Struggling with sadness as kitty's health declines - Albuquerque Journal

Struggling with sadness as kitty’s health declines

First in a series.

Poupon was an almost constant source of connectedness and entertainment for Cheryl and her husband, Michael. One night, he snuck into their dining room and carried off a pizza box for his private lair. In the evening, he’d creep up onto their shoulders and knead before settling into the crook of an arm, and then stretch out like a child to watch TV with them.

I met Cheryl Richardson when she spoke at a writers’ conference in Boston. Over the next year, I also came to know Poupon, Grey Poupon, that is. I learned that his love for her and her good husband brought them close. The Nichol family pets are that way. They break things, dig holes and make noise, but they love us always.

I’ve never physically touched Poupon, never palpated his abdomen, or listened to his chest, but his people have shared enough photos and videos that seeing the softness in their expressions, well, I feel a kinship. Pets don’t speak a human language, so we can believe whatever we want about their thoughts and emotions, and we’re never wrong.

A couple of years ago, Michael noticed that 10-year-old Poupon was sleeping more, becoming lethargic and easily fatigued. Cheryl did her best to ignore these warnings. Denial is understandable. We do this because we can’t bear the thought of a serious diagnosis. Good sense prevailed and a house call veterinarian was summoned. Poupon’s elevated liver enzymes indicated trouble, but a follow-up exam revealed internal masses.

Abdominal X-rays and ultrasound brought reality crashing home. Cheryl and Michael would have done anything to save Poupon, but his cancer was inoperable. Chemotherapy could buy him several months, but his history of intense distress in the veterinary hospital ruled this option out.

It took Poupon’s people a couple of weeks to find their way. Their kitty’s wellbeing mattered most, but they struggled with sadness. My part, from across the country, was to listen and offer support and medical advice.

Next week: Weathering the storm.

ZOOM GROUP HELP:  For help with behavior problems, you can sign up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.


Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com Post pet questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Struggling with sadness as kitty’s health declines


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
New rotisserie restaurant setting up shop on the West ...
ABQnews Seeker
At Fuego 505, Chef Raul Maestas ... At Fuego 505, Chef Raul Maestas is bringing the fire. Literally. The new restaurant, which is openin ...
2
Real estate firm building its own industrial space in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Project came out of shortage of ... Project came out of shortage of space in Albuquerque area
3
City: Coronado Park is officially closed
ABQnews Seeker
Coronado Park, home to one of ... Coronado Park, home to one of Albuquerque’s largest and most visible unsanctioned homeless encampments, has officially closed. Albuquerque city officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon that ...
4
Los Ranchos approves short-term freeze on developments
ABQnews Seeker
Move will not affect projects that ... Move will not affect projects that stirred residents to protest in recent weeks
5
Third New Mexico film partner to be based in ...
ABQnews Seeker
California-based 828 Productions will relocate its ... California-based 828 Productions will relocate its headquarters to Las Cruces.
6
Water release temporarily closes Santa Rosa Lake boat ramp
ABQnews Seeker
The boat ramp at Santa Rosa ... The boat ramp at Santa Rosa Lake State Park will be closed temporarily due to a significant water release by the U.S. Army Corps ...
7
Pedestrian in critical condition after crash
ABQnews Seeker
A pedestrian was transported to University ... A pedestrian was transported to University of New Mexico Hospital with severe head trauma after he was struck by a vehicle Tuesday, Albuquerque police ...
8
NM revenue explosion continues, as lawmakers weigh next steps
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's revenue jackpot shows no ... New Mexico's revenue jackpot shows no signs of slowing down, with inflation-related consumer spending, strong wage growth and increased oil production propelling the state's ...
9
NM seeks poll workers ahead of November 8 general ...
2022 election
'The more eyes on the election ... 'The more eyes on the election the better,' notes a county clerk