioned. One look into those lovable eyes of his and I knew I’d be taking him home.

Once released from his kitty carrier a booming purr roared from what was then little black puff of fur. For some reason, I connected his color with Elvis Presley’s dyed black sideburns and thus the name stuck; Elvis. Little did I know that this frisky kitten would endeavor to follow his namesake’s path. With a top weight of 23 pounds and a purr of comparable decibels, this cat was King!

22334.jpgElvis was happy, fat, and dirty. More dog-like than cat, he knew the sound of MY car and would greet me as I drove up to the house. Knowing his name, Elvis would always come when called. In fact, he LOVED his name and loudly purred when hearing it repeated softly over and over again., “Elvis, Elvis, Elvis….”

To find Elvis rolling in the dirt, the driveway, or my freshly planted garden was a common site. The basement, not always the cleanest place in the house, was another favorite local for him where he would enjoy a good squirm or wiggle on the dusty cement floor. Wherever filth was present, this cat could be found. Because of his girth, it was difficult to wash. But that was o.k. Cleanliness was not something he worried about. Thankfully, as an all weather kitty, Elvis occasionally ventured out in the snow and rain and was cleansed of his collected dirt. Happily, he always welcomed a warm towel drying upon his return.

A prolific purr-er, even a visit to the vets wouldn’t deter his good natured,5467.jpg happy mode of communicating. Fetching balls, joining me in the garden, finding me in the yard, sleeping under bushes and in the tall grass, swinging with me in and lying under the hammock, and (once getting big enough) terrorizing our other cat, Emma, were all favorite pastimes of this king.

Elvis also loved a good butt rub and was partial to having his little head (dwarfed by his rotund body) petted as he purred in appreciation. He was a loving cat and loved attention.

Elvis ruled his home and yard with the elegance of Jackie Gleason. Both large in size, they moved with unexpected grace and speed. No mouse, chipmunk, or moving leaf was safe when Elvis was ready to pounce. He had a quirky, funny personality. I have to say, this cat cracked me up. You never knew where you would find him or what position he would be in. Wherever he may appear, Elvis was always happy to see you.

It was this fact that caused me concern about a week ago. Now that I look back, I probably should have seen it coming but it is hard to say. Cats don’t complain when they are sick, they just hide. Because he always comes in at night when called, Elvis can usually go out whenever he wants. But last week, one evening, he didn’t come when called. Then the next night we couldn’t find him until the following morning. Concerned I called the vets and brought him in on Friday, June 29th.

Before the appointment I started to think if he had been exhibiting any Elvis on screen.unusual behaviors. Once I began to wonder, it DID seem that lately there was more food than usual in the cat’s dishes. However, the weather had been hot and the cats tend to retreat during high temperatures. Also, it being summer, Elvis sometimes supplements his indoor dining with outdoor delicacies. Looking back, I guess Elvis HAD been drinking more water than usual, but he had oral surgery in March so I thought it might be a result of that. The big clue that made me call was that Elvis seemed to be hiding and was hard to be found. THAT is NOT ELVIS.

He spent the day at the vets on Friday and we went over the blood work and x-rays that afternoon. The diagnosis was kidney failure; either renal failure (this is a great site on CRF) or renal lymphoma. I won’t go into the details of the blood work as it was typical for kidney failure. His x-ray also showed a slightly deformed kidney. This matched with all the other tests and observations came down to the possibility of cancer. Elvis also had blood work done in January before his oral surgery. When reviewing these tests, evidence of kidney failure at that time was not evident once again supporting the diagnosis of cancer.

My vet felt that the kidney failure had progressed quite far and quickly. The survival test would be to see if Elvis would continue to eat over the weekend and take in fluids then there could be some hope that maybe we could prolong his life a little longer. If he refused food and water, it meant that he was probably nearing the end.

With a check up and updated blood work on Saturday morning, I took Elvis home and hoped for the best over the weekend. Although he had taken in some food on Friday and water Saturday morning, Elvis was no longer eating and soon stopped drinking. However, he was determined to be outside and managed to climb from his bed in the basement (one favorite place) to assorted bushes and tall grasses (other favorite places) on both Saturday and Sunday.

Over the weekend I did some research on the Internet and kept coming up with the same conclusion of renal failure. Things weren’t looking good. One positive note was that cats suffering from kidney failure experience some displeasure and slight nausea, but not pain.

Luckily, this weekend weather was beautiful and Elvis spent his last two days where he loved to be; outside. Each night I carried him back to the basement and on Sunday evening, by the time I went to bed, I knew the end was near. His tail had stopped twitching, his movements were minimal, and he was struggling to breathe. Elvis passed-on in his sleep last night, Sunday evening.

This weekend has been tough and today even tougher. I’ll miss this goofy cat12670.jpg and loving friend. In fact, I already do! He was a great cat…wandering around the yard, sprawling out on the kitchen floor, looking up at me with his big loving eyes, and purring loudly with even a visual contact. You never knew when he would appear; popping out from underneath a bush or new hiding place to great you with a purr, rub, and (if cats can) smile. I see him everywhere I look.

Elvis lived a good life and took each day the way we all should: lying on his back, full and happy, stretched out and relaxed, and reaching for the sun.

A final farewell….for the last time….Elvis has left the building.


Entry filed under: Everyday Life.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mary  |  July 4, 2007 at 12:59 am

    So sorry for your loss of Elvis. He had a great life…was loved…spent his last days in his yard and home…he’s left the building but will never leave your hearts!


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