Thomas and his litter had an interesting start to life. A retired couple in a city about 2 hours away from where we live took in an adorable stray boy cat who had been coming around their home a lot. About 3 weeks later he had a surprise litter of kittens, and thus confirmed he was a girl cat!
Thomas was the runt of his litter and had a really hard time getting adopted because everyone worried that he would have health problems. His litter mates were all adopted when they were 8 weeks old, but Thomas was consistently rejected. When I heard about him I made a deal with the owners – meet me halfway between our two cities, and I will adopt him.
Well, we met, and I took Thomas home. He was terrified of my cat carrier, so I had to hold him for the whole drive home – one hour and twenty minutes. He was so tiny, even at 12 weeks old, that he curled up in a little ball and slept in my hand for the whole drive. **Note that this is super dangerous and I do not recommend trying it.**
Thomas was a very cuddly, affectionate kitten who turned into an aloof “don’t touch me” adult, and then back into a cuddly, affectionate senior.
Thomas also had the health problems that everyone correctly predicted. Thomas has a rare birth defect – he only has one kidney. He went into acute kidney failure as a kitten, at about 10 months old. His only kidney was slightly damaged at that time, but recovered enough that he appeared to have normal kidney function until he was 11 years old. At age 11 he developed chronic kidney disease.
Thomas enjoyed a life of luxury in his senior years. He spent most of his time on his favorite heated bed or sunning himself in his catio. When he wasn’t sleeping he was wrestling with Oliver or watching the wild birds that visit our yard to bathe and eat.
Thomas passed away on January 2, 2020. He was a little over 14 years old.
On December 20, 2019 Thomas was hospitalized for IV fluids and supportive care. He had been battling some kind of infection and he had a sudden spike in his kidney values. Outwardly he was just a little tired and a little “off” compared to his normal self. He spent 4 days and 3 nights in the hospital and by the end of his stay all his blood tests showed that he was back to his normal (which is much higher than true “normal”). His energy had returned and he was sent home.
At home he had a few days of being his usual, bright, energetic self. He ran around the house, played with his toys, wrestled with Oliver, and even spent a little time trying to play with Cow (they were trying to figure out if they were ready to be friends). But after a little less than a week of being home he had a sudden drop in energy and appetite.
Eight days after coming home from the hospital Thomas went back to the vet for more blood tests and his results were as bad, or in some cases worse, than when he had been hospitalized the week before. At that point it was clear that Thomas’s lone kidney could no longer support him and he was dying.
Thomas spent a few more days at home, mostly sleeping and cuddling with Oliver, but sometimes taking himself out to the catio for some sunshine. He was also given special permission to roam around in the yard outside the catio – something he could never do when he was healthier because he would always try to escape. He was lightning fast and could easily jump 5 feet into the air, so he was not to be trusted!
On his last day Thomas had several energetic romps around the house and the yard. He initiated a couple of cuddle sessions too. He hadn’t wanted to cuddle at all for the last few days and he rarely allowed more than one cuddle session per day. Following all of that he simply went to sleep for the last time ever.
Thomas always surprised and amazed me. He wasn’t always a cat with kidney disease. For most of his life he was just a boy who loved to hang out on the tops of my doors and sleep under my blankets at night. Thomas was an exceptional cat, but he was also an average cat. Great when he wanted to be, and awful when he wanted to be. The empty space he leaves behind is so much bigger than his little 7 pound body could ever account for, and somehow so incredibly small compared to the size of his personality.