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!
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
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.
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:
Here we glimpse
"the brown tornado" during a tense pause, between frenzied
dashes with his favorite blue glove.
'n' crash, Sakč's favorite games include tag,
peek-a-boo, and crocodile wrestling (with Sak' as the
croc, of course).
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.)
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
on with Life
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
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
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.