Klaus - Happiest Cat on the Planet

Klaus was born in Spring 1991 and passed away on July 11, 2006.

He really was the happiest cat on the planet! Not as often in the last months, but certainly throughout his life he emanated joy and pleasure to the humans in his life. Klaus started out as the runt of the litter. Ira's page tells how we came to share our lives with them.

From the first, when we'd go into the bathroom where they lived with mom, Klaus would tumble out of the nest and run over to us and wail. He always wanted to be seen. Very early on he became quite ill, so bad that I thought he was dying. I took him in to see Dr. Parker who found he was 'blocked', or constipated. They were still nursing on mom at that time, so it was not typical. It was at this point that we decided Klaus needed special attention. They gave him an enema (worrying because they'd never done one on a kitten so small before) and he was prescribed antibiotics, wet cat food and Nutrical. He slept on a heating pad (on low setting) and would crawl under the covers with us at night and sleep between us. I will never forget that day when she (Dr. Parker) asked me if I was sure I wanted to try to save him. Thank God I did!

Klaus was an amazing friend to us both. His favorite things were food and walking in the garden. He walked with me every day the weather was decent and was upset with me for not going out when it was raining. In fact, he'd beg me to open the door on rainy days and sit there scowling outside. He, Bandit, Grace and Ira all hated staying inside in the rain. He would beg Frank for milk every time he went to the coffee pot for a refill. When he knew he had Frank's attention, you could hear him purring across the room while he waited by his little milk saucer.

He always asked for 'dinner' at around 3:00 pm if we were home. He'd wait while it was prepared for everyone and purr all the while. His purr was so loud! He always went outside with me if I went out for a walk or to water. Usually he'd be right behind me. In recent years, he'd taken to coming to me at my desk, sit next to me and talk. I usually was involved in what I was doing and didn't always notice. Eventually he'd put his paws up on my leg and tell me in his sweet little voice we should go for a walk. Which we then did. He could almost always show you what he wanted.

When Frank still worked over at the studio, he'd go with him in the mornings and curl up in the chair right next to him. He would come upstairs with me each night and curl up at the end of the bed, but at 10:00 pm or so, he'd hop down and go next door to bring Frank back. He and Ira traded off on this job periodically.

Klaus loved catnip! I would have to be very diplomatic in the garden when we were having a catnip treat. Of course, there had to be multiple plants and they had to be near enough each other that I could be in one area, yet far enough that the cats wouldn't roll into each other while they were tumbling in their plant. This is because they all considered catnip to be a very interactive treat. They loved to roll in the plants, but also enjoyed having individual leaves plucked from the stems and offered to them. Often I would just pull long stems off the plants and toss them into different spots for them each. Klaus especially loved to have the leaves rubbed on his ears and the top of his head first, then along the sides of his mouth. Then he'd nibble the end of the leaf, usually swallowing the entire thing.

Klaus loved to play! Out in the garden, I'd grab a branch or stick and move it in front of him and he'd become the ferocious black panther and bare his fangs while grabbing with both front paws, claws extended fully. He'd use his back paws to push himself into various positions, best to grab the 'toy'. Of course, he also loved cat-dancer and strings as well.

While our house was being remodeled (or rebuilt) during a time when Frank was under a great pressure, the cabinet maker, Philip, related to me one day how Klaus was looking out for Frank. Apparently, Frank was very angry about something related to the house. He was very heatedly telling off the people working on the house when Klaus walked up to him fearlessly and rubbed around his ankles. According to Philip, Frank reached down, picked up Klaus and nuzzled his nose into Klaus' neck. He greeted him affectionately and then with a completely changed attitude, continued to have an articulate and instructive conversation with the people he'd been angry with a moment before. Klaus was especially important in this capacity, because the others had more trepidation around men and weren't as actively involved with us unless we were alone. Klaus was our guardian angel. We knew it always.

When we were working in Sunnyvale, our greatest pleasure was coming home to the cats on the weekend. Throughout his life, anytime we were away from the house Klaus would greet us at whichever door we were coming in. This was especially endearing during the Sunnyvale years which were a complex time. He was such an affectionate little soul and it's hard to imagine getting through some of the things we've lived if he hadn't been with us.

When I stopped working in Sunnyvale, I started working at home. It was so precious to be involved in a project and look over at the chair or table next to me to find Klaus curled up or washing up. The minute I would get up to do something, he'd be right there with me. That's an amazing kind of love to have and one not to be taken for granted. I told him constantly he was the best black cat in the world and my angel.

Klaus was a generally good cat, although because we had such a clan around, there were territory issues which resulted in some spraying tendencies. Bandit and Klaus were the worst. If caught at it, Klaus would run very quickly across the room, drop down on his side facing you, and purr his loudest as you approached. It was pretty effective, because frankly by the time you got up to him, his purrs had you really either entertained or laughing and usually not angry any longer.

