When I last posted in October, my kittyboy Nate was doing very well, despite stage 4 kidney failure and a host of other ailments. Unfortunately, Dead Cat Walking is no longer walking (at least not here).
While he was boarding at the vet’s in mid-March he had routine bloodwork to see how he was doing, and his kidney values came back alarmingly high. Worse, a subsequent x-ray revealed fluid in his lungs and an enlarged heart.
I’d spent almost a full year expecting the end to come at any time, but the diagnosis still came as a surprise. Nate had been doing very well, and hadn’t shown any outward signs that he was so ill. Even while boarding he ate well, enjoyed attention, and showed no sign that there was anything wrong with him. As my vet said, “He just doesn’t seem to know he’s a sick cat.”
But there was nothing to be done for him. Reducing his dosage of sub-q fluids to ease the strain on his heart and lungs would send his kidney values even higher, and giving him IV fluids in an attempt to bring his kidney values down would only add to the fluid in his lungs and hasten heart failure. Either way, he was out of luck. We didn’t know how much longer he might live, but it was not going to be long.
When I brought him home from boarding on a Saturday afternoon, he was noticeably less energetic than he had been when I dropped him off three days before. On Sunday and Monday he was still active, and even went outside for a while, but no longer jumped the fence or tried to go very far. By Tuesday evening it was clear he was in decline, and while he didn’t seem to be in any pain and was eating and using the box as always, I decided to make a euthanasia appointment for the following Monday.
But by Wednesday morning I knew he wasn’t going to make it to Monday. He was much weaker than he had been the night before, and even getting up to eat took huge effort. Six days hadn’t seemed like much the day before, but it now seemed like forever.
I had a bit of a meltdown when I realized there was nothing more I could do for him. I’d spent almost a full year buying him more time in tiny increments, always hoping we could get another two or three good months before his time was up–and now it really was up. So I dried my eyes, called the vet, and calmly made the euthanasia appointment for the following morning. It was time, and it was the right thing to do.
When I first brought Nate home from the emergency vet’s last April, still weak and frail post-crash, I thought I’d get maybe two more months with him, three if we were really lucky (and I could get over my fear of giving him sub-qs). My vet was no more optimistic; his numbers were so lousy (and stayed so lousy), it was amazing he was still there at all. But Nate made it almost a full year–356 days, to be exact–and because of him, and that year, nothing will ever be the same.
It will sound crazy to a lot of people, but that one sickly little orange cat changed me and changed my life in ways I’m still only beginning to comprehend. I am not the same person I was, I no longer view the world in the same way I once did, and I have plans for the future that I never would have considered before. And it’s all thanks to my little dude, my buddy, Dead Cat Walking.
As for how things have changed? Well, that’s a pretty good incentive for me to write another post. Or a bunch of them. Stay tuned…