Reader Theo Bromine, who writes for the Ottawa website of the Center for Inquiry, sent a story and photos of her Siamese cat Kizhe. Sadly, Kizhe is no longer with us, but let this post be a memorial to him.
Kizhe was our 7th cat (consecutively), and our 4th simultaneous Siamese. He was named after a mythical Russian soldier (see here, purportedly invented when the Czar misread “pod poruchiki zhe” (the lieutenants,however) as “pod poruchik Kizhe” (Lieutenant Kizhe.). Kizhe was assertive, but not aggressive, though he did have a tendency to bite holes in things (including a can of ginger ale, and a waterbed). Like all Siamese, he loved to climb, and occasionally got himself to heights that were difficult to get down from – he was the only cat I have ever met who actually went towards a human who was trying to rescue him from a precarious situation (instead of the more common response of turning around and engaging velcro mode).
Alas, early in 2009, we noticed a small lump on Kizhe’s flank. Its etiology defied all attempts at diagnosis (including consultations on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific), showing some attributes of cancer and some of infection, but testing negative for all. Despite surgery and treatment with various drugs, Kizhe’s condition continued to worsen. We decided to give him a peaceful end to his life, and he was euthanized at home in September 2009.
We readily agreed to the vet’s request to do a post mortem and additional research. It turned out that Kizhe had a very rare form of lymphoma, and the case has since been written up in a veterinary journal. Sad that he is gone, but he has left a legacy of contribution to science.
Kizhe spent most of his time during his last days on his favorite chair in our sunroom, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the backyard.