Or am I really as alone as I feel?
The last few days I’ve spent a great deal of time just watching my cat Tigre. He is dying. And I am really sad.
Back in May he had heart failure and I was taken by surprise. At the time I had no idea he was so ill. I had noticed he had gotten very thin despite eating alot, but he was otherwise very energetic and acting like his crazy self. So when he suddenly got very sick and then almost died, I was pretty shocked. The vets told me then that his prognosis was not good. I read alot about cat heart failure, and it seemed that 6 months was a long time to survive post-failure. So when he started showing signs of recovery, I was hesitant to be optimistic. But when he began acting like his old self- running, jumping, eating alot- and he continued to be his old self for months, well I couldn’t help but thing he might have beat this thing. And why not? I have spent alot of time researching. I completely changed his diet; I made him a homemade raw diet based on a vet recipe I had found; I gave him medication 2x/day, despite the bites and scratches he gave in return. I diligently watched for any signs of decline.
On occasion he did show signs of decline, but he always bounced back within a few days. And when I took him to a new vet because I was concerned he was too thin for the amount he ate, the vet and her tech both expressed amazement that he was over 14 years old AND had recently had heart failure. Apparently a cat his age doesn’t usually make a vertical jump from floor to exam table. Especially not one with heart problems.
When we moved and he could go outside again, he got into it with all kinds of neighborhood cats. I had to run outside and break up more cat fights than I can count. And who would have thought that cat slinking along the 5 foot high fence had recently come close to death? I certainly wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been there.
But the past few weeks he started sleeping in weird places. He peed in my closet more than once. Then he stopped sleeping with me at night. And the worst part has been the return of the bizarre seizures. He first had these when I brought him home from the vet after his heart failure. The first time he had them, I thought they were death throes. But eventually it became clear he was having some kind of slow motion seizures. But once we got him on a heart medication that worked for him, the seizures disappeared for several months. They reappeared occasionally back in December, then worsened last month. And then last week they started to occur daily. He’s been to 3 vets in 3 months. Last weekend I took him back to his old vet in SF. They’ve all said that without more diagnostics, they can’t say why he has the seizures. But I just can’t afford MRIs and ultrasounds. Especially after already spending thousands of dollars on the emergency and follow-up care he’s had since the heart failure. I feel bad that I can’t get more for him, but at the same time, from what the vets say, knowing more about the cause may not necessarily mean there would be anything we could do about them.
So I’ve watched him the last few days as he goes through fits of seizure-like episodes and then gets over them and eats or goes to sleep. He spends some time looking more or less like a tired version of his old self, but too much activity seems to precipitate a seizure, and that leads to him being tired.
The other night he had a rather long episode of fits, and I was ready to take him for his last vet visit. But then I started him on a last ditch attempt medication, and gave him a diuretic, and by the next day, he seemed better. But that lasted a day and today his seizures were back.
For those that think I’m cruel (if anyone even reads this) for letting him suffer through the seizures, I have to say that they are not of the violent, thrashing type. They are odd, slow-motion movements that cause him to lay down and sort of zone out. His limbs also start moving of their own accord at times- a back leg will rise up really high; his tail will stick straight up in the air in a stiff manner and won’t move; his head will nod down to the floor and then the rest of him lays down after it. It’s both disturbing and fascinating to witness. The vet seemed at a loss for words when I showed her a video of some of his less extreme movements. She couldn’t really explain it.
With Tigre in this state, I’ve not wanted to leave him for long periods of time. Today I didn’t exercise because I was afraid that I might have to take him for his last trip to the vet. And I’ve not been getting enough sleep, either, as when I wake up in the morning I get worried that he’s not on my bed and I get up to look for him. Then I can’t get back to sleep.
As a result of less exercise and lack of sleep, I’ve been feeling much worse about all the crap I’ve been eating and the way my body looks and feels. Thus I’m now obsessing about how gross I am and of course the way I deal with all of this is by eating even more.
Add to this that my dog Hera seems to be getting more fatigued on even short walks, and you may see why I’m not feeling very good these days.
I can’t imagine a home without my animals. I can’t imagine coming home to nobody. The thought makes me feel very, very sad. I don’t want to think about it, but I can’t not think about it.
And it leaves me feeling very alone.