Gabriel – Gabe – Gabey

I was in love with orange cats!  So when the opportunity arose, I claimed my orange cat as #4 in our house.  Now – I know you are saying.  This chick already has three cats.  Believe me, my husband was saying the same thing.  But the opportunity for the ‘Orange’ cat was right there in front of our faces.  He knew that if we didn’t get the orange cat now, we’d have to get one eventually.

My parent’s neighbors found a litter of kittens under my parent’s deck and decided to move them to their house and feed momma and her babies.  The kittens were just born, so they fed mom and monitored the babies until they were older.

Gabe’s mom was a nice old girl who looked a little ragged.  This was not her first litter.  She had 6 babies.  Two of them were orange.  Momma was super sweet and let us pet and/or pick up the kittens, but if the kittens screamed, she would come and rip them from our hands and transport them back to her ‘nest’.

Not Squealer…..

Out of the two orange kittens, one was a squealer!  Every time you would pick him up he would scream bloody murder and his momma would come over and scold us for touching him.  I did not like this kitten.  He was a drama king and was sure to cause mischief in whatever home that he got.

The other orange kitten ended up being our Gabe.  He was cute lovable and a good purr box.  We visited them often – but left them with momma as long as the neighbor allowed them to be with her.

We received a call one September evening for us to come get him.  All the kittens were getting out of their box and they lived in a 2nd-floor apartment and she thought they would start tumbling down the stairs or mom would take them somewhere that we could not find them.  The neighbor found each one of the kittens a home and took momma to a barn after being spayed to live out her life chasing mice and being fed regularly.

New baby

Orange kitten with bad eye - less than 2lbs.Gabe came home to our house at six weeks old.  At that point, this was the smallest kitten I had ever had.  He weighed less than 2 pounds.  He became our bathroom cat as we were scared of what the three others would do to him.  We also had been taught about the slow introductions for new cats/kittens, that we had totally ignored for intros with our other three cats.

Bathroom cat too long

I’m not sure if we baby-ed Gabe too long or if we treated him differently than the rest of the kittens when they came to us, but none of the other cats EVER liked Gabe.  Gabe didn’t know the difference as a kitten.  But as he got older he noticed.

Orange cat taking his first bath.

Urinary blockage

Gabe had a urinary blockage at the age of two.  It was my first adult experience with a life or death situation with a pet.  He was a very vocal cat, but I could tell by his cries that this was different.  We rushed him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night and he received the help that he needed.

After we forked over a large sum of money to fix him, his diet changed to Science Diet C/D prescription food.  This also proved problematic because the rest of the household had to switch to this food also.  When Alex was small and the only cat, I would leave dry food out at all times.   Alex learned to graze rather than eat all his food when provided to him.  I would gladly go back and rectify this if I could.  Each additional cat followed suit and thus we have many grazing cats and no real meal time.

Different cat

Prior to the blockage, Gabe started to bite us.  Looking back, his pain was probably present way before the blockage, but we just thought he was becoming mean.  He was only 2 years old, I never expected a problem at his young age.

But after the blockage, Gabe was a different cat.  The other three treated him unfairly for most of his life.  And after several days in the hospital between the emergency vet and the normal vet, he was now mean to Alex, Sam & Nomay.  I didn’t blame him for his attitude.  But he seemed bi-polar – if this can exist in a cat.  His attitude didn’t just extend to the cats, he was bi-polar with us too.

Gabe would jump onto your lap being very affectionate.  He sat very close to your head and would allow you to pet him.  But if you continued petting him over the ‘agreed upon timeframe’, he would turn around and bite your hand.  This was not a slight nibble.  Usually, it was a puncture wound (at least on me) that was so deep that it took a few seconds for the blood to come to the surface.  My hand usually puffed up the next day and was sore for several days.  Luckily, he usually got my hand, but occasionally he got my nose or chin.  I was afraid he would bite my nephews or my friends kid’s when they visited.

Orange kitten looking up to adult gray cat in the sunshine

Immune deficiency

Gabe remained a member of the family, but I trusted him less and less by the number of bites that I got.  Vet visits were always fun.  In the 20 minute ride, he did a complete trifecta, pee, poop, puke.

The last time I had him to the vet for shots(when was 5), they had mentioned something to me about checking him for some immune deficiency.  Gabe had horrible breath since the time he was a kitten.  His gums were horrendous and he seemed to have an inflamed butt hole.  The vet suggested at a future visit I should consider getting him tested to find out what else is going on with him.

Orange & white tabby cat sits awkwardly on chair

His last urinary block

Right before Christmas 2015, Gabe had another urinary block.  He had just turned five in August of that year.  I saw him struggling to pee that evening, but was hoping for him to make it through the night so I could get him to the vet in the morning.  But he woke me up at 3 am, crying from underneath my bed.  I knew he had to go to the emergency vet.  I was bawling my eyes out because I knew that I should make the difficult decision to put him down.  He was relatively good about getting into the carrier.  But when we got to the vet, they had to sedate him to even take a look at him because he was so mean.

Gabe & Sam sit together on cat bed. When Gabe was still a kitten

RIP Gabey – Goo

I decided it was Gabe’s time and he was put to sleep that night/morning.  It was not easy and I regretted it all the next day.  I finally came to accept he was gone and probably much happier without pain, living with a bunch of difficult cats and a special diet.  It was not something I was proud of doing and after later events with Alex, I believe I should have saved Gabe.

I still look back at him as my little bitty orange kitty.  But he was far from it as an adult.  I loved him so much, and yet, he was the biggest pain in the ass cat that I have ever known.  Even now as I write this 2 years later, I’m crying for him…….

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