The Lounge  
 04 Feb 2000 

Sakč sake or saki (sä´·kč):
a wine made from fermented rice

Sakč is a male seal-point Siamese, born 8 December 1999.  He is affectionate, active, full of adventure, and has no reservations whatever about speaking his mind.  When my wife and I first visited him at the cattery, he took to us, and we to him, immediately!


Sake watching snow falling

Arrival (February 2000)

Sakč came to live with us on 29 January 2000.  He is both intrigued and bewildered by the vast (to him) space of the house, compared to the limited confines of the cattery.  Though eager to explore, he becomes a little anxious if he discovers he has wandered to a place where he cannot see anyone else.  But his insistent "Eep, eep, EEP!" brings immediate company and comfort; our new little master is training us well!

In his first day or two with us it was clear that Sakč missed the company of other cats, but he is rapidly bonding to his new human family.  He loves shoulders and laps for perching and snoozing.

Dual Personalities (April 2000)

As the first few months have passed, it seems that Sakč's alternating mellow and playful moods can be viewed as separate personalities.  It is almost as if we have two cats in the house, not just one.  We have taken to giving each personality a nickname.

Weezer is the mellow and affectionate little charmer.  The name somehow evolved from "snoozer," "sneezy," and "weasel," each of which has been aptly descriptive of the little fellow at various moments.  The Weezer loves cozy things like laps, blankets, and newspapers (if someone is reading them).  He also likes to sit on my lap while I'm at the computer, and bat at anything that moves on the screen.  The Weezer (also sometimes known as "Mr. Underfoot") follows people around the house, and pats them gently on the leg when he wants to be picked up and cuddled.  If they respond appropriately, he rewards them with an adoring blue-eyed gaze and a rumbling purr.  But if they do not, he unties their shoes.

Sakč by the fire
The Weezer

Because "Stripe" is so animated, it's difficult to capture a decent photo of him.  We see him here during a brief moment of distraction.

Stripe is the Weezer's "evil twin."  He is the furry fireball who races from room to room, bouncing off furniture and people wherever he goes.  When stationary, Stripe arches his back, lays his ears back, and puffs up his tail.  With his distinctive Siamese mask, this gives him a somewhat raccoon-ish appearance.  Turning sideways toward whoever happens to be handy, and raising one forepaw menacingly, Stripe appears truly ferocious (in a kittenish sort of way).  But it's all comedy, for when contact is finally made it is purely playful.

The name "Stripe" suggested itself because this rough-and-tumble aspect of Sakč's personality first became clearly delineated about the time he began to develop some darker coloration other than on his "points," a tawny band running down his back from shoulder to tail.


The School of Hard Bonks (December 2001)

In hot pursuit of wild exuberance, Sakč seems bent (often literally) upon disproving the physical principle that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.  Consequently, in our household we have become familiar with (if not entirely attuned to) the euphoric full-throttle skitter of claws, punctuated by the distinctive reverberation of fur-padded bone colliding with wooden doors, table legs, and chair rungs.  Accordingly, our little pal has acquired yet another, somewhat onomatopoeic nickname:  Boopy.

Here we glimpse "the brown tornado" during a tense pause, between frenzied dashes with his favorite blue glove.

Besides dash 'n' crash, Sakč's favorite games include tag, peek-a-boo, and crocodile wrestling (with Sak' as the croc, of course).


Growing Pains (January 2003)

Sakč's third year was rather tough.  Gastro-intestinal infections necessitated a few trips to the vet, though fortunately nothing more than an antibiotic and a few vitamins were required to get him restored.  Normally weighing in at just two kilograms, he temporarily lost almost twenty percent of his body mass, but has now recovered fully and then some.  A persnickety eater, he will probably always be a diminutive elf.  But (perhaps due to his peculiar fondness for dinner rolls and pastry crust) he is full of energy, remarkably sleek, and incredibly smooth.  (I use the word "incredibly" quite literally here:  His coat is so fine and silky that touching it makes people's eyes pop in surprise.)

In addition, Sakč is finally becoming more vocal.  Although he hasn't developed the poetic articulation and grand operatic style of his baritone predecessor, he occasionally puffs up his tail and bursts forth with a hearty tenor "Aayo! Aayo! Aayo! Aayo!" when he has raised a full head of steam — usually after a romp with his favorite stuffed catnip mouse.  At the other extreme of Sakč's expressive range is "the crocodile smile" — a silent yawn so wide it looks as if he could swallow his own head.  But his favorite utterance is a gentle and endearing "Mrrrr?"—which seems to translate as "Is it time to feed the kitty yet?"


Getting on with Life (January 2005)

Life is good!  During the past two years there has been only one non-routine trip to the vet, for a "mystery wound" on Sakč's foreleg.  It was a rather ghastly looking cut that we suspect he acquired during a romp in the cellar.  He had Mamma worried, but was never out of sorts, and was all healed up in a couple of weeks.

Sakč has fluffed out as he has matured, but is still a diminutive fellow, weighing only about 2.4 kilos.  He's never outgrown his finicky attitude toward cat food (refusing to touch anything but his two favorites); however, he loves pie crust and cookies of almost any sort.  He also remains rambunctious as ever.


All Good Things Come to an End (April 2011)

Sakč was always a small cat.  Ever the very finicky eater, he'd topped out at about 2.7 kilos at one point.  But beginning in 2008, he began having chronic indigestion.  For the next couple of years, the episodes became more frequent, and he began losing weight.  By 2010 he'd become a regular customer at the veterinary.  The initial diagnosis was Crohn's, and some drugs seemed to help for a while.  A brief rally, and then back into decline.  Different drugs, same pattern: one step forward, two back.  Again and again.  Food allergies seemed to be another problem, so we got Sakč off of anything that would disagree with him.  Again he stabilized, but only briefly.  In 2011, his weight had fallen to 1.5 kilos.  During an examination on 12 April, the vet discovered an abdominal mass that had escaped earlier detection, and an ultrasound looked ominous.  A quick exploratory surgery revealed the worst: Sakč's stomach had been largely consumed by a tumor.  There was no hope for the little fellow.  He had, at most, just a few days to live, as the cancer continued to devour him from within.  So, as he lay unconscious on the table, we made the decision—terrible for us, but merciful for him—not to let Sakč wake up from the surgical anesthesia.

Our house seems very lonesome without him.  Sleep peacefully, little one; we'll sorely miss your cheery "Mrrt!"

Sakč grabs a sunny morning nap on his window perch in 2010.