Sometimes we choose our pets and sometimes they choose us. And in the case of our pet cat it certainly was the latter a little over ten years ago. We had gone to a pet shop to take a look around and in the back there were two beautiful kittens vying for our affection, but when a particular Maine Coon Mix let me cradle him like a baby on its back - I immediately knew that this kitten was real special.
This cat had won all our hearts, but especially mine. I must admit, it was quite strange for me since I had never been much of a cat person before then. Yet, this one had worked some magic on me. It wasn't hard coming up with a name for this little guy - he was so cuddly and would look you straight in the eye as he bonded with each one of us - we decided on Schmoozie!
Schmoozie, who was 12 weeks old when we bought him, would be forever by our sides from that day forward. Less than a month after bringing him home we even drove down to Florida with the kitten in tow for a months vacation. Luckily we had rented a nice big house in Kissimmee. He adapted so well that is almost appeared as if Schmooze would even learn to swim in the enclosed pool. What a character he was and that trip just reinforced why we felt he would be right for us. Let me tell you - this was one loving cat.
So loving that when I underwent my quadruple bypass surgery, my wife told me of Schmoozie's nightly vigil at the front door awaiting my return. But it was after I came home, feeling as if I had been run over by a truck, that Schmoozie also somehow knew that his adopted dad was unable to play with him or even get up. Never-the-less, the cat kept me constant company often sleeping between my legs or even on my repaired chest until I was strong enough again. I have to say this too, Schmoozie knew exactly where or where not to lay without adding to my discomfort (and Maine Coon's are not a light breed). Through it all, though, he brightened up my spirits.
After we bought our home in Plainfield we decided to add another pet, however, it was going to be a puppy and we had to wonder how the two animals would get along. After all, Schmoozie was still the king of his realm. After whacking the playful pup on her snout a few times - the two became good companions although Schmoozie was still the boss. What a cat! Life was normal around here and even though the cat was slowing down due to some arthritis he was otherwise healthy.
Yesterday, though, we noticed that the cat's ear was drooping strangely while we were in the yard. After taking a closer look we discovered he had a fluid sac built up on the inner flap of his left ear. Naturally we called the vet immediately and she later lanced it to remove the fluid. We were told that it looked like a hematoma and that it was a fairly normal occurrence in cats and dogs. We were told to keep an eye on him and in the event any more fluid built up - we were supplied with some extra needles. After Schmoozie got back home he was his usual lovable self and rubbed up against my leg to tell me he was okay. Later on he ate and we thought all was good.
At about 3AM we were awoken by a loud cry and found Schmoozie by his favorite spot under the bedroom window. He had a glazed faraway look and was gasping for air. I saw more fluid coming from his ear, but, there was also fluid coming from his mouth and nose so I knew this wasn't good. I tried to comfort him the best I could while my wife was calling the vet, but his tiny tongue had now begun to show. As I stroked him gently he gave me one last look, stretched his body and died in my arms.
Although our veterinarian did not get back to us fast enough, there really wasn't anything we could do but give comfort to our beloved cat in his last hour. Once the vet called back she was bewildered at the suddenness of the event since these hematoma's are not fatal according to her. All we could surmise is that our cat had suffered a stroke or a heart attack.
The reason I write this is twofold; first we need to always remember that our animals cannot talk and that we should pay attention to any changes or sudden conditions. Although we reacted properly, I suppose the stress and/or an underlying condition could not prevent our loss. So please, keep paying attention to your pets just the same. Second and equally as important - the sudden passing of ones pet is very traumatic and can leave you in absolute and utter shock. So it is really important for us get that off our chests in some way. The need to talk it out and reflect on what a pet meant to you is absolutely essential for your sanity.
And yes it is okay to cry because they are a part of your immediate family. I must admit that I too have cried today and am not ashamed of saying so. Hopefully you will understand it if I take a few days off from posting to my blog.
I just feel spent. Sorry.