Remember Giz? We took her to the vet on Monday night for a regular checkup. I was terrified to take her. She felt a little lighter, looked a little less fuzzy, and hadn’t come upstairs at night to sleep with us in a few weeks. But she was still eating, still drinking, still interested in food, and still snuggly. I told myself I was prepared for the worst, although I’m kidding myself to think I’ll ever be prepared for the day that she dies.
We had given her subcutaneous fluids the Wednesday before the appointment, and although she looked as if she needed more on Monday, I didn’t want to give them to her and give the vet a false impression of her health. They weighed her on a baby scale–5.9 lbs, down from 7.1 last year. My apprehension rose. Losing over a pound in a year is such a large drop, even accounting for her being dehydrated. They took her blood pressure (which was normal), did bloodwork and told us they’d call.
We went home, gave her the fluids, and to me she seemed to be the same ol’ Giz. She fought the needle a lot, but after being poked and prodded at the vet, that was certainly understandable.
I slept fitfully that night. I woke up at 3:00 that morning in tears, afraid that I would go downstairs in a few hours and that she’d be gone. Instead of going down then to check on her, I laid there for 2 hours in fear of what I’d find downstairs. Mike woke up at one point and we talked about her and what a good life she has had and how loved she is and always will be, which calmed me down somewhat.
I went downstairs at 5:00, and she was asleep in the living room. I stood there watching her breathe for about 5 minutes, not wanting to leave her to go to the basement and get on the treadmill. I was still crying. At 6:15, I walked up the basement steps and she was sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to feed her.
Tuesday night, Mike and I slept downstairs with her. I know you’re thinking that we’re “crazy cat people” but it at least gave me peace of mind. Mike took the couch and I took the loveseat. With Gizzy curled up on my chest, I was able to get a good night’s sleep (although I was a little stiff on Wednesday morning!).
The vet called on Wednesday to tell us that her thyroid level is still fine, although she is somewhat anemic and could possibly be fighting an infection. She prescribed a liquid antibiotic twice a day for 10 days. Giz’s kidney function is declining, although not any more rapidly than is to be expected in a cat her age, so we need to increase the fluids to 3-4 times a week. The words “put to sleep” were never brought up, thank God. I would have a hard time accepting that it was necessary to put her down when she’s still acting like normal, except for not coming upstairs.
We slept in our bed Wednesday night, resigned to the fact that she’s too old to climb a full flight of stairs and that we can’t spend every night on the couch. Thursday morning I woke up to go down to feed her and there she was outside our bedroom door! We wonder how long it had taken her to get up there, and if it was possible that she had tried to get into our bed (which is very high) and either she couldn’t make the last jump from the kitty steps up, or maybe Mike’s legs were blocking her jump.
Whatever the circumstances, I took that climb to be a positive sign. Even still, it’s difficult to leave the house and wonder if it’s the last time we’ll see her alive. On my way home last night, Mike didn’t answer his cell phone when I called, and all I could think was “Giz is gone and he’s waiting until I get home to tell me.”
I know better than to try to keep her alive just because of my own selfishness. I’ve had to have a lot of dogs and cats put to sleep before, and it’s a hard decision that’s made easier only by knowing that you’re doing the right thing for the animal. But as long as her quality of life is maintained, I have no problem paying for whatever medical attention and supplies she needs. As special as every pet is that I’ve ever had, Giz is at the top of the list. I’m much more attached to her than I’ve ever been to any other animal.
As for this weekend, I’m sleeping in the living room. With this little ball of fur: