“Heartbreak is life educating us.” – George Bernard Shaw

Last August our 15-year-old male cat, Kona, stopped eating.  This was a really BIG deal, since Kona normally would eat almost anything. He was always eager to devour his food and usually, more. 

Our local vet was very concerned because Kona’s lab work showed pancreatitis.  They didn’t have the technology to properly assess his situation; however, Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay did. 

This was the start of a 6-months rollercoaster trying to get Kona to gain some weight.  We were fortunate because the team at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists was wonderful.  After an initial 3-day stint at their hospital, he started eating more normally, even though we had to change his diet.  At least once a month we went to Buzzards Bay for a check-up and came back with a new plan. 

All through this process Kona was a sweetheart.  There were some things he really didn’t like (such as his steroid medicine) and we were, most of the time, able to keep him happy and enjoying life.  At one point when he first started on the steroid he jumped on the kitchen counter and tried to steal Rich’s ham sandwich!  Kona was quite a character!

The last two months were very difficult.  We were dedicated to making sure we did everything we could for him, without causing him pain.  During this time, we even canceled a Caribbean Cruise ½ hour before we were to leave for the airport because we didn’t want to cause him any additional stress with us being gone (although he loved his pet sitter, too!).  We’re so glad we had that extra time with him.

One of my favorite places is the beach.  While taking a brisk walk soon after Kona’s death, I was thinking about what a special cat he was and some of the life lessons he taught me.  Here are three of them…

Greet each day with a big purr!

Kona had an amazing purr.  You could often hear it even if he wasn’t in the same room.  He loved to sleep with us and each morning when he woke up, he purred and purred and purred!  What a fantastic way to start the day! 

Ask for hugs!

I confess, we eat our weekday breakfast standing at the kitchen counter watching the birds outside the window.  When I finished my breakfast, Kona would be sitting right behind me.  He would stare at me, even as I moved around the kitchen.  What did he want?  He wanted a hug!  Every morning after my breakfast, I would pick him up, give him a big hug (he was very huggable!) and we would watch the birds together for a few minutes.  If I was in a hurry and forgot our hug, he would follow me around until he got his hug! 

Spend time with those you love!

I can’t tell you how many times I would be working at my desk and turn around surprised to find Kona curled up in a chair, on a pillow or the couch right near me. 

We occasionally would get a rotisserie chicken and I usually was the one to clean the bird.  This was not one of my favorite tasks; however, it was one of the times Kona and I would spend together.  He would sit and watch me do this chore from beginning to end.  When I finished, he was always rewarded with a little taste, which he loved! 

When we were watching TV, he would spend time on my lap, Rich’s lap, or sit right next to us. 

Kona loved being near his people and even his biological cat sister, Hana (even though sometimes she didn’t appreciate him being so close)!  He didn’t have to be entertained or even acknowledged when he was nearby.  He just wanted to be able to spend time with each of us in his special way. 

We were heartbroken to have to say good-bye to Kona and so grateful to have had this wonderful cat in our life for 16-years.  He was a wise, loving cat, who had a lot to share that went far beyond just being our cat.

Helen Kosinski
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