Cat’s Cradle

on February 18, 2011 in Misc

My cat is seriously sick.

Okay, so I’m supposed to be writing about writing and action hero stuff and how I’m finishing the editing The Compass Master (final run-through this weekend!).   But if you have a pet then you know how it is – when the little booger is sinking and will likely die in the coming weeks or months, concentrating on your daily tasks can be hit-and-miss.

My cat’s named Squeaky.   He’s small, black furred, scrawny, and neurotically shy around anyone but me.   Sometimes he’s a pain in the ass.  At other times he’s nice to have around.   He was a stray who had belonged to someone because he’d been fixed and as he grew up his collar had been left on too long, which painfully rubbed off the fur around his neck.

One day about ten years ago he showed up at my sister’s house, but their three cats promptly beat him up.   So my sister brought Squeaky over to my place and announced that she was giving me a pet cat – wasn’t I lucky?    The minute she opened the carrier Squeaky tore off, hid under my bed and stayed there for three days.   I put the litter box and his food and water next to my bed.   Oh joy.

When it became clear that Squeaky came with trust issues and hadn’t had an easy life, I left him alone and let him come to me on his terms.   When he finally ventured out from under the bed I ignored him and let him do what he wanted.  Within a few months he was kinda hanging around me.   When he started greeting me at the door as I came home from work, I figured we had bonded.

Flash forward.   In the autumn of ’09 I came home one day to find Squeaky scared and whimpering.   He couldn’t stand up, and within minutes he was paralyzed and flat on the floor.   Turned out he’d had a stroke and I thought for sure I’d have to put him down.   Yet after examining him the vet said, “Let’s wait a few days and see if he gets better.”

Better?!!   I had to lift Squeaky’s head to feed him!   I had to clean the poop and pee off him!   But sure enough, in a few days the little booger was on his wobbly feet and within a few weeks he was about as good a he would ever get, which for him was 80% of his old self.   He could still jump up on the furniture and shed on it, but when he jumped down he sometimes landed on his face.   He didn’t seem to mind.   He also walked funny and ignored me when I called him crooked butt.

Funny thing is, it was after he’d had a stroke that Squeaky got truly affectionate with me.   He hung around wherever I was sitting and kept his paw on me.   Followed me from room to room.   Woke me up in the middle of the night by announcing that he was walking around but okay.   Put his face right up against mine when I was trying to go to sleep.   It was as if he’d been so scared and weak and vulnerable during his recovery that he realized – as much as a cat can – that I was there for him.   I took care of him.   I paid his HUGE HONKIN’ vet bills.

But now Squeaky really is going downhill.   In January he started losing weight.   He had poop issues.   Then he pretty much stopped eating.   The vet said that he’s old and it looks like his kidneys have shut down.   But yesterday the blood test came back and the kidneys were clear.   That means Squeaky is going back to the vet tomorrow for more tests.   But you and I and the vet know what tests mean:  a possible diagnosis but no reasonable treatment and certainly no cure, especially at his age (which is hard to determine since Squeaky was a stray, but he’s definitely in the Old Fart stage).

The vet did give Squeaky a shot of medicine that got him eating again, and that’s encouraging.   But it was just a stopgap.   The fact is, the best thing I can do for my pet is to make him comfortable for as long as possible.   If or when he starts to suffer, then you know what I have to do for his sake.

Damn it damn it damn it.

But for now I’ve still got Crooked Butt.   And today is a pretty good day for him.

2 Responses to “Cat’s Cradle”

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. It is tough. I lost my baby of 18 years a few years ago. I still miss her. I think I miss having a cat that makes it hard. I got a dog for my boys and he’s okay but he isn’t a cuddly kitty. Good luck and enjoy your time with him.

  2. Helena says:

    Ciara — Is there anyway you can get a cat for yourself? I’m a dog person myself (can’t have one since I’m gone all day), but kitties are much more cuddly.