Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stinky Cat

A quick inventory of my cat, Katya:
  • Her kidneys are failing
  • She's losing weight
  • She has arthritis in her hips
  • Her intestines are inflamed
  • She's puking a lot
  • She no longer eats anything but tuna, and that only in small portions
  • Her weight loss is getting more and more dramatic
  • She's getting pooptail.
  • She has an abscessed tooth
  • She's leaking something out of her mouth that smells like death
  • She's 14 years old
  • She's still the Best Cat Ever
In her prime she weighed over nine pounds. In March of this year she weighed in at just below seven pounds, a pound lighter than her last checkup, so the vet did some blood tests. Her kidneys were starting to fail. But this is normal in older cats and they can live a long time with substandard kidneys.

In October she had another checkup. She weighed in at just under six pounds. She'd lost another pound since March. The vet was concerned and did blood work and gave her an x-ray. It didn't provide any conclusive answers, but they did find arthritis in her hips and feared intestinal swelling. The doctor gave me some pills to help combat that.

I gave her the pills every day, which was torture for both her and me. She didn't want to swallow them, and I hated the person I had to be to get them down her. Even so, it only worked about half the time.

I put her on a weight gain regimen. I bought her half a dozen different types of cat food, then added cans of tuna and baby food. I threw every type of nutrient at her. She would eat something for a while, then decide she didn't like it. This phase was accompanied by frequent cases of puking, diarrhea and poop tail. (Hermione, my other cat, was puking because she was eating too much. She was catching all the nutrients I threw at Katya. Katya's sickness turned Hermy into a bulimic kitty.)

At her next weigh-in, Katya was down to five and a half pounds. She'd lost another half a pound in three weeks, despite my efforts to overfeed her. Because of the problems with the pills, the vet gave her a shot and told me to bring her back in a week for another weigh-in.

A week later, she'd lost another third of a pound. She was 5.15 pounds. I decided to take her with me to Indiana for Thanksgiving. I rode with my brother and his family for the three-hour car ride, holding her on my lap. At my sister's house, I put her in my niece's room, where she disappeared. I checked on her just before dinner and couldn't find her in the room. I thought my nephew and nieces had let the door open, so I initiated a panicked search of the entire upstairs. On my fifth sweep of my niece's room I noticed a hole in the fabric under the box springs. She had climbed up in there to hide.

Several hours later I coaxed her out and she ate some leftover turkey. That night she puked four times and wouldn't touch the turkey anymore. She ate a little bit of tuna, but not much.

Sometime over the next two days I noticed two things: she smelled awful and her face was misshapen. She looked like she had the mumps on one side of her face. She reminded me of Glenn Quagmire on Family Guy:
And she smelled rancid. I could only describe the smell as death, even though I don't know what that's supposed to smell like. I tried giving her some squirts of a pet spray bath that my sister had, but the bottle was old and that made it even worse. Now she reeked of alcohol, perfume, and death.

Right as we were about to leave to go home, I felt her face and noticed there was a lump on her chin. That's what made her face look weird. The smell was almost unbearable on the way home. I noticed she was leaking a yellow liquid from her mouth, and when I dabbed it with a tissue, I realized that's where the smell was coming from.

When I got home on Saturday afternoon, I went straight to the pet emergency room to have Katya's face looked at. I was bracing myself for The End. She weighed in at under five pounds. The ER vet suggested doing a biopsy of her jaw, and I agreed. But when she got a better look, the vet said it was just an abscessed tooth. That could be taken care of with antibiotics.

Now I have to give her antibiotics, which is in liquid form rather than pills. As I tried to jam her mouth open to shoot the medicine into her mouth, I wondered if the abscessed tooth was caused by me trying to pill her a few weeks ago. Did I make things worse?

Although the growth and smell are not as serious as I thought, having a sore, painful tooth is still yet another impediment to eating. And she's still wasting away with each new weigh-in. The vet had mentioned the possibility of intestinal lymphoma. If she's wasting away because she has cancer, why did I pay $100 to treat this abscessed tooth?

Because I don't want her to die looking like Quagmire and smelling like rancid pus.

In other news, I woke up this morning with a bad cold/flu. I must have caught something from my nieces. Kids are always carrying germs they pick up in school. I had to postpone a Silver League tennis match I had scheduled this afternoon. I've felt like shit all day.

When I checked Katya's face a little while ago, it seemed less misshapen than before. And I don't think she stinks as much, although it's hard to tell with my nose stuffed up.

Now if I could just get her to eat.

No comments: