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Mark’s beloved cat Charley died yesterday night at the age of fourteen. Charley, whom I referred to more often as Little Puss, was being seen by his vet at the time of death. For the past few weeks we had noticed Charley’s intake of water increase. He would lap up three bowls daily and even knocked over the watering can to get at the contents. We knew something was up because we had never seen Charley drink so much before. Over the past couple of days he had also stopped eating much at all, and come dinnertime wouldn’t get excited about a bowl full of new food. I last saw Charley when I said goodbye to him on Monday morning. He was listless, lying on the carpet by the front door. I urged Mark to take him to the vet before he left on a short trip down east, and yesterday Mark brought Charley in to an early morning vet appointment. All seemed well enough, and Charley was on an IV, staying overnight. Yet in the early evening Charley experienced a shortness of breath while under the vet’s care. Charley took a turn for the worse and died suddenly, without any prior warning.

Mark and I visited the vet first thing this morning and got to listen to the story about Charley last night and also had an opportunity to ask plenty of questions. Blood tests showed that Charley suffered kidney trouble (which was a cause for his constant thirst and thus the IV), diabetes, as well as heart trouble. It was his heart that probably failed him first, as heart trouble in cats is so hard to detect. Cats could be suffering from heart ailments without even a vet knowing.

Charley could very well have died at home had he not been under the vet’s care. What would Mark have done had Charley suddenly stopped breathing and died? I would have panicked and tried to find an emergency clinic, racing there with my lifeless cat in my arms. At least Charley was being observed at the time of his death, so at the time when he needed expert care the most, he had it. The vet tried to resuscitate Charley, which is what we could never have done no matter how fast we raced to an emergency clinic. The vet let us see Charley. I will miss the ice cream fiend Little Puss, who loved to scratch his claws on Mark’s suede slippers.

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