I hope you are running free and enjoying health and happiness in paradise! Helping you to the Rainbow Bridge was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have loved you since the day you reached out your paw to me at Petsmart.
December 26, 2001 I went with the Pottingers and Prices to Petsmart to pick out a new kitty. It was their Christmas present to me. You are and always will be the best Christmas present I have ever received! I walked through the kennels looking at all the kitties. You were near the end of the row. As I approached your kennel you reached out your paw to me. Although Jennifer was hoping I would choose the black kitty because he reminded us of a kitty we shared in college, I knew you were the kitty that would become part of my family. You had chosen me.
I thought you were the sweetest thing. When we got home, the sweet little kitty went shooting out of the carrier and ran crazy throughout the apartment. I was so surprised I called you crackerjack. You know, as in the surprise you find in the box. CJ would become your name.
Little did I know how much joy you would provide me. You became pals with brofur Cosmo and you two would spend many years watching bird tv, chasing each other through the home, grooming each other and fighting for nap time on my lap. You both were great lap kitties!
And then disaster struck... February 23, 2012 a devastating fire ripped through our home. I wasn't there to get you and Cosmo safely out. Brofur Cosmo never made it out but miraculously you did. I have no idea how you made it out but I do know that a neighbor found you and she lovingly cared for you until I arrived home. She and her husband provided life saving CPR and oxygen to you until you were stable enough to go to the emergency vet. They gave me a carrier to put you in since ours was lost in the fire. I drove as fast as I could to the emergency vet where they asked me the hardest question I would ever face... Did I want to save you? My answer was yes! It was the best decision of my life and I hope you agree. You were so courageous during your recovery. You were burned badly but yet were so sweet to the vet staff who nursed you back to health. You purred for me every time I came to visit, reassuring me you would be okay. When I took you to our new home I couldn't be happier that someone cared enough to save your life and you would be there for me during such a difficult time.
I struggled after the fire. I struggled with losing Cosmo, with losing everything I owned, with losing the feeling of safety. But I had you. Your loving purrs and head butts helped me heal.
When you became sick earlier this year I cried. I couldn't stand the thought of you hurting. You had already been through so much. You weren't a young kitty anymore and I feared I would lose you. When I learned it was your thyroid I was a bit relieved because that was something we could treat. I got help from a lot of your pals so I could get you I-131 treatment for your thyroid. It was the gold standard of treatment for the thyroid. It was rare for the treatment to not work but for some reason it didn't work for you. And then you developed a sneeze. A sneeze isn't that big of a deal but yours wouldn't go away and that worried me. We tried several different medications. Each one helped for a few days and gave me hope you would recover. But the sneeze would return until eventually it became a serious infection. You became feverish and no longer wanted to eat. I was so scared I would lose you and I didn't want you to feel so bad. You looked miserable but yet you still purred, still spent time socializing with me. I wasn't ready to give up on you if there was a chance you could get better. I began syringe feeding and providing fluids for you at home so I didn't have to take you to the vet for that. To my shock and surprise you started eating again on your own. I was so happy. I thought that meant you were turning the corner and were on your way to recovery!
But then your eye started bothering you. The third eyelid became protruded. I knew that wasn't a good sign. We started you on meds for the eye but it didn't get better. Your sneeze that had mercifully disappeared for a few days was back with a vengeance. Although you were eating, I knew you weren't feeling good. I looked in your eyes and saw the pain. You laid your head down in my lap and sighed. I knew it was time to let you go. I pulled you up to sit on my chest so I could look in your eyes. I made a promise to you that if there was nothing else I could do to help you recover and it was time to go to the Rainbow Bridge I would help you. You stayed in bed with me for most of the night rather than go sleep in your favorite bed. I appreciated that because I knew it would be the last night we'd spend together.
When morning came you didn't care for any food although you did eat a few bites. I think you did that for me. You didn't need to sweet boy, but you did. Then you went to the deck door so I let you out. You spent time out on the deck enjoying the nice weather and watching the birds. When it was time to go to the vet you didn't want to go in to the carrier. I think you knew it was the last time you would go in to it and it broke my heart to put you in it.
Off we went to the vet. You meowed as you usually did in the car. You never liked car rides. But then you laid down and rested your head the remainder of the trip. I began to cry because I knew we were about to say goodbye. When we arrived at the vet we learned what I had feared. Your eye was dead, the infection had damaged it and was ravaging your body. You had lost so much weight and were very weak. The vet asked me what I wanted to do. I cried and said it was time to end your pain. He agreed and said it was the compassionate thing to do. It was obvious the infection wasn't going away despite our efforts.
You meowed a few times but then climbed on to my arm. As the sedative began to take effect you wrapped your paws around my arm and laid your head down against my side. I couldn't stop crying but I fulfilled my promise to end your pain and told you it was okay to let go. I'm glad I got to say goodbye and that you hugged me as you took your last breath. When I last looked at you I no longer saw a sick kitty. I saw a beautiful boy. You gave me so much joy for so many years! Your courageous story of surviving that horrible fire touched so many lives. You were such a symbol of strength and courage! RIP sweet boy! Run free CJ!