Friday, January 2, 2009

Kitty IV

Welcome to the fourth installment of my Dying Cat series of posts. However, the IV in my title does not necessarily refer to the next sequence after Kitties I, II, and III.

The IV stands for intravenous, which how my poor sweetheart baby kitty is getting rehydrated as I type. Katya's at the kitty hospital being stuck with needles so that she can get some emergency fluids into her. She'll be there all weekend.

I've never done anything like this before. And neither has Katya. We've both learned a lot about veterinary care over the past two months.

On the estimate the vet's office gave me, which is $312 for the entire weekend, the treatment is called "Fluid Therapy." That's funny, because when I think of the kind of "fluid therapy" I use on myself, it usually involves lots of alcohol. And it has the opposite effect of hydrating myself.

Katya's taken a turn for the worse. On top of all the problems she's had recently, now she's peeing on the carpet, walking funny, and has trouble jumping up onto the bed. The vet I saw today, the fourth different one I've talked to in the past month, doesn't expect her to live through the next month. Today I learned that she's dangerously, severely, painfully dehydrated, which has also led to extreme constipation. Even if we can rehydrate her, that only buys her a few more weeks.

The vet gave me two options: put her to sleep now or do the emergency IV fluid therapy. Since I'm not ready to say goodbye to her (Katya, not the vet), I decided to make her comfortable. She'll feel better after she gets some fluids into her and gets (may God save my soul) two enemas to relieve the constipation. And yes, I'm well aware of the line I've just crossed by blogging about my cat's enema. At least I didn't use the phrase "impacted fecal matter." Until now.

I've already crossed all kinds of lines as a neurotic pet owner. When I dropped Katya off at the vet for her weekend stay, I gave the vet tech her favorite blanket, her heat pad, her Pink Bunny, and detailed instructions about how each one can comfort her best.

Then I asked sheepishly, "I don't suppose you have visiting hours?" Sure, the vet tech said, you can just call and tell us when you want to come by. "Can I tell you right now when I plan to come by?" So I made an appointment to visit my cat in the hospital tomorrow morning at 11:00. Like I said, I've never done anything like this before.

I know that someday, and this day may be soon, I will have to play God. I will have to decide when my cat dies. It's a gut-wrenching decision, and I'm not ready to make it yet. And if I can control at least one thing, it's that she's not going to die from dehydration.

She's going to die in a murder-suicide pact with her sister.

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