My heart's breaking while his is failing.
Life is hard, coping with potential pet loss 121912 SPEAKINGOUT 1 Capital City Weekly My heart's breaking while his is failing.

Photo By Sarah Day

Phantom sits a basket of laundry in a closet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Story last updated at 12/19/2012 - 3:22 pm

Life is hard, coping with potential pet loss

My heart's breaking while his is failing.

Two week's ago was one of the most difficult week's I've ever experienced so far. I consider myself fortunate in that also, because it means most of my life has been fairly free of grief and disaster... until recently.

I am a cat lover. I have three. Phantom is three. He's spunky, a bit of a rebel and always wants to be a part of whatever I'm doing. He'll sit in the laundry basket while I'm doing laundry, sit in the suitcase before and after a trip, sit on top of the covered garbage can while I bake (he knows counters are a no-no), play fetch (seriously, like a dog), and shred toilet paper. Snickers is about eight and is a snuggler and mouser. Kenny is at least 11 and is happy to snuggle in bed, take lots of naps and enjoy many pettings.

I know pets, as all things do, die. I have been preparing myself for Kenny to start declining in health, as he is showing signs of his age. I

I never expected to take the 3-year-old to the vet and find out the reason he was losing weight, breathing heavily, not eating and lacking his normal spunk was because he has heart disease. His chest is so full of fluid his heart can't be seen on an X-ray, and if it were to be manually drained it'd just come right back.

After medications, his spunk has come back but basically he'll have to be on meds the rest of his life and will probably be taking short breaths for the rest of it as well. Which means no more super excitement for the little guy. It's been a hard concept to deal with - a cat, practically a kitten, so seriously ill. The day I took him to the vet two weeks ago, I was told he could crash that night.

I called my mom, bawling. I've never had to deal with this kind of thing before.

We decided trying medication to see if it helped him would be the best route, given the expense at testing something that can't be fixed. Expense wouldn't be as big of a deal if fire hadn't struck my life the month before, but still, one has to weigh the benefits of spending a lot of money on a loved one, when the end result is expected to be the same either way.

I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life. I expect, in years to come, I will cry harder when other life moments come to pass.

Phantom's my baby. I've loved all of my pets over the years, two dogs, and numerous cats in the family. And it's been sad each time they have passed. But Phantom is different. I picked him out as a kitten. He's the only pet I've raised from his tiniest stage of life. I always expected him to be with me the longest. Maybe he still will be, I'm told pets with congestive heart failure can live for years while being treated.

This has been a hard pill to swallow, so to speak. It's amazing how such small creatures, who can only communicate with us in gestures, purr's and meows, can come to mean so much.

So I will cherish whatever time I have left with him, and hope that it will be measured in years.

Sarah Day is the editor of Capital City Weekly. She can be reached at sarah.day@capweek.com.