More than seven years ago, I was at the Berlin pound to pick out a few adult cats to put into Helping Paws care. As I walked back and forth making my choices, a tiny, gray paw kept batting at me as I passed one cage.
More than seven years ago, I was at the Berlin pound to pick out a few adult cats to put into Helping Paws care. As I walked back and forth making my choices, a tiny, gray paw kept batting at me as I passed one cage. The cat belonging to that paw was a scrawny six-week-old kitten that had come to the pound with no mother or siblings. I usually do not take kittens from city shelters because it’s easier for them to get homes, but this one looked like he really needed some extra TLC. I decided to put him into Helping Paws and adopt him out after I fattened him up.
Exactly 24 hours later, the little blue kitten came down with coleci. It was one of the worst cases my vets had seen in a long time. More than five weeks went by before he was well enough to be picked up. The bill was almost $1,000, and my husband and I could not let Helping Paws pay that kind of money for one kitten. We scraped up the money to pay the bill and adopted the kitten ourselves. I figured he had some good karma the day I was at the pound — he most likely would have died if we had not brought him home. And so he became Karma.
Karma’s gentle soul made him the perfect cat. He was a handsome cat with a shiny coat — the only nonblue spot on him was where the IV had stayed in his little leg for more than a month.
Karma’s favorite time of the day was breakfast. He sat quietly at the corner of the table and knew everyone would leave him some egg on their plate. As my girls got older and left the nest and I started working longer hours, Karma and my husband shared the breakfast ritual every day.
When Karma was about 4 years old, he dropped weight drastically. He was having trouble eating and was in obvious pain, so I was fairly certain there was an infected tooth somewhere. He had two teeth that needed to be pulled. It did not take him long to get back to his nice, healthy 9 pounds.
About two years ago, my husband found Karma face down on the floor. The vet on emergency duty recognized the symptoms of meningitis. Clint let him treat it aggressively. The medicine worked almost immediately, and in a few weeks, Karma made a full recovery.
Karma celebrated his seventh birthday in July of this year, and during his yearly visit to the vet, it was discovered Karma had a few more infected teeth. We made an appointment for early August for his dental work.
My husband dropped him off in the morning. Two hours later, I got a call at work. Karma had died. He had his two teeth pulled and woke up just fine. But 20 minutes later, he was gone. There was no reason they could give me. I was in total shock. He lived through coleci and meningitis — how could we lose him during a simple dental surgery?
We do everything right for our pets. They get all their vaccinations and a yearly exam. We do not let them outside, except in a protected environment; we do not let them get fleas; we keep their nails trimmed and ears clean. And this happens? I was sad and angry and trying to figure out what I had done to warrant losing Karma.
Then a friend said something. She said if I had died in a car accident that morning, it would not have been because of anything Karma might have done. I would have died because it was my life, my karma and my time to leave. So, it wasn’t anything I had or had not done to cause Karma’s death — it was Karma’s life, Karma’s time and Karma’s karma. It didn’t make my heart hurt less, but it did help. A little. But breakfast has never been the same for us.
Contact Rene Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.