December 1990 – November 10, 2010 6:20 PM

Palouse was originally a stray kitten, part of a litter that was brought into Washington State University by a farmer to be put down. The school requested if they could first attempt to find homes for the kittens before resorting to putting them down. My sister worked at Washington State University at the time and ended up adopting Palouse after he introduced himself by reached out from the bars of the cage the kittens were housed in and gently touched her shoulder.

At this time my Sister also owned two Jack Russell dogs, Snorkle and Scuba, that did not like Palouse and ended up constantly chasing him around the house. The situation became untenable and I was asked if I could adopt Palouse.

At this time I had recently graduated from College and was living in a tiny one bedroom apartment right next to Route 80 in Ridgefield Park New Jersey. After discussion with (and an OK from) my land-lord, I agreed. Arrangements were made and Elizabeth (then my girlfriend) and I picked up a very messy and scared Palouse cat at Newark airport. At the airport I took Palouse into a bathroom to try and clean him up and nearly lost him.

Palouse turned out to be a truly lovely, very smart little cat. For most of his life, he always kept himself immaculately, almost obsessively clean. His coat was a beautiful light orange, almost yellow, color with a subtle stripe pattern and a white bib. I would often call him “Mr Fussy Toes” because his paws had the softest fur and he always kept them very clean.

Palouse quickly became a fixture in our family. Elizabeth fell in love with him, my parents adored him. I grew very attached. I believe my Sister always had some regrets about givimg him up. I would often take Palouse with me when I visited my parents or Elizabeth’s family.

Not wanting to leave Palouse alone in the apartment for several days, I took Palouse with me to my parent’s house for the family Christmas celebration, December 1991. My parents had several other cats at the time and there was some concern that the cats would fight. Instead, Palouse recognized that he was a guest and settled right in. My parents cats, for the most part, were also quick to accept him. For several years, I would periodically take Palouse (and sometimes Mohawk) with me when I visited my parents.

Palouse, Christmas day 1991

Shortly after Elizabeth and I became engaged, we purchased a small house in Clifton New Jersey. I moved in and started to renovate the house prior to our wedding. Palouse was clearly getting lonely so Elizabeth and I decided to adopt Mohawk in August 1992. Palouse and Mohawk quickly adjusted to each other. For most of their lives they played and snuggled together often.

Elizabeth and I married late Spring 1993. My parents took care of both Palouse and Mohawk while Elizabeth and I went on our Honeymoon. During this time Palouse managed to get out of their house. In the struggle to get Palouse back in, Mohawk also managed to escape. Both cats managed to stay just out of reach while playing together and with the fireflies in the moonlight. My parents have described both their desperate attempt to catch the cats as well as the beauty of the scene of these cats playing together. During this time Palouse became very attached to my mother and would always recognize and greet her whenever my parents visited us.

Also while spending time with my parents, Palouse discovered that he liked his tummy rubbed. After that time, he would ask for attention by plopping down on the floor with his head upside down and his tummy partially exposed. He would often also bend his front paws inward in an effort to appear more cute.

Palouse insisted on sleeping on the corner of the bed next to my pillow which placed him right next to the alarm clock. On one Saturday morning, he was sleeping and the alarm clock went off. I woke to seePalouse stepping on the snooze button on the clock, turn around and then curl back up in his usual spot to sleep some more.

Palouse began to show his old age after we moved from Salt Lake City to Fort Collins, Colorado. Like Mohawk, Palouse developed hyperthyroidism that required twice daily doses of methimozole gel that we had compounded for us by Colorado State University (and then Lemp’s Apothecary in Boise, ID). Palouse also developed arthritis in his back legs that limited his ability to walk, although he would still sometimes play with us with a string or laser pointer up-to a month of his death.

When I moved from Colorado to Boise, ID. I took both Palouse and Mohawk with me (our other newer addition, Virginia, initially stayed with my wife and daughter in Colorado). Shortly after arriving in Boise, ID. Mohawk died leaving Palouse without his long time friend and only me for company. When Mohawk was clearly very sick and dying, Palouse seemed to make a point of tending to him and I believe fully understood what was going on. After Mohawk died Palouse was clearly unhappy and I tried to make up for his loss by showering him with attention whenever possible. 

On one cold morning in December 2009, I woke up to find him sleeping under the sheets with his head sticking out and resting on the edge of the pillow like a little person. After this he did this fairly often and would sometimes climb under the sheets and sleep in this manner as soon as I got out of bed.

We purchased a house in Boise and then moved the rest of the family at the end of February 2010. Palouse appeared to be happy to be in a real house again and immediately claimed the bedroom as is domain. At this point Palouse was clearly showing his age although he seemed to be happy. At this point we were treating Palouse for hyperthyroidism, arthritis, and early renal failure.

On Friday, November 5, 2010 Palouse developed diarrhea and vomiting which persisted. He was diagnozed with Colitis on Saturday and we started him on a regiment of Centrine and Methronidazole which seemed to work. By Sunday November 7th, Palouse seemed to be well on the way to recovery except for additional weakness in his hind legs. Palouse also seemed unwilling to eat. We gave Palouse subcutaneous-IV and spoon fed him in an attempt to keep him hydrated and to help him build his strength back. As of the following Tuesday November 9th, Palouse seemed to be doing much better and even jumped onto the bed to snuggle with us for a while. At this point the only indication that anything was wrong was some additional discomfort in his hind legs and an unwillingness to eat.

On Wednesday morning I noted that Palouse was lethargic and walked with more difficulty than Tuesday evening. Palouse also cried out briefly as if he was in pain sometime early Wedneday morning. I got out of bed and comforted him for several minutes at which point he seemed to calm down.

During the day Wednesday, Palouse got rapidly worse. Elizabeth’s parents noted that around 3:00 PM he was in the bedroom, started yowling loudly for several minutes then suddenly became quiet. They checked on him and found him lying on his side and unresponsive. Elizabeth was out of the house at the time picking up items my daughter needed for school.

At about this same time I called the vet to discuss Palouse’s unwillingness to eat, not realizing what was going on at home. The vet suggested that we bring him in so they could do blood work. I called Elizabeth and we made arrangements to take him to the vet. By the time Elizabeth got home and took Palouse to the vet, his eyes were glassy and unresponsive and his body temperature was 85 degrees (cats are typically around 101 degrees). Palouse was mostly non-responsive and would cry out in pain when we woke him.

Palouse was dehydrated even though we had been giving him between 200 and 300ml of subcutaneous-IV every day for the past several days. The vets had no explanation for his condition except that the colitis caused his to become severly dehydrated which in turn caused his kidneys to shut down. With fluids and nutrients administered through IV, they gave him a 10% chance of surviving the night.

Given Palouse’s extreme age, the fact that he was clearly in pain when awake, as well as the low chance of survival, we felt it best to put him to sleep. I believe he fully understood what was going on. When the vet went to insert the needle in the catheter to inject the toxins, he woke up, looked at me and Elizabeth in turn, and let out a single soft friendly meow as he died.