It turned out that Neko has thickening of his heart muscle from the most common feline heart disease called hypertrophic myocardiopathy. It's difficult to diagnose since cats are usually asymptomatic until the disease is progressed and they get fluid in their lungs or a blood clot that can paralyze their hind quarters. There is a part of me that questions things I could've done to have prevented this, but no matter what this time always has to come and even though he was only 3 years old, he had a fun, happy, active, loving life and never had to suffer or get sick. He had a big heart and loved me so much. We had a really tight bond. He slept next to my pillow every night, sometimes pawing at my nose so that he could sleep on it. The hardest parts for me have been waking up every day without him. He always knew the second I woke up and if he wasn't already next to me, he was head-butting me within seconds.
Neko was my special little guy. He was my favorite. I feel like the one positive thing that may come from this is that Lilly and I have a chance to form a closer bond. She's starting to notice he's not around and I'm sad that I find myself comparing her to Neko, as their size, demeanor and personalities are so wildly different. Sometimes it's comforting to have her around and other times it just makes it more obvious that Neko is gone.
On the eve of his death, I came home from my neighbor's to pet Lilly before going back and twice I found the little toy that Neko and I had played fetch with the night before, sitting in the middle of the couch. Then once again the next day when I came home from picking up his remains, it sat there on the couch. I feel like that was his last little goodbye.
So, I'm posting one of the last pictures I took of him giving me such joy as he did daily. I can't count the times that I looked at him and just felt my heart swell full of love for him and really appreciate having him as my companion. He was hilarious and unique and so, so full of personality.
If anyone had planned to come and see me during the Decatur Arts Festival, I will not be setting up on Saturday and am going to see how I feel about Sunday. It's just so soon and though it could be a good distraction, I'm physically weak and exhausted from not really being able to eat and I am not far enough removed that I can tell people why I'm not peppy without bursting into tears.