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Archive for January, 2013

A Stray

Before I begin, I’d like to extend my condolences to writer Neil Gaiman who lost what I can only imagine was a part of himself.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a friend. Things happen too quickly. Suddenly there isn’t any time left for chasing string, or lying against fur warmed by sunlight. Not five days ago, our cat Artemis was nipping at our toes in bed, batting playfully until we roused to give him attention. Now he lies languidly on our futon, his abdomen swollen with pain, barely eating more than a handful of food a day.

He always had a little temper, a wild streak, and some people called him mean; I maintain that he’s just a good judge of character. He never asks for much, takes care of himself for the most part, enjoying small pleasures like cuddling up next to me while I write or sprawling himself on a chair so that no one else has room to sit. We found him wandering our university campus four years ago, the day before we were going to move into our first apartment. As I’m extremely allergic to cat dander, I’d been intending on buying my boyfriend a hypoallergenic kitten. He was in love with the idea of having a cat to call his own, and I was determined to surprise him with the best house-warming gift ever. But when he brought me to see a little stray kitten swaddled in a blanket, I couldn’t say no. Even if the first thing the kitten did was bite my finger.

We brought him to the vet within the week, and he was diagnosed with feline leukemia, an immune suppressing virus that is common in strays. We were told we’d be lucky if he lived for three years… we got four… and I’m hoping we can get a little luckier.

He’s never had other health issues in the past, and it would seem that further treatment might only prolong his life for a short while. Even then, our finances can’t support that kind of medical commitment. The diagnosis is only an educated guess based on an extremely elevated lymphocyte count in his blood, which leads them to believe he’s developed lymphatic leukemia. We’re still waiting on pathology results to confirm.

The waiting is almost unbearable, knowing that even if the cells are benign, there is little we can do to help him other than making him more comfortable. The vet told us the prognosis isn’t good either way. Needing to do something, I got out of the apartment and walked the streets, wandering into pet stores and shops, looking for something that might be useful. But after reading this post on my phone, I cried a little and walked back home.

Until Monday’s results come, I’ll sit next to him and sing and stroke his head, it seems to sooth him a little. It never did bother him that I have a terrible singing voice.

Artemis

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If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing it badly.

When we make mistakes, we learn from them. When things go wrong, we remain resolute. When faced with certain failure, we still try… not because we wish to define ourselves by our success, but because we wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t. We’re defined by the things we do, by the risks we take and by the places we end up in because of it.

Cheers to everything that will go wrong this year, because if nothing goes the way I’d expected, I’ll know I’m finally doing something right.

 Calvin and Hobbes - Snow Days

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