It has been a few weeks now that Joey, my 18-year-old cat, has been struggling with health issues. First he had the lining around his lungs drained of fluid three times, then a cold, then edema in his front legs and stomach. Now he just doesn’t feel well, is not eating, and seems to have a sinus infection. He has been to the veterinarian. All blood work looks good. They thought maybe congestive heart failure but X-rays reveal a good heart.

Dr. Han, the Chinese herbalist, changed Joey’s herbal formula. Both doctors are stumped — mystery diagnoses. Joey has been to the famous Master Zhou for a qigong healing treatment, Dr. Silly for a chiropractic exam, and Melissa for acupuncture. I have also explored the darkness in my own psyche that Joey could have taken on. According to my Facebook and blog followers, thousands of people around the world are praying for him and sending him love and healing energy. When I fall asleep at night, I dream of a spotted leopard lying beside Joey grooming him and helping him to heal. Most people are supporting us in Joey’s desire to continue to live.

One woman said that I should euthanize Joey and put him out of his suffering, but I believe it would be detrimental to his soul if I helped him to die before he is willing. “He is old,” people say, and yes, 18 years is a long time. I was an insecure young woman in college studying abnormal psychology when Joey came into my life. Every week, though, I talk to cats around the world that are 20, 23, and even 25. Why not Joey?

Here I ask my animals, “How can we help Joey?”

Serafina (cat) says: “The best thing we can do is keep him company but not touch him too much ’cause his body is sore. Just let him know he has someone by him at all times.”

Makia (cat) says: “I think we need to get good nutrition in him because he is not eating. Whatever you think is good he should have. Also, remembering Joey when he was the healthiest will help his body remember how to be healthy. I say to him, ‘Joey you can do this. I believe in you. I am not ready for you to die either.’”

Storm (Aussie dog): “You should rub his ears. Give him so much love and faith that his soul will know what is best for him at the right time. He may look sick, but I can see him healthy, too.”

Luca (young poodle) says: “I think we should teach him how to play. That always makes me feel better. Telling him you love him will help.”

Bean (bunny) says: “I think he should eat greens because that will make him feel better fast. I also think he should look outside more and pay more attention to the birds and squirrels than to what makes him sick.”

Maia (wolf dog in heaven) says: “Ritual is good for him — saying prayers for his health in this world or the next and also letting go of all fear or expectations of the future. Whether he lives or dies, he will be out of his suffering because Joey does not like to suffer. He likes to feel well. Nobody ever knows what the future holds, and it’s best to carry on as if Joey will be happy either way.”

Joey says: “I need to feel the pulse of the Earth on my body and sensations of the breeze. I want to live because I feel I have more life to enjoy. I want to enjoy it in a healthy body. I want to surprise everyone. If I die, I will be okay; I have many friends there. I am strong inside. If this health crisis is something that is a reflection of my thinking or my mom’s thinking, then we will figure it out and change it. I have faith, and I believe in the power of all the people who are wishing me well and for the leopard that comes and heals me.”


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