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August 26, 1996


But I'll start at the beginning.

After the kids were dropped off at school, I picked up some groceries and a can of _Sheba_ as our 5 year old cat was off his feed. He was out of sight, but never leaves the patio, so as I was carrying milk up the steps, I stopped at the picnic table to open the Sheba package and call, "Kitty!" There was a bit of a faint response, and it took several calls before I could tell that he was mewing in the darkroom. At the time I thought it was strange that he didn't come. He always comes when he's called.

After a quick cuddle, I carried him to the picnic table and placed him near the food. He was disinterested.

He took a step, totally ignored the food and flopped over on his side, meowing fiercely, then rolled over to lie on his stomach. I picked up the milk about to carry it in, then saw his eyes. One was dilated. One was not. I left the milk (and the rest of the groceries) right there on the steps and carried him to the car, not even going inside for the cat carrier.

He meowed fiercely, almost yelled, then fell silent, panting in the car for the duration the few minutes to the vet's. The vet took him in, suggesting a probable ear infection, maybe inner ear.

Several hours later, after work and before carpool I called the vet. The dreaded diagnosis was Canine Leukemia. Did I want to come in at 5 and have a chat with the vet about our options?

Immediately I hit the website at Cornell University and found out the disease is the equivilent of feline aids. Armed with half a dozen pages of research and my 15 year old son (whose cat it is) for moral support, I approached the appointment with the vet, certain she would suggest euthanasia.

Instead, we got to bring him home. We have no clue how long he'll be with us. Apparently he is no danger to humans or dogs. As long as he is comfortable, the vet is willing to treat the symptoms.

Kitty's prognosis was excellent . . . until we were leaving. He had the excellent timing to have a seizure in front of the vet. She came running through the office with a shot of valium and a package of phenobarbytal to medicate his seizures for the next month.

So now we have the challenge of medicating Kitty, on top of challenge of keeping a pair of curious young basenjis away from our doped up sickly, vulnerable feline, as well as Raffi away from Gambi during her first heat here, while keeping ALL of the animals inside. The children have been crying as if he were already gone, the dogs know something is up, and there is a general aura of gloom about, punctuated by the occasional randy basenji hurtling thru the hallway.