It's almost two weeks now since we had to put our beloved Kona to sleep. We had taken him to the vet since his breathing had become shallow and labored and he didn't seem to have the same energy he usually had: he had almost stopped greeting me at the door and he had long since stopped waking us up at 4:30 like a gray-furred alarm clock. So we thought, "We'll just have him looked at and get some meds or something, then take him home and go out to the diner." So much for the plans.
Congestive heart failure was the final diagnosis. The vet was very nice, but very matter-of-fact when she came to show us the x-rays. "It isn't good news," she said. It would have been possible -- just possible -- to keep him alive a while longer after who knows how many "extraordinary measures"...
And so we made the decision.
When our previous cat, Mehitabel, passed I remember being surprised at how much I missed her. And she had really been Chris's cat for 20 years. But Kona was ours. We had driven him home from Hoboken, from the family who could no longer keep him because their little boy was allergic and they were expecting a new baby. We had watched and waited while he grew accustomed to the new surroundings and the new humans and were ecstatic when he finally started approaching us to be scratched or petted or to curl up in our laps to nap or watch TV with us.
I'm still not entirely used to being able to open the apartment door without having to worry that he'll dart out into the hall and down the stairs. I miss saying "Hey, you!" by way of greeting when I come home at the end of the day. I still get a little teary thinking about him. How close we become to these little critters -- more than pets, they become friends, confidantes.
I suspect he's still with us somehow. Somewhere. But oh, how attached we become.