Loss and Love: Charcoal’s Story

Loss and Love: Charcoal’s Story




Love comes in many shades. It’s not black or white. It’s often gray. When someone we love leaves our lives it can be devastating. Our world shatters and we can find ourselves completely lost. This was the case for Charcoal. He and his person had lived together since he was a wee young lad and Charcoal only knew this small world with his companion for 13 years. Their life had always just been the two of them and they depended on each other.

One tragic night his person got terribly sick and was taken away by an ambulance. Charcoal, most likely freighted by the disruption, ran and hid. No one knew he was there. Charcoal waited patiently in the apartment alone, hungry and scared for over two weeks. Waiting for his person.


When Charcoal was finally found, he was thin, a bit scared but otherwise in good health for a 13 year old guy.

Being that there was no next of kin to provide care and a loving home for him, he was taken to the local municipal shelter. There he was fed and cared for. He was friendly but seemed withdrawn and waiting for his person to come get him. That is where we found him.


We arrived at the shelter that day to see where the most need was, that is what we do at Pet Haven. We look for the ones in the most need and bring them into our Foster Care Program.  We were told Charcoal’s story and getting him into a loving home as soon as possible would be best for him. A wonderful first-time foster stepped up and brought Charcoal home. There he was showered with love, toys, plenty of good food and companionship. We thought he would thrive and move seamlessly into the next chapter of his life with our help.

But we were wrong. Cats deeply bond with their person. In fact, studies have now been done that prove CATS BOND  strongly to their humans’ maybe even more than dogs do. In the case of Charcoal, that seemed to be true.

Charcoal stopped eating. His foster tried everything she could think of to get him to eat. Nothing worked. He started to fail.

We had him evaluated at one of our Vet Partners VCA Feist Animal Hospital that did a very thorough assessment and found little wrong. Bloodwork was fine. X-ray showed no blockage, there was nothing alarming medically but there was deep concern over him not eating. He was showing early signs of Fatty Liver Disease in Cats which is caused by an extended time without food, which can kill quickly. Thus the VCA team suggesting we get a sonogram to make sure there was not something wrong we were missing.

That is where Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum, DVM stepped in. He performed a sonogram on Charcoal to see what could be wrong. Other than the start of fatty liver disease due to not eating, this cat of 13 years was in good health. It was becoming clear that he was “giving up”. He refused to eat. He stopped playing, cuddling and meowing. He started to hide and sleep all day. Charcoal was Diagnosed with Depression caused by the loss of his person. Charcoal needed help.

We placed Charcoal under the care of Dr. Ralph and his team. They began a strict feeding program of small amounts of wet food 12 times a day along with appetite stimulants, fluid support and lots of attention. Slowly he started to thrive and we were thrilled but what we all wanted most for Charcoal was to find love again.

After a month in Dr. Ralph’s care, Meagan saw Charcoals picture on our Adoptable Cats page of our website. She read his story and felt a connection right away. She understood the loss of a loved one having lost her Mother and senior kitty too. She wanted to meet him.

Meagan and Charcoal first met at VCA Richfield Animal Hospital where Charcoal was being cared for by Dr. Ralph. There was an immediate connection.

Charcoal lit up and began to purr, give head bumps and crawl into her lap. We all knew she was his new person. 2 months after coming to Pet Haven, most of that time under hospitalization, Charcoal went Home!



Fostering Love, it’s what we do. Giving each animal the time, care, and medical attention they may need to successfully move into the next chapter of their lives.  We could not do what we do without your SUPPORT! Thank you so very much!