Peach Melba Kovalcik died Friday 12 September 2003.

Attached is a picture of him with one of his special handmade mice on his favorite rug taken a couple of months before he died.

We found out early in 2003 that Peach had diabetes. After his brother, Fudge, died in August 2002, Peach started to lose weight. Unfortunately it took several months before the vet was able to diagnose him with diabetes. Since then we were giving him insulin shots. He actually tolerated the insulin shots fairly well, learning to sit on his rug after each meal and get the shot.

We went away to Toronto for Labor Day 2003 and boarded Peach at Highland Animal Hospital as was our custom after he was diagnosed with diabetes. In retrospect, sometime around then he started going downhill and eating less and less. Susan picked up Peach from boarding on Tuesday 2 September. He had good days Tuesday and Wednesday. He was still very much "alpha" cat. For example, when Peanut tried hissing at him, Peach made it clear he would have none of that and gave her a rap with his paw to show that he still was boss. When Rick returned from Toronto late on the evening of Wednesday 3 September, Peach was the only cat to get up to greet him.

Thursday 4 September, Peach stopped eating. We thought he might have picked up a little cold while boarding. After a trip to the vet for some fluids, he started eating a little over the weekend. By Thursday 11 September he really wasn't eating again. Rick fed him about a dozen cat treats by hand that morning. Peach purred while he was eating them. We took him back to the vet to try to find out what was going on. Unfortunately, a series of tests showed a myriad of problems. Besides his diabetes, he was suffering from pancreatitis, a probable abscess of the pancreas, and some heart failure. Treating any of these alone would have been hard enough, but, on top of his diabetes, treating them all was virtually impossible. Rather than put Peach through pain and suffering, we made the difficult decision to put him to sleep on Friday 12 September.

As somone aptly put it, in a sense it was the end of an era.

Peach is at rest with his brother Fudge now. He had a long good life of almost 18 years and we will all miss him dearly.

-Rick, Susan, Oreo Cookie, & Peanut Butter Cup

Special thanks to:

All the people who have called and sent cards and email.

The people at Highland Animal Hospital who took care of Peach and gave him his insulin when we had to board him.

And, last but not least, Dr. Terri Nord, our vet at Framingham Animal Hospital who gives all of our cats the best care.

Memories of Peach:

For most of the time, Fudge and Peach went back and forth being "alpha" cat. Towards the end, Peach was clearly "alpha" cat, even over Cookie and Peanut. (We suspect that Peanut was "alpha cat in training".) Even though he was alpha cat, he was always gentle to his humans. While I have scars from Fudge and Cookie, Peach never did anything to hurt me or anyone else. He was a very even-tempered cat.

When I went with my friend Claire to look at two kittens that were available for adoption from her upstairs neighbor's family, Fudge was the first one to come out and greet us; Peach was hiding in the corner behind something.

Peach was the first to jump on the counter as a kitten. Once Fudge could jump on the counter, he then jumped on the refrigerator, teaching Peach to jump on the refrigerator too.

Peach really liked "people food". He would reach up and try to grab your hand to get what you were eating. Peach would eat almost anything - shrimp, beef, chicken, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream, and even curried rice, bread, and rye crisp. Actually rye crisp and dry cat food have about the same texture, but let's not go there. Once Susan forgot her lunch consisting of a yogurt and a peach in the kitchen and went to work. When she got home the yogurt was still there but the peach was not. She eventually found the peach in the living room wedged up against a table leg half eaten - we assume by Peach. He didn't open the yogurt container though.

Actually Peach really liked to eat cat food too. Peach would purr when he ate most cat food - wet or dry. There was also the time that Peach and Fudge unwrapped, opened, and ate most of a tin of "Best Fishes" cat treats which was wrapped as a Christmas gift for them. I guess they couldn't wait.

Speaking of not waiting, when it was time for dinner Peach would let you know. At about 8 PM each night he would come over and stare at you. If you didn't get the message he would start licking the inside of your arm or something like that.

The one thing we thought Peach would eat but didn't was some Pasta Bolognese which we had left over from a dinner out. This led to the line "No Bolognese!"

When Susan and I were unpacking from our move from Waltham to Newton, we found that Fudge and Peach really loved to play with tissue paper. We eventually started lining cat beds and boxes with tissue paper for them.

Peach also liked to lie on towels and rugs. On our trip to Alaska we bought him a fake mooseskin rug. He also claimed an old green bathroom rug as his own. He especially liked on lie on the spot just inside our family room where the heat pipes ran until the floor.

Peach could be a softie in other ways. Once when Fudge had to spend overnight at the vet, I came home late from a business trip. Peach was spending most of his time in the living room because we were putting the addition on the house in Newton. I went into the living room to say hello to Peach and he grabbed my arm, started grooming me, and wouldn't let me go.

On the rare occasions when we let Fudge and Peach into the bedroom with us, Fudge would usually jump on the bed and want to be right with us (and often annoy us). On the other hand, Peach was happy to just be in the room with us. He would often sit on the clothes hamper we had on the other side of the room. I remember waking up once and shining a flashlight on the hamper to see if Peach was still there. He was and started purring.