It has been a long time since I have posted anything here on my blog. It has been an interesting year: three felines have departed our household, and I have learned about something called the “Romance Scam.”
Last July, my oldest cat, Cara Mia, lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. Participation in a study with an experimental medicine extended her life in an almost miraculous way. Cara Mia was a beautiful calico with a loud and insistent voice. She was not thrilled with my administration of her medication, but she was—for the most part—happy with her circumstances. At the end, she began to have breathing difficulties and enlarged tumors on her belly, so I said goodbye.
Later in the year I noticed that Gobblin’ Goopuss had lost some weight and his appetite. Melissa took him to the vet, who did bloodwork. I was anticipating that with his thyroid under better control, the tests would reveal some underlying kidney disease. When I took him back in for the test results, I got a very unpleasant surprise: markers in his blood indicated the presence of cancer, probably lymphoma. I reluctantly bid farewell to a second cat on December 2018.
My mom’s male kitty, Charlie, was the family favorite. When Jim and I brought him home for Mom back in 2003, Charlie—then about a year old—quickly charmed his way into our hearts. He had the most distinctive set of facial expressions I had ever seen on a cat. He developed a habit of coming out to Mom’s kitchen at dinner time and meowing to be allowed downstairs to visit my cats. Until a year ago, he would return home at bedtime.
Charlie had a number of health problems. He had idiopathic cystitis, an irregular heartbeat (which changed from test to test), and abnormal kidneys. He also had a nasty tendency to barber his belly. A tiny daily dose of generic Prozac took care of the barbering. He also got compounded budesonide and azithromycin cream daily. For a long time he did well on this regimen.
In his old age, Charlie was not fond of change. When Melissa and her cat, Choco Latte, moved in a year ago, he was not happy, and his idiopathic cystitis got worse. Mom and I decided that he would be allowed to go wherever he wanted to go in the house. He spent more and more time downstairs with me and my kitties.
Charlie was still doing quite well in January 2019, when he saw his veterinary internist, Dr. E. In the next month, however, he lost nearly one pound as his appetite lessened. On February 28, I took Charlie and Mitchner to the local vet. Both of them had blood tests. Charlie’s revealed that his kidney values were very elevated. Since I could not get him to eat anything by then, the family decided it was time to say goodbye. Charlie crossed the Rainbow Bridge on March 3.
In October I was contacted on Twitter by someone who wanted to chat with me. The chat moved to Google Hangouts—which I had never heard of before—and my “chat buddy” quickly professed his love for me. It was not long before I discovered that the name and location he gave me were not genuine. The pictures of himself he shared with me belonged to someone else. His name, age, and location changed over time. Worst of all, he had the chutzpah to request money for various purposes.
I would like to warn anyone who reads my blog to be careful with online contacts. Not everyone is who he or she claims to be. Both men and women can be targeted by romance scammers. Here are several websites that provide information on romance scams and what to do about them.
- Wikipedia article on “Romance Scam”
- The Federal Trade Commission
- Cybercrime Support Network
- The FBI news report on romance scams
Many of these scams originate in other countries. Nigeria, for instance, is famous for a variety of types of online scams. It is a good idea to do a background check on anyone you meet online, whether it is on a dating site or other social media site. The requests for money began to make me fearful of reprisals when I refused to comply, especially since I had no idea where this person was, so I made a report to my local police. They were able to assure me that I was likely in no danger. I am certainly glad that I took these steps to discover the truth and protect myself!
As you can see, it has been an interesting year for me. It is my hope that the coming year will be personally and professionally fulfilling, but not quite so “exciting.”