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sábado, abril 10, 2010

Cornelius's Journey Home


This is Cornelius. He is ten. Today he left home.

For the past two or three years, Cornelius has had a seizure disorder. He has big, grand mal seizures. Sometimes he has as many as 4 or even 5 in a day. Sometimes he goes for weeks or months without a seizure. But when he has them, the seizures leave him exhausted, hungry, a frequently hurt. When he's having a seizure, he thrashes around unless someone holds him down. This doesn't stop him from seizing or growling or hissing or from peeing involuntarily, but at least it keeps him from being hurt.

We don't know why he has seizures. When he was a younger cat, he was hunting in the barn. Sometime fell over on him and probably pinned him. He was stuck for 4 days. We couldn't find him. But then he returned home. He was skinny and freaked out. We nursed him back to health. Later we discovered that he had lost all feeling in his tail. This led to him occasionally burning his fur on candles or fires. And, we suppose, this was the initial spinal trauma that eventually led to his seizures.

About 5 days ago, after a few week stretch of not having any, his seizures began again. They were fierce. They seemed to go on for a long time. We gave him his medicine. This usually works after a few days. Yesterday, after a series of particularly hard seizures the day before, Cornelius was feeling somewhat better. The seizures had stopped. This morning he even seemed his normal self.

For the past year or so, Cornelius has not gone far from the house. He stays nearby with Maya the Dog and Romey the Cat. They range far into the fields, he doesn't. He usually stays inside or in the yard or on the deck. Mostly, he sleeps on vacant beds.

This morning we were surprised to see Cornelius walking in the field headed away from the house. He hadn't been there in years. Then we lost sight of him as he walked up the hill, walking farther away from the house.

Throughout the day today, we've gone out with the dog to search for him. We call his name. We make the "kitty kitty" noises. We've walked all the fields to call for him. We've driven the car up the road to search. We've emailed the neighbors. We cannot find him. Now it's dark.

There is always a chance that he will turn up, return from wherever he is. He hasn't eaten since this morning. And he hasn't had any medicine today. But tonight I think he won't come back.

I think he's left to find a place to die, to leave his body behind. I think he's finished his earthly journey.

He's been a great friend and companion. We already miss him. May he be well, wherever he might be. May there be many blessings on his journey home.

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