The Unhungry Cat

The cat is very sick. The vet has given us pills & potions to try to combat the effects of severe kidney failure. Winston is “leaking oil”, says the vet – his kidneys are basically not doing much of anything anymore. He is thirsty all the time, expelling all the water he drinks and most of the vitamins and protein he takes in along with it.

The cat is cuddly and cheerful, but dying. He won’t eat. First he refused kibble but would eat canned food. Then only certain brands, then only certain textures of those brands, then only the prescription stuff, then only human baby food. Now I can’t even get him to eat the two teaspoons a day that I mix his powdered medicine into.

I’ve tried every trick I know: sprinkling it with fish flakes, giving him a hit on the ‘nip as an appetite stimulant, waving it under his nose while he’s sleeping, letting him lick it off my fingers. It hasn’t worked. I spent an hour this evening listening to podcasts, crying, and trying to get the cat to eat. It is a glamorous life. NPR between sniffles. Me and the gaunt little purring spotted cat.

winston2 winston3winston1

Watching him starve slowly is rough. He’s gotten so used to me popping pills, gels and powders at him that he now flinches when I walk up to him. Poor little buddy.

He’s been a champ about letting me do sub-cutaneous rehydration and he’s a dream cat to give pills. He HATES the gel that I squirt into his mouth, but swallows most of it. He’s only missed the litterbox twice. He’s dying, but he’s dying so very, very politely.

I basically feel terrible about the fact that I’m never home, and he only sees me when I’m forcing pills down his throat. I work. I have a social life these days (weirdly). Since Winston was diagnosed a month ago, I have only spent one full day at home. I went up north on vacation, I went to the renaissance fair, I went to the apple orchard, I went to pub trivia, etc etc. Summer was borderline boring. Fall is already crazy busy.

I’m supposed to leave for an extended vacation to Portland next week, my first in a while. I haven’t planned anything. I don’t have a flight or a hotel. I don’t have a boarding plan for the cats. I’ve never had to board an animal before. Normally I would have this all planned out and be able to do things in between times. (Well, I mean, mostly planned out. Let’s be honest, I’m never QUITE prepared for anything. But it’s usually not this bad.)

Things are a mess right now. There are so many things that I want to do! But I need to call a moratorium on being social for a while. Not because Winston’s a mess. Because I am.

It’s not all because of the cat. I haven’t been giving myself enough down time. There are periods when my brain just plain requires a lot of breathing room. Sometimes it’s better to power through — but I’ve been trying that, and this seems to be a time when I need to power down, instead. Every time I’ve tried to be social lately, I’ve enjoyed the company, but the rebound time required has been dramatic.

I am going to have to ask my friends to be patient if I go on retreat for a few weeks. I want to do social things with you guys a lot. I do. But afterwards, I feel so drained and strained and unhappy. This isn’t anything anyone has done wrong. I just don’t have enough energy right now for everything. I already pre-emptively miss pub trivia, shows at the Ave, game night, dinner with friends, ArtPrize (ArtPrize! I’m not going to be able to go this year – owwww, my art-loving heart!). But I’m already pre-emptively exhausted by all that, too.

Meanwhile — I got Winston to eat three Greenies treats tonight. Small victories.


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