For many people, April and Easter are a time of new life and new beginnings. For me, this time of year is associated with loss.

As noted in my entry of April 30, 2015, my mother and my mother-in-law both died in April (though on different dates and nine years apart). And on Saturday morning of this Easter weekend, we said goodbye to Tony (also referred to in this blog as Albert), one of the two cats we adopted following my mother-in-law's death.

We had known since taking him to our vet for a checkup in 2015 that he was susceptible to heart problems and he did in fact undergo a number of cardiological tests that first summer before we decided we could risk getting him put under long enough to neuter and microchip him. There were no real complications and he seemed to cope well enough with the anesthetic. But the tests indicated one chamber of his heart was slightly enlarged and he had an irregular heartbeat. There was always the possibility that he might suddenly stop breathing, possibly dying in his sleep or even just being here one second, gone the next. But the scenario was suggested as being relatively painless, at least from the cat's point of view. I thought to myself that while I didn't want that to happen, there were certainly worse ways to go!

By the end of summer 2015, he seemed in fine fettle, having progressed from that scared little boy cowering under the china cabinet or on the windowsill to an oft-affectionate (though it had to be on his own terms) purry kneady and needy beast who loved to leap on furniture and people or chase laser pointers across the floor and up the wall. And this weekend, as recently as Friday night, he seemed very much his usual self.

But on Saturday morning, he didn't come running to get his breakfast the way he usually did. In fact, he wasn't in any fit state to run. We heard a yowl and I found him at the bottom of the basement steps. His back legs were paralyzed. Coronary thrombosis. We took him to the veterinary hospital and the prognosis was not good.

Still, we were there with him at the end and we're glad he was part of the family and our lives, although it was for too short a time.

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