I might have mentioned to some of you that when BoyCat had his check-up a few months ago, he’d lost some weight, and we made a plan to take him back this month to have it checked. When I got the reminder about that around the first of the year, my reaction was “Oh yeah, I guess we need to do that. I wonder if he’s lost any more? He looks about the same, and is doing fine.”
Then, when I got home from Texas, it was obvious that he’d lost weight, and it really seemed to have been precipitous, not just a matter of being away from him for a while, and he suddenly looked much thinner, and just “not right.” Sick and old. We realized that he hadn’t been eating much over the past few days, either.
We took him in to the vet today, and found that he’s lost more than 3 pounds in the past three months and is dehydrated and anemic, and his lab work confirmed that he is in end-stage kidney failure.
The vet said the other big possibilities were hyperthyroidism or diabetes, which are manageable, although his symptoms did point toward the kidneys. We weren’t thrilled about spending money on testing that we didn’t really expect to lead us to a treatment plan, but it did help us to confirm what we are dealing with, and what we need to do.
After considering all our options – from doing absolutely nothing and letting nature take its course, which would probably mean a very painful and unpleasant couple of weeks (at the most) for him, to hospitalizing him repeatedly for IV fluids, giving medications for pain and nausea and putting him on a special diet, and paying a ton of money for treatments which if he responded very, very well, might buy him, at most, a few months, but more likely a few weeks – we decided to have them give him subcutaneous fluids and injections of antibiotics and anti-nausea medication today, and have brought him home to spend the weekend giving him lots of cuddles and pets as well as some special food, if he’s willing to eat it, and some more antibiotics and anti-nausea meds to make him more comfortable, and saying goodbye.
I plan to call them back in the morning and make an appointment to take him in on Monday, to put him down.
When I asked the vet what she would do if it were her cat, she said that she would probably have done it today or sooner, based on his kidney functions, but that with rehydration and some relief for his (assumed) nausea, he shouldn’t be suffering much over the next couple of days, other than feeling generally tired and sick.
To be honest, I don’t know that we’re doing him any favors by keeping him going for a few more days, but we had to balance his needs with Peeper’s, and we really thought she needed some time to prepare.
I talked to her about it this evening. She went with us today, so she knew something was up, but of course she was not privy to the nitty-gritty discussion (for part of that I was alone with the vet while she and Kris hung out in the waiting room, and then Shrike and I talked to the vet together while one of the techs took her in the back to visit with (and feed treats to) some of the animals who live there).
I explained that we took him to the vet because he didn’t feel good, and that the vet said that he’s a very old kitty and he’s very sick and his body is about worn out and is going to stop working in a few days. I’ve told her that the vet says it will probably stop working on Monday (at least she’s young enough to buy that we can predict such things, without having to let on that we’re deciding when it will happen) and that we will take him back so the vet can give him some medicine, so he doesn’t hurt any more, and then it will be time that his body will stop working.
We also talked about how we are all sad about it, and we will be sad, but it’s okay to be sad and to talk about it, and we can all be sad together.
And we are.