BENEFITING: THE BIG HEARTS FUND
Our cat shadow was born in March 2010. We adopted him in April 2011 and he was a part of our home and our lives until he passed away suddenly on May 19, 2013. Shadow was not just a cat -- he was a member of our family. Shadow was a constant companion; a strong positive force that provided us with joy every day; an expert sleeper on all surfaces rough or soft; a connoisseur of boxes big and small (no matter how small); a rubber against human legs; a daily alarm; an acrobat; a butler/doorman; a hunter of string and rope; a snuggler; a poser; a feline model; a bundle of energy at the most random of moments; a facebook celebrity; a friend; a roommate; a family member. He provided unconditional love (provided he was fed) and accepted our constant affection (hugging / cuddling) with typically un-feline-like patience.
Shadow passed away when we had to put him to sleep as a result of an undiagnosed / undetected heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In this condition, an enlarged heart increases turbulence of blood flow, which causes blood clots to form. In Shadow's case, a blood clot got caught at the "saddle" where his aorta splits off to feed his hind legs. Once the clot blocked his bloodflow, he was paralyzed in his hind leg region, fluid built up in his lungs, and he had trouble moving and breathing. He went from healthy one second to traumatically injured in the next.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for this disease is extremely poor. Even if the blood clot can be broken up, a process with many complications from which a cat is unlikely to survive, the underlying heart condition is extremely likely to cause another clot to form in the near term and severely impact a cat's quality of life. Preventative care may help, but even then the odds are low. Shadow died in our arms, relaxing and purring when he was brought to see us for one last time before he was put to sleep. To the end, he trusted us, even in such a traumatic situation.
To honor Shadow's memory, we have set up this page to support "The Big Hearts Fund", a non-profit which seeks to help pet owners attain necessary veterinary care for their animals diagnosed early enough with heart disease -- especially those who cannot afford the expensive treatments necessary to treat this disease. We would truly appreciate any support you would be willing to give to this charity to help make sure other people do not lose their companions and family members so suddenly to this terrible disease, which can strike out of nowhere and immediately render a healthy animal completely debilitated.
We loved Shadow immensely and were so happy during the two and a half years we got to spend with him. We just wish there had been more time. Hopefully, the funds we raise for the Big Hearts Fund will raise awareness about this condition and help other people have a little more additional time with their best friends and companions.
Divyan & Toby