R.I.P. Scratchy, July 1996 – December 31, 2007

Scratchy, the Super Cat
It is with the deepest sorrow that I write on here today to report the sudden death of my dear feline companion Scratchy. He passed away yesterday afternoon from a heart attack. Unbeknownst to me, Scratchy had developed a heart condition called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a heart muscle disease where the walls of the heart thicken over time, thus limiting the amount of blood that can be processed by the heart. Often, this condition develops with no visible symptoms, as it did in Scratchy’s case. He appeared lively and healthy up until the point of his death. Complicating the heart condition was another condition, of which I was also unaware. Scratchy was born with one kidney that worked at only a small fraction of the level of his other healthy kidney. With only one kidney filtering his blood, he endured an additional strain on his heart, which likely accelerated the effects of the HCM, leading to his sudden death before any symptoms ever appeared.

HCM is a serious condition for cats, often younger or middle-aged ones, with some evidence suggesting that male middle-aged cats are most frequently struck by it. Although there are medications to help treat the illness if it is caught early enough, the prognosis is rarely good, and most cats don’t live past a year or two after diagnosis. There is no known cure, and eventually the cat will suffer heart failure.

I am so thankful that Scratchy did not suffer. He knew very little pain during his full life, and he likely died almost instantaneously. I found him in the tub, where he had most certainly been engaging in one of his very favorite activities: drinking from the faucet.

As those of you who met him know, Scratchy was a very special cat and he touched a lot of people’s lives. He never failed to win over everyone who met him, even the most hardened of non-cat lovers. All he ever wanted was love, and he had plenty to give in return. He was such a sweet boy, so full of life, and he offered his love unconditionally. He will always remain in my heart in a very special place.

If any of you who read this have a memory or anecdote about Scratchy that you would like to share, I would love to hear it. Please either post it here or email it to me.

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  1. so sorry to hear about scratchy’s death. my recollections distinctly revolve around his great curiosity of vegan food–especially observing the cooks in the kitchen. walking all over the dining table, even when shunned for doing so– his perseverance rendered him a fine feline.

  2. :( i’m sorry to read of your loss! hope wherever scratchy is there’s lots of catnip and whatever food he liked best. xo

  3. That does sound very similar to my experience with Alec. And my other one, Olive, also loves the bathtub faucet. Scratchy sounded like a terrific fellow, so I’m glad you two had a good stretch of time together. All my best to Fiznit, I hope she maintains good health for years to come.

  4. I think getting a playmate for Olive was the right thing to do. She and Ivan aren’t quite snuggle-buddies, but they get along fine and provide good company for each other when I’m not home. Their wrestling matches are quite a sight. But Olive was still less than a year old when I brought Ivan home, and I think that makes a big difference. For an older cat like Fiznit, being Queen o’ the Castle can be easier than adapting to a newcomer. You should post some photos of Fiznit.

  1. R.I.P. Fiznit, July 1996 – July 31, 2011 « lost gander


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