There are many times in life that I give thanks for being over my irresponsible teens and twenties. Being in charge of my time (minus the inevitable child-centred interruptions), being able to drive myself places, not having to explain why I’m wearing that – all peachy. Sometimes, though, I just want someone, a proper grown up, to come along and tell me what to do.
My boy cat is 13. He has always been loud, active, boisterous, annoying, greedy and fun. He was a pretty magnificent looking animal in his prime, if I do say so myself:
Over the last six months or so, he has developed pancreatitis as well as possible kidney dysfunction. He’s been back and forth to the vet, is on special food, has lots of medications that he has been mostly willing to take if I crush them up in some tasty meat or fish. His back legs have wasted away somewhat and are quite weak, sometimes to the point where he can’t even bounce himself up onto the toilet lid or our bed. He is gaunt, with a big head, and his fur looks greasy.
This week he had to spend two nights in kitty hospital being rehydrated as, due to a flare-up of pancreatitis, he had stopped eating or drinking. Came home on Tuesday with another bagful of medicine. Once at home he ate a little, drank a little, mostly refused the food with medicine in it. He was sick on Thursday morning, despite the medication that is meant to suppress the sickness.
But mostly I get the feeling that he has just given up. He’s been getting in bed with me every night (like, literally under the covers with his head on the pillow), hiding the rest of the time. He’s listless. He doesn’t seem to be washing. And he keeps giving me a look:
How do I know what the right thing to do is? When I got the cats in my feckless youth, I just assumed that they would either be killed in accidents before their time or end up so undeniably ill that there would be no other choice but to PTS, like all my childhood cats. I don’t know if it’s kinder to keep forcing treatment and medication on the old boy just to prolong a tedious existence or if he’ll pick up to the point where he starts to enjoy life again.
It has also cost us a fortune. He’s insured and this is an ongoing condition so we’ll get some of the money back (eventually), but this week’s stay in hospital cost me nearly £500 that we don’t have spare right now. I can’t afford for him to go back in again, we simply don’t have the cash. I feel like a shit having to consider the financial burden alongside everything else, but it’s an unignorable part of the overall cost. If I knew that that £500 would result in him returning to a reasonable state of springy-pawed health I wouldn’t be thinking about it at all, but so far that has not been the case.
For comparison, we also have his sister who is as lively, glossy, hungry and curious as ever she was.
Meanwhile my son has become unusually attentive to boycat and insists on stroking him gently, giving him food, encouraging him to come inside ‘so he can be comfy’. Son is 4.5 and has accompanied us on most of our veterinary trips. I’m sure he’s old enough to read between the carefully phrased lines about next steps.
Never mind. I’m sure any minute now a kind grown up will be along to provide me an answer…