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Norwich Bulletin - 11/11/2007

Itís All About Karma

It was over seven years ago that I was at the Berlin Pound to pick out a few adult cats to put into Helping Paws care. As I walked back and forth making my choices, a tiny little gray paw kept batting at me as I passed a particular cage. The cat belonging to that paw was a scrawny, little six week old kitten who had come to the pound with no mother or siblings.

I usually do not take kittens from the city shelters because itís easier for them to get homes, but this one looked like he really needed some extra TLC. So I decided to put him into Helping Paws and adopt him out after I fattened him up a bit.

Exactly twenty-four hours later, the little blue kitten came down with Coleci. It was one of the worst cases my vets had seen in a long time and there were times it was uncertain that he would live. Over five weeks went by before he was well enough to be picked up. With a bill of almost $1,000, my husband and I could not let Helping Paws pay that kind of money out for one kitten.

Additionally, we didnít know if he would actually be strong enough to grow up. So we personally scraped up the money to pay the bill, and adopted the kitten ourselves. I figured he had some good karma the day I was at the Berlin pound, because he most likely would have died if we had not brought him home. And so his name became Karma.

Karmaís gentle soul made him the perfect cat. He was always polite, never started anything with the other cats, always used his litter, and enjoyed his pets without being overly demanding like some of our kitties tend to be.

He really liked my youngest daughter and, in fact, she even entered him in the Household pet kitten class at quite a few cat shows. He was a very handsome cat with a shiny coat Ė the only non-blue spot on him was where the IV had stayed in his little leg for over a month.

Karmaís favorite time of the day was breakfast. He was very patient and very considerate of his humans. He sat quietly at the corner of the table because he knew that every person in the family would leave him some egg on their plate.

As my girls got older and left the nest and I started working longer hours, Karma and my husband shared the breakfast ritual every day. That egg made Karma feel special. Each one of our cats needs something that sets them apart from the others and lets them know that we are glad they live with us. For Karma, it was breakfast.

When Karma was about four years old, he dropped weight drastically. He was having trouble eating, and in obvious pain, so I was fairly certain there was an infected tooth somewhere. He was about due for his yearly checkup, so we took him in early and found out that he did indeed have two teeth that needed to be pulled. He got his teeth cleaned, his infected teeth pulled, and started eating as soon as he got home. It did not take him long to get back to his nice healthy nine pounds.

About two years ago, while I was away, my husband found Karma face down on the floor and he looked as if he was leaving this world. He was rushed to our vet and it happened that the vet that was on emergency duty that night recognized all the symptoms of Meningitis!

He had seen it before and the way that Karma had been laying when he was found, seemed to confirm it in his mind. He asked Clint for permission to take the chance and treat him aggressively for this. Of course the answer was yes as Karma was dying and it was the only chance he had.

Karma did not die. The medicine worked almost immediately and in a few weeks Karma was back home. We were told that he might have a little brain damage due to the infection, but we didnít care. It turned out that he made a complete and full recovery and there were no residuals to his illness. At least that is what we thought at the time.

Karma celebrated his seventh birthday in July of this year, and it was once again time for his yearly visit to the vet. We always take our cat for their well cat visits, whether they need immunizations or not. We have their teeth checked too because we know how important it is to keep our catsí teeth clean and in good working order.

During the exam, it was discovered that Karma had a few more infected teeth and needed another cleaning. Even though we feed premium food, sometimes there are genetic mouth problems. Since we had Karma as a kitten, we were fairly certain that was the case with him. We made the appointment to bring him back early in August for his dental work.

My husband dropped him off in the morning. Two hours later I got a call at work. Karma had died. I was in total shock. I do not allow my cats to be put under normal anesthesia Ė I gladly pay the extra fee to have them use ISO because there are less complications. Karma had been neutered and had his teeth done before with no complications. I was told that he had his two teeth pulled and he woke up just fine.

But twenty minutes later he was gone. And, unfortunately, there was no reason that they could give me except to tell me that it just happens sometimes. All I knew at that point was that our gentle Karma was gone. He lived through Coleci and Meningitis Ė how could we lose him during a simple dental surgery?

We do everything right for our pets. They get all of their vaccinations and a yearly exam. They eat the best foods, have lots of beds, cat furniture and toys. We do not let them outside, except in a protected environment, we do not let them get fleas or matter fur, and we keep their nails trimmed and ears clean.

We make sure they have healthy bodies and healthy teeth. And this happens? I was so sad and angry and just trying to figure out what in the world I had done to warrant losing Karma. And then a friend said something that made me stop and think. She said that if I had gotten into a car accident that morning and died suddenly, it would not have been because of anything Karma might have done.

I would have died because it was my life, my karma and my time to leave. So, it wasnít anything that I had or had not done to case Karmaís death Ė it was Karmaís life, Karmaís time and Karmaís karma. It didnít make my heart hurt less, but it did help. A little. But breakfast has never been the same for us.

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