Author, Editor, Media Tie-In Writer

Good-bye Pharaoh

Again, with a broken heart, I must tell you that Pharaoh, our beloved Egyptian Mau, has gone to the clearing at the end of the path. He has joined his sister, Isis, three months after she passed. As before, the Husband and I are in shatters. It is an intense type of emotional pain. We are as affected by the death of Pharaoh as we were by the death of Isis.

Pharaoh was my kitty. I was his human. He brooked no argument on this fact. I was the one he wanted to see. It was my lap he wanted to sleep in. He loved the Husband. Yes, of course he did. But he knew that the Husband belonged to Isis, and she was the one who ruled the roost no matter what any of the other cats thought about it. Period. End of story. That was okay because he wanted me and had me as his. I accepted my duty with my whole heart.

Pharaoh lived for just over sixteen years. We got the twins even before we were married. I think, officially, our Maus were the first things we chose and bought together. Though, it was very clear from the outset who chose who. Pharaoh was so loving and lovable. He grew to an average of eighteen pounds (nineteen at his heaviest) and knew how to use that bulk to bring down prey (toys). More than once he stole a toy from me accidentally because he put his whole body into the attack.

We knew that Pharaoh didn’t have long to live after Isis left us. But much of the past three months made us think that he was going to become a little lich kitty, living forever. He rallied…until he didn’t. Walking hasn’t been easy for him in his last months and while the meds would work for a little bit, they didn’t work for long. It got to the point that walking was painful, and he couldn’t use the litter box unless we were there to help. He couldn’t really walk the stairs. In our last weeks together, I carried him to his meals, the litter box, his heated blanket. He stopped playing for the most part—and when he did play, he would have an asthma attack. He was so tired and uncomfortable in his skin.

My darling boy was allergic to many things (beef and pork included). It meant he needed to spend years on so many different medicines that we created morning and night routines around which medicines we had to give him and when to keep him happy, comfortable, and thriving. I think our mornings and evenings will feel empty, incomplete, for a long time to come. There is so much less to do. Right now, my life feels so much less.

His last day was beautiful. We fed him all his favorite treats. We held him and soothed him when he had one of his confused episodes. When he fell asleep in my arms, he finally relaxed enough to snore like he hadn’t done in many, many weeks. At least a month. It was so sweet and tender—his relief, his final relaxation. I stayed with him until the end as I promised him I would. It is the hardest, kindest thing a responsible pet owner can do. I still miss Isis. I already miss him so much, and my heart feels like it’s never going to stop breaking.

We want our kitties back.

(We used Compassion 4 Paws. Dr. Nicole was understanding, patient, and respectful. It helped with this hard, necessary procedure.)

Meet Jennifer Brozek

Jennifer Brozek is a multi-talented, award-winning author, editor, and media tie-in writer. She is the author of Never Let Me Sleep and The Last Days of Salton Academy, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Her BattleTech tie-in novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, won a Scribe Award. Her editing work has earned her nominations for the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Hugo Award. She won the Australian Shadows Award for the Grants Pass anthology, co-edited with Amanda Pillar. Jennifer’s short form work has appeared in Apex Publications, Uncanny Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and in anthologies set in the worlds of Valdemar, Shadowrun, V-Wars, Masters of Orion, and Predator.

Jennifer has been a full-time freelance author and editor for over seventeen years, and she has never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to teach writing classes and volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com or her social media accounts on LinkTree.

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