Tough Way to Start the Day

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My wife and I have a lot of cats. Most everyone knows this. George Carlin once called pets “mini Greek tragedies.” On days like today, I understand what he meant.

In the now-defunct Houston magazine, Houston Metropolitan, there was an article that tried to distill the differences between those of us who live inside Loop 610 or “inside the loop” and those who live in the suburbs or “outside the loop.”

They said caddy things like the favorite opera for inner-loopers was Aida while outer-loopers preferred “Winfrey.” The one that resonated with my wife and I, however, was the pets section.

Outside the Loop: 2 Golden Retreivers
Inside the Loop: 10 leukemia-riddled cats

That about sums it up for us. We often remark that we have a sign on our house only cats can see that reads “SUCKER.”

Well, today is one of those days that you don’t want to face when you own a pet. We’ve had Tessa for six wonderful years. She was a very unique little cat.

We discovered she, her sister (Sara) and her brother in our neighbors garage. Tessa was the fighter protecting her litter mates. She was the last one to be caught. We found a home for her brother and Sara and Tessa came to live with us.

Early on, it was Sara who struggled. The vet termed it “failure to thrive,” but, in reality, it was stress and lack of food. My in-laws took her in and you’d think she was a different cat when she came back. To this day, she is one of the healthiest cats we have.

Tessa did well early on but began to suffer some health issues. Our vet at the time was stumped. For over a year, we looked for an answer to Tessa’s problems. It was clear she had an immune deficiency, but she didn’t have FIV or Leukemia.

After months of research, our vet referred us to Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. If you have a sick animal, they can figure it out. It might mean a second mortgage on your home, but they are the best.

After testing, it was determined that Tessa had a combination of hemo-bartinella, a red blood cell parasite that caused her to become extrordinarily anemic, and a degenerative heart condition. At the time, she was about 3 and she wasn’t expected to live a long time. But, Tessa was tougher than most.

After 2 years, she was doing very well – off all medication and looking better than she had in a long time. But, we knew that any infection could be serious for her which is why we took her to the vet almost immediately after she began to look sick.

Several weeks later, we had to make the agonizing decision to put her to sleep. That was this morning. Just like when we had to make that decision for other animals, it is one of the toughest things a person can do. it is brutal – gutwrenching.

I knew it was the right thing to do for her. She was such a tough little cat, a real fighter and she had fought long and hard against an illness that would have killed other cats years ago. It was time for her to stop struggling.

Tessa was uniquue as I said. It isn’t to say I don’t love all of my pets dearly. I do. But, she has a special place in my heart. I always felt very protective of her just as she was protective of her siblings as a kitten. She had all the qualities I love in people, let alone animals. She was sweet, loving and playful, but she didn’t take any crap off of any of the other cats. She was tough.

I’m really going to miss her. Both my wife and I will. Rest in peace, Miss Tessa. We love you.

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