When he was younger, up to about 3 years old, he had recurring episodes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He would stop eating well, eventually stop eating altogether for a couple of days. I'd take him to the vet for fluids, Flagyl and a checkup. We'd come home to a diet of baby food and rice for a few days, often supplemented with Nutrical. After a few days, he'd be in the pink again and back to eating his normal diet - everything! To say Klaus loved food is probably an understatement. Klaus pursued food. He ate very well always, most of his life on a diet of Whiskas wet food and Nature's Recipe dry. Unfortunately, Nature's Recipe changed the formula several years ago and no one liked it any longer. I changed to Iams after trying a few other no-sales and that's where we ultimately ended up. However, cat food wasn't enough for Klaus. He also needed to participate in all our meals, snacks, etc. If we left plates on the table after dinner, he'd hop up and prowl around, licking here and there to see what it was. He wouldn't leave the table until you got right up to him within spanking distance, at which point he'd hop down and run into the kitchen to pull his purring act. Among his favorites were chicken any way, spaghetti sauce, lamb and hamburgers. I'm sure this didn't help his IBS and in the long run contributed to his recurring problems later in his life. But he loved it so!

During his middle years, this condition didn't seem to bother him too much. There would be an occasional light episode, but not too bad. About two and a half years ago, though he started having problems.

It started with an accident in the middle of the rug. I couldn't believe it. He never had this sort of problem. I called the vet to see if I brought in a sample they could test it to see if there was some obvious problem. They didn't find anything. He began to have a pretty serious problem with the runs and ultimately we went in for a checkup. After blood tests and a couple checkups during the next few months, Klaus began to lose weight and had more and more difficulty with food. We put him on a restricted diet of just one food which he seemed to tolerate, although he wasn't happy about not sharing our food. We also used Metronidazole periodically which worked well to bring him back to feeling well enough to eat each time. Unfortunately, he hated being medicated so much that he would avoid being around me and hide when he saw me. It also changed his personality. He just wasn't very happy.

Using these treatments, he was able to eat consistently, if not as well as before, and his health seemed very up and down. Ultimately Dr. Bachman looked at him one day when I felt he was dying and diagnosed a thyroid problem. His blood was tested again and sure enough, there it was. After a couple of days of the thyroid medication along with more Metronidazole, he was like a new cat. Happy, playful and eating very well. He did still suffer from some episodes, but after a few doses of Metronidazole, he'd seem to turn around again. During the summer of 2005, we put him on a daily dose of Metronidazole. He really hated it and became very distant and unhappy. Not the happy cat we had known so long.

Around Christmas time last year, he started to have more difficulty with food and upon another blood test to check the thyroid, his dosage was reduced. We also put him on a great cocktail of meds which included steroids and an anti-diarrhea medication along with the metronidazole. In combination, we altered his diet to something he'd not eaten before. We went first to Rabbit for about 4 weeks, then to Venison. This entire combined treatment worked amazingly well, in fact, he was like a kitten again. Unfortunately, Klaus didn't like the restricted diet and eventually wouldn't eat the 'healthy' foods. I finally found something that seemed to work ok for him and didn't cause too much intestinal trouble. He stayed with that until the end.

Klaus suffered from a very severe spell about 3 weeks ago. He had raided some trash and got some chicken. He never cared what made him sick. During those few days, I happened upon him a couple of times when I really believed he had died. He eventually pulled out of it with a special diet of canned red salmon cooked with brown rice. He also got Nutrical for about a week. Unfortunately, about a week after recovering from that episode, he became very sick again and stopped eating completely. No matter what I tried, he wouldn't take it. I could have taken drastic measures and gotten fluids to give him for a couple of days along with some cocktail of meds, but I just kept thinking about how unhappy he is not getting to eat the foods he loves and how much he hates being medicated. I know he will never be able to eat the foods that make him purr so loudly and he'll suffer from this intestinal problem for the rest of his life. Sadly his reaction to foods has become much worse than it ever was before. I don't want the happiest cat on the planet to live without the pleasures he deserves. He's been the absolute best friend we could have asked for. We decided it was time for us to let him move on to his next life.

Klaus, wherever you are I hope it's with 'people' you can love and that you are able to enjoy your chicken and milk without any tummy problems. You are a beautiful boy and we love you.

My social life has changed so much. With one relatively small degree of change the perception is so dramatically different. Gawd...I can't remember a time without him. It seems like he's been here my whole life... With klaus passing, the void is apparent and immense - the boys are all gone - they drove the food train here - life was so centered on their love and needs. They got us through the most difficult times of our life. Is there some possibility we don't need their angel aid any longer?

When Ira died, my mom brought me a beautiful orchid with wonderful yellow blooms. Amazingly it lasted an extensive amount of time. In fact, I remember telling her how it still had eleven flowers a month ago. Ira's orchid blooms faded by the day klaus died - but there are now two new leaves. Things are so so so different now...

To see Klaus's photo album, click here.

  1. My tributes to →
  2. Kathy, my mother
  3. Foxy
  4. Sam
  5. Grace
  6. George
  7. Klaus
  8. Ira
  9. Virginia

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