Kitteh contest: Kizhe

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.


  1. John A
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Very sad … one of my kitties right now has Lymphoma and Diabetes. While she’s stable for the time being, it’s heartbreaking to know that sooner or later, we will have to go through this as well.

  2. daveau
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Handsome boy, and a heartbreaking story. At least something has been learned that may help others.

    Hello, Farewell. Hello, Farewell.

  3. Matt G
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Wow, he is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen in my life!

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink


      • rmw
        Posted August 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Ditto. He was a stunning boy.

    • articulett
      Posted August 17, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      I agree!

  4. BigBob
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Beautiful, striking eyes.

    • daveau
      Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Blue eyes on a cat are amazing, especially with that seal-point mask.

  5. Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Kot Kizhe! He’s a beautiful kitten, and how fitting that he should contribute to the advancement of science!

  6. Posted August 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear. How often have we all gone through this awful, awful scenario. Sigh. I am, at the moment, blogging through my history of the cats with whom I have shared my life, my laughter, joy, kisses and tears. And theirs.

    I know people who say ‘never again – I couldn’t go through that again’.

    Me? I say, it is part of life and death to love and lose and love again. I couldn’t live without that. I love cats too much to deny both me and them a chance at love and life … and tears.

  7. Marella
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    My beautiful red Burmese “Ginger” died of the ordinary sort of lymphoma. It was awful. The only possible compensation is getting a new kitten which we did.

    Kizhe looks like he was a very intellectual as well as beautiful animal!

  8. CanadianChick
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    He’s one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen! Was he a talkative kitty, as Siamese are known to be? ( I extra ❤ talky cats)

  9. articulett
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I loved the story about he walked towards his rescuer instead of doing the velcro-cling. He was stunning. I wonder how long Kizhe owned Theo Bromine?

  10. Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all for the comments + compliments.

    Articulett: Sadly, Kizhe was with us for only 8 years. (Even a cat’s normal lifespan is damnably short, as far as I am concerned.)

    CanadianChick: Kizhe was indeed very talkative, both in the volume and quantity of his conversations. Alas, my current cat family of 3 does not include any Siamese, and I do miss that distinctive voice (well, maybe not at 3am :). I have more or less come to terms with the fact that my delightfully huge (15lb) rescue tabby of unknown heritage has such a quiet voice that I can barely hear him through a closed door!

    MrPop, daveau, Marella: I hope my ending is as comfortable as we tried to make Kizhe’s, and that my body can be put to medical and/or scientific use when I am done with it. (PSA: for those living in Ontario, Canada you can officially register such intentions online, here: )

    Veronique: Agreed – it is a bittersweet “part of life and death to love and lose and love again” (and theists ask how we can find meaning without gods).

    JohnA: I hope that you and your kitteh can enjoy good times for as long as reasonably possible.

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