• Rachel Sitarz

"The bonds of love never die.”... a Tribute to our late cat, Gus.

The thing to know about me is that I love animals. We have a house full of animals and I would not change a thing about that.

June 30th, 2020, was a horrible evening that I will never forget. Our nearly one year old Maine Coon cat, Gus, was sitting peacefully on my lap after dinner. He was purring and cuddled up, as I watched tv. I was petting his little belly and telling him how much I love him. When suddenly, he did what I thought was just a stretch. Following that moment, he began to shake and seize up. After a second, his whole body went limp. I started screaming his name... GUS! GUS!! No idea what was happening, I grabbed his limp body, my car keys and began racing to our vet. I called them in hysterics saying something happened to Gus. It took me 5 minutes to get there, but it felt like a lifetime. All the while, I had the air conditioning on full blast, and repeatedly trying to call my husband and mom.

When I arrived at VCA, they were outside waiting for me. They grabbed Gus and ran off with him. The next 30 minutes or so felt like an eternity. I sat there sobbing, shaking, unsure what was going on. After a bit, the emergency vet came out to tell me that Gus did not make it. They couldn't get his heart to start. They performed CPR, and gave him epinephrine but he was gone. They brought his body to us, in a room, and let us have our time with our precious baby boy. I just could not, and quite honestly still cannot understand how or why this happened. She explained that Maine coons have a high rate of HCM (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and that he had a fatal arrhythmia from that. How does he go from perfectly fine one moment, to just dead the next??? It doesn't make sense. It isn't fair.

Every day since that moment, I have replayed this event over and over in my head. I cannot stop thinking about it. Did I miss something? I know that I am just punishing myself by doing this in my head, but how can I not? It just isn't fair.

Life is so short. It is so precious. And things can change in a blink of an eye. I am grateful that he went to Heaven in my arms. I am grateful that I was telling him how much I love him as he took his last breath. I did not know what was coming, but I am glad I was cherishing that moment with him, as he suddenly crossed over.

One thing I am so incredibly grateful for, is the volume of photos I have taken of him in his short life. I am always snapping photos of all of our pets. Yes, I believe in being present, but I also believe in capturing every moment, because you never know when it'll be the last. I am so grateful I have thousands of photos of my precious baby boy.

I will never forget him. I am so grateful I was his chosen mommy. I miss his soft furr, his quiet purr, and his quirky personality. I miss him tripping me on my way to the bathroom. And running to be the first to breakfast. He may be gone in the physical sense, but he will live on in my heart forever.

My parting words to you. Take the pictures. Even of your furry loved ones. You never know when their time on Earth is over. Capture the moments. Get photos of them playing, and sleeping. Cuddling, and being silly. Get photos of you with them. Get photos of your kids with the pets. Get the photos. they are part of your family. Make sure you have the lasting memory not only in your heart but also on your walls.

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