Pumpkin has returned! Last year when we were apartment hunting in Syracuse we came to the conclusion that none of the apartments on our short-list would accept more than 2 animals. If you are an animal parent, you can understand how difficult it is to re-home one of your little ones. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to never have to weigh that option or make that decision. I know people who have struggled with giving up one of their pets for various reasons: a new or previously undetected allergy; a new baby in the home; a change in the living conditions or environment; an extended hospital stay or chronic condition. No matter the reason, it is a heartbreaking decision. So last year when we were facing the prospect of leaving State College and moving back to NY, we found one of the biggest challenges was deciding which of our little ones would be re-homed and more importantly, whose home? Meg was our savior and you can read about that decision here: “Happy Tuesday”.
I was able to visit him a few times in the past year and every time I saw him he looked better than the last (thanks to Meg discovering his previously undiagnosed diabetes), and was thrilled to have a porch all to himself where he could lay out in the sun. Everything was going really well for Pumpkin and his new family up until the beginning of this year. To get right to the point, he was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is basically a thickening of the left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber of the heart. He was in the hospital for 4 days and Meg and her family were able to provide medical services that we would not have been able to afford, had he been living with us.
The best course of treatment for Pumpkin now is medication, diet and reduced stress. His life expectancy is unknown but greatly shortened. In the course of discussion between Meg and her vet, it seemed to be in Pumpkin’s best interest to return to us, in a smaller environment, one that is a little quieter where he can be kept comfortable. I know he is glad to be home but I know he misses his adopted family. I know they must miss him because since he’s been back, it’s honestly felt like he never left. I can’t imagine him not sleeping on my back every night. I can’t imagine not hearing his “pawing” at the doors and walls when he wants something, or his very particular half meow-half growl when he wants something RIGHT NOW.
The difficult part is not being too neurotic. We get anxious with every strange sight, smell, sound … we constantly talk ourselves down from calling his vet. If, at this point, he develops a concurrent ailment or illness, it wouldn’t be fair to him for us to use drastic measures to “heal” him. We really spoil him at all times – he is OWNING this apartment at the moment. Joey & Riley have been regulated to “animals that could possibly disturb Pumpkin” and are watched and chided frequently. Riley is quick to look apologetic and move along but Joey… well, he’s another story. He is most likely asserting his dominance and probably senses that something is not quite right with Pumpkin, but it is still hard to watch him pounce on Pumpkin, so much thinner and fragile…
We aren’t sure how long we’ll have with him now which makes me profoundly sad – sadder than I thought I would be, facing his mortality every day. We’ve re-homed cats before (Boo to my parents, Lily & Lilo before my surgery in 2007) and we’ve put one down before (Abby, our 3 month old Baby Doll Persian – the most beautiful kitten you’ve ever seen)… but the prospect of letting Pumpkin go, even after his absence over the past year, is kinda terrifying.
In the meantime we take lots of pictures, hold him ALL the time (the scanning project has slowed considerably) and hand feed him turkey whenever he so much as glances at the fridge. We couldn’t be any more thankful and grateful for all that Meg & her family have done for Pumpkin and for us. It’s so good to have him here with us now; he went through a lot to find us in the first place, I guess it’s only right that this will be his last home.
“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms” ~ George Eliot