Internets, you know I have had four cats/now have three cats, yes? I believe you are familiar with them.
In 2009, we had to say goodbye to Opus, our wonderful and nutty Bubby, at the age of 20 (less a month). Well, now we are moving on to the second of our kitties, Cinnamon, who turns 16 next month.
Cinnamon had a vet appointment last month, her annual checkup, and it was determined that she was losing a lot of weight. A LOT. Like, 2 pounds over the year since her last checkup. It was thought that she might have thyroid problems, so we did a month of medication to try to encourage her to put on some weight. Plus, she has for years had a bit of a dodgy heart, so the meds were hopefully going to help even that out.
At her follow-up weigh-in this week, we found she was not gaining weight. And her dodgy heart was getting, well, dodgier. Between that and declining kidneys, the prognosis was not great, and our beloved vet basically let us know that we were starting the long, slow walk to our goodbye to Cinnamon.
Anyone who followed our time with Opus knows that we are no strangers to geriatric pet care. OH NO WE ARE NOT. Opus had us dancing attendance on her, answering her every beck and call, for the last ten years of her life. A lot of it was for her, but a lot of it was for us, too — protecting our stuff from the rampaging pee machine, the incredible barfing kitty, that Teh Bubby had become in her declining years.
So we kind of know the drill with the old cats.
Except this time, it’s much different. See, with Opus, who was sick for much of her long and wacky life, every major illness was a production number. It was all KAPOW! KIDNEY FAILURE! or WHAMMO! PANCREATITIS! or even TADAAAA! KIDNEY STONES! It was always a VERY BIG DEAL and cost a VERY LOTS OF MONEYS. And just for fun, she always did it when we were having a major life event — a miscarriage, a holiday, an adoption, whatever — so that we always knew Who Was Really In Charge.
But with Cinnamon, who has never really ever caused us even a lick of trouble… well with Cinnamon, she’s just sort of going to fade away. Just declining, ever so slightly, bit by bit. I mean, as far as we can tell — it’s hard to say if her heart will become a Major Issue or if her kidneys will go or what. We just don’t know.
And it’s hard.
She’s still herself, just a skinny and tired version of herself. She’s still happy and full of love. But as this progresses, she will become less like herself. And the thing is, there’s really nothing we can do.
It will be hard.
Right now, as an offsetting measure, we’ve started her on some appetite stimulants, hoping that if she puts on some weight it will help her overall health and maybe stem the decline somewhat. Today is her first day, and I have to tell you: KITTEH IS HUNGRY.
REALLY HUNGRY. It’s 2 pm, and so far today, she has eaten more than she has been recently eating in a whole day. She can’t stop eating. She’s like a junkie on a binge wanting to eat a whole box of twinkies. She’s been looking at Duncan and Lucy with that look you see in cartoons, where hungry characters look at friends, but the thought bubble over their heads shows a roast chicken. I went down to feed her at lunch time, and she was SHOUTING AT ME. Or picturing me smothered in barbeque sauce; I couldn’t really tell.
So that’s a nice change. Let’s hope it lasts for awhile.
In the meantime, I monitor and watch and worry. I’m getting used to the idea that She Will Die. I mean, I know they all will, we all will, but the initial delivery of that message where our sweet little girlie was concerned came as a bit of a shock. She still LOOKS like a kitten, and has never looked like she was getting older, and so it’s all seeming so sudden.
I know it’s not. Cinnamon probably does too. She’s probably been poorly for some time, but in her ‘fraidy cat way, quietly doing so by herself in her own basement comfort space.
So, here’s hoping her newfound hunger puts on some weight, which helps her overall health. And here’s hoping that keeps her with us for a little longer yet.
In the meantime, we wait and watch. But if you don’t hear from me for a few days, call the authorities to come see if, in fact, I did not actually end up smothered in barbeque sauce and roasted on a spit by certain very hungry members of the household. Tell them, when they come, to look for a little orange kitty with a steak knife. And bring a box of twinkies as a bargaining tool, just in case.