Yesterday we lost our beloved little boy kitty, Oscar to cytauxzoonosis, commonly called bobcat fever. A disease carried by a tick that is fatal to felines nearly 100% of the time. The only way to prevent this disease is to never let your cat outside. There is no antidote, no vaccine, no remedy to heal this dreaded and deadly disease. We live where we do, in an older subdivision with big lots, outside the city limits so our animals did not have to be afraid of cars and people and so they could have some freedom. It is a rare disease and our part of the country is where a lot of cases had been documented. I had really no knowledge of cytauxzoonosis until it happened to our cat.
I had noticed Tuesday evening that he was in his bed instead of with us. When I awoke Wednesday morning he had a fever and I took him to the vet by the time Friday ended he was gone. Despite IV's and antibiotics and intense excellent veterinary treatment there was nothing more we could do. I had researched alternative measures, but by the time I had rounded up the ingredients Friday afternoon it really was too late. The hole in our lives and in our hearts will be so hard to fill. We had adopted him a year earlier with his foster mate, Mirabel and they were the lights of our lives. We didn't need TV or movies with them around, especially Oscar. He was such a comedian. His orange and white lithe body streaked around the house at breakneck speed. He could make a toy out of anything. He especially liked Qtips, my hair ties and stealing my yarn. We buried him this morning with a bobbin of yarn with the color"New Mexico Blue Sky" on it, some Qtips, hair ties and another bit of yarn from a mill in New Mexico. We had thought for sure that he would go into retirement in New Mexico with us in a few years. It was not to be so.
Would I have done anything differently had I known of this disease? I really don't think so. Even now I don't think that I can in good conscious lock up our other cats who have roamed somewhat freely for a long time. I already feel that sometimes I overprotect them by making them come home before dark and keeping them in when I am gone from the place. I guess what I need to do is to accept that this is what happens when you let an animal be free to be an animal and have fun. The joy on his face while sunning on the deck or draped on the porch rail and his smiling face when I called and he came running are what I have to remember. Oscar truly was the happiest cat in the world and I know he is looking down on me from somewhere hoping that soon my tears will dry and knowing that I will join him again someday.