Rest in Peace Elijah, 2002-2010
After living in Champaign for just 6 months, I decided to adopt kittens. I adopted 2 female kittens together because I didn’t want them to be lonely when I was away, and I wanted them to get along. Sarah, who was my roommate at the time, and I went to the humane society and found 2 kittens who had come in together. We took them into the room to play with them and they were very friendly, so we decided to adopt them.
I picked out some Hebrew names for them because I wanted them to be feminist Jewish cats. Lilith means “woman of the night,” perfect for a dark tortie, and for the orange tabby, I picked Eliora which means “God is my light.” But when I brought them home, I noticed Lilith’s tummy was shaved because they fixed her, but Eliora’s was not. I took another look at the paperwork and lo and behold they had been mislabeled. Eliora was not a girl; he was a boy! I changed his name to Elijah.
Elijah turned out to be quite a handful from the start. First of all, he loved to eat. As a kitten, this already got him into trouble as he had runny stools for his entire kittenhood. The vet I was taking him too prescribed some meds, but nothing worked. Finally, I took him to a different vet. As soon as he emerged from the kennel cab, the vet knew what was wrong because as she put it, he had a tiny little head and then as he came out, an enormous body. At 6 months old, he went straight to light kitty food.
As a handful, I remember a few very important things about Elijah. Besides liking to eat, he also loved to play with his sister, jumping on her, trying to lick her butt. She didn’t like this very much and past kittenhood, they didn’t hang out much. Also, Elijah had this thing for bread. We first noticed this when Sarah made some muffins for her students. Elijah knocked the muffins off the shelf and tore into the plastic bag, eating about half of them. If ever we left a loaf of bread out, he would tear open the plastic and what he didn’t eat would go stale.
Elijah and Passover went together really well. Whenever we opened the door or prepared the cup, Elijah was right there for his traditions. One year on Passover, I got up for a moment, and Elijah sat on my chair and grabbed an entire chicken leg, running off with it. I had to chase him down and pull it out of his mouth. He was a very funny cat.
Elijah really liked to get into things. When preparing some pictures for this post, I realized most of the pictures I have of him are when he would get into something funny. I especially like these of him in the plastic bag and way up high in the closet. I have no idea how he got up in that closet.
Elijah came out of the closet at 4 years old. One weekend I noticed he was suddenly in a lot of pain and didn’t want to eat. I took him immediately to the emergency vet, which I later learned saved his life as most cats who developed stones and are blocked don’t survive 24 hours. They inserted a catheter and he was instantly back to his old self. After taking some x-rays, we discovered there were stones in his kidneys, ureter, and bladder so diet change would not be enough. So I decided to go forward with surgery since he was still young and feeling pretty good.
In addition to a surgery to take out his stones, Elijah got a sex-change. They do this a lot of blocked cats so they can pass the stones. They literally cut off his manhood, making a hole for him to pee out of. He now had to squat to pee. Even though he went back to being a girl, I decided he should still be named Elijah. The name Elijah means “the Lord is my God.” It’s very masculine, non-feminist name, but it suits him well.
After his surgery, Elijah recovered fairly quickly. He was back to his old self and getting into trouble in no time.
Boy did that cat love to play!
He also liked to help me open presents and knit.
He was a pretty big sleeper too. It was so hard for me to get any work done at home because I just wanted to curl up with him and take a nap. He was overall a pretty affectionate and cuddly lap cat.
Two years ago when he started feeling sick again, I took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He was making stones again and one of his kidneys was no longer functioning while the other had very little function left. We started him on subcutaneous fluids to keep him from getting dehydrated. Darren loved to call this “watering the cat.” Faithfully practically every other day until June, Darren watered Elijah for me.
When Elijah got sick again 3 weeks ago, he just never got better. Though his fever went down, he never returned to his old happy playful hungry self. He never returned to eating on his own no matter what we tried. I was very sad today to have to say good-bye to such a good kitty. He had a great life and was very happy and healthy for most of it. I’m such a lucky woman to have had 8 years with my sweet Elijah boo. I will miss him very much.