The Word from Toni

WAS: “CALL ME the minute you get to work.”

When I did, she told me, “Siamon’s gone.”

The floor dropped out. I said something stupid.

From Toni:

Siamon was our 8 month old Siamese mix that I loved so dearly and my heart is broken. His breathing seemed rapid last night and I called my boss, at home. No other symptoms. Gums were a little pale but he was alert and ate dinner and curled up and purred as usual. Doctor and I decided that I’d bring him in this morning for a check up. When I went to bed, he crawled up on me like every other night and purred me to sleep.

I took him out to our G******** Road office bright and early and his breathing had gotten worse. Still, no other symptoms. Temp of 103.2 which is not, as cats go, sky high. No sneezing. No open mouth breathing. No mouth ulcers. I was to put him in a cage and they would do a chest x-ray and blood work while I went to my doctor appointment. I took Siamon back to his cage, near the surgery and diagnostic area, and he had a seizure as I was holding him. I screamed for Doctor, and Siamon was gone before he had walked from the pharmacy area. 5 seconds tops.

My heart is broken. I know that you understand.

We were worried. He was breathing funny last night, as though in some distress. No complaint, otherwise fine, just… breathing funny.

Toni took him to the Animal Hospital Main Branch (the mothership to the little shuttle clinic she manages closer to home), where she met Dr. Shirley-you-jest. A quick check. A decision to keep him in the hospital for observation and tests. Toni had doctor appointments of her own to attend to, so she took him back in the kennel to put him in a cage.

Before she could even close the door, he siezed and died. That quick.

We doubt it was a pathogen or environmental. Autopsy revealed he had atrophied lungs — probably genetic. His chest cavity was filled with fluids — the proximate cause of his distress — but the size of his lungs would have done for him sooner or later.

Toni is devastated. Siamon was her kitteh. Hung out on her chest while we watched TV — the way Rommie does with me. He also slept on her desk chair in the office and with her in bed. He was the youngest of our juvenile crew, sure to be, we assumed, the last to go.

We thought sure he’d be with us for years to come.

Gone.

Some memories of the boy.

He was the last to arrive of the current four kittehs in residence at Casa d’Alger. It is symptomatic of his nice-guyness that he fit right in. Rommie, the closest in age and size, became the sister he never knew he lacked. The two of them got along famously.

But what we noticed about him right away was his relaxed attitude. He slept famously, in boneless postures that must have had even the cats remarking on his absolute lack of tension. He was equanimity itself. I don’t recall him ever appearing to get uptight about anything. Not that he was a pushover — far from it. When he was a pound lighter than Rommie, (at 3#, that’s a significant weight advantage to be giving away), he gave as good as he got in their little chaffering sessions. I only wish… I was looking forward to years of watching them, catching them with my camera. Even when he played, it was with a footloose style, as here, that registered his joy in just moving his body. Whatever was going on in that head, the intelligence that controlled it was enjoying the hell out of life.

This sequence is unique for having been shot in natural light — pouring in the front door and across the floor of the study. That’s another thing I was looking forward to — being able to take pictures of him again in natural light come spring.

We never expected… We thought that it would be ten years at least before we had to do this again.

“The parent is not supposed to outlive the children.” It only slightly applies, here, but expresses the feeling.

Goodbye, little guy. Gone too soon, long remembered.
Requiescas in pacem.

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