So for those who don’t know, I wrote a post on Wednesday evening, partly in order to stave off a sense of panic and dread because my beloved companion of the past fourteen and a half years was critically ill. For a brief recap, Kuroneko was pretty much her normal self on Sunday but when I came home from work the next afternoon, though she had eaten all of her food, she looked just horrible. Droopy, uninterested in attention and just unusually thirsty. Still I wasn’t especially worried, she had had bouts with a sour stomach fairly often in the past several years. She’s getting to be an old lady after all.

   The next morning things were significantly worse and by Wednesday she hadn’t eaten since Monday and hadn’t had any water to the best of my knowledge since Tuesday. When she tried to use her litterbox, she cried loudly and produced very little in the way of feces, I packed her up to the vet before I went to work and dropped her off. As her treatment progressed and she remained unresponsive, her prognosis became poorer and poorer. By Thursday night, I was arranging to take her back to the land that she was born on to bury her in the pet cemetery my friend had created, Friday morning came and she had little interest in food and the fluids hadn’t dislodged the dark spot in her small intestine so an ultrasound was recommended. Though her bloodwork hadn’t indicated cancer, it couldn’t entirely rule it out either.

  The ultrasound revealed that the “mass” on the x-ray wasn’t a mass at all but a thickening of the intestinal wall. I was told it could be cancer or scar tissue from IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The only way to tell for sure was a biopsy which would mean invasive surgery. I had never intended to subject my 14 year old cat to such surgery. It wasn’t about the money, it was the fact that recovery from that kind of surgery for an older cat is not assured at all and imo would just amount to cruelty. After consulting with the doctor, I was scheduled to pick her up. I got her back from the hospital, along with about five medications and a very expensive bag of prescription food. We had decided to treat for IBS and I left with what I thought was about at most a 50-50 shot at her recovering to some extent.

  So we got home and though she was battered and exhausted, she already seemed more energetic than when she had left. The treatment had stabilized her that much, though I was told she still wasn’t especially interested in food. I read the instructions for administering the medicines and threw out the Iams in her bowl and replaced with the prescription diet and got her some wet food to see if I could tempt her. To my surprise she didn’t wait for me to clear a spot on the table where I feed her but she jumped on my desk and started in! 

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Neko’s first meal back home. Note the blue bandage on the right foreleg.

    After she ate a bit from the bowl, she had some water and discovered the prescription food and wouldn’t you know, she ate ravenously. She drank from her bowl a few more times and made some tentative trips to the litterbox. After making me bleed for having the temerity to medicate her, we went to bed. I had to work yesterday so when I left I feared that she would relapse while I was gone but when I got home I saw that she looked much better. Not full bars for certain but definitely better. This morning she actually ran to the top of the cat tree in the bedroom and made it to the top with just a slight stumble at the end.

   She’s been alternately sleeping and being clingy with me all day but her recovery continues. The best milestone came when I cleaned out her box, which I have to do daily now in order to monitor her output, and I found not one but two caches of normal looking cat poop, all done without the awful yeowling. So I’m hoping and guessing that cancer isn’t her problem and that we’re treating in the right direction.

   Only time will tell if her recovery will continue. The medications are now stopped, (as she pooped) and I am treating with the prescription diet and probiotics. I’ll have to start giving her weekly B-12 injections but I can do that and continue to support her with a healthier diet. One thing that I have decided not to do is any more extreme interventions. It’s not about the money, it’s about a 14 year old, (or hopefully much older when the time comes) cat having the same right to die with dignity as any human does. I won’t cruelly extend her life in order to comfort myself. I look at every day that we have together from here on out as a bonus, something that both of us earned through perseverance and gritting it out. Did I use ‘Second Life” in the title” It’s really for all intents and purposes her ninth and she’s officially entered the old lady stage of her life. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do for her what I can to keep her healthy but we are both just savoring our chance to be together some more for now. We have been together for her entire life and for almost a quarter of mine to date but I’m going to let her go when she decides it’s time, she deserves that from me.

   Anyway, so after I found the ordinary looking kitty twix, she has once again returned to complaining that I have forgotten to feed her for her entire life when I’m banging around in the kitchen. I can’t tell you how welcome that relentless, annoying, plaintive meowing was! There are some changes in her behavior since she’s come home. It’s as though she’s left childish things like the string and blanket game behind for now in favor of a more sedate, tender interaction. Which is fine. Things are obviously going to be different moving forward. No more human food for example. No more roughhousing and chair spinning. She’s my old fart now and I’m going to treat her with the dignity she deserves. She’ll let me know if and when she wants to play more vigorously again.

   Thanks a lot for reading this far if you have and I’ll leave you with this last image:

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Kuroneko and her stoopid hooman back in our natural state
Sunday, Nov 21, 2021 · 9:40:37 PM +00:00 · MargaretPOA

Kuroneko has finally gotten out of bed. She ate some food, drank some water, used the box without a peep, loved on me a bit and went back to bed. No denying she’s still very much affected by events of the past week but she did show the slightest bit of interest in her favorite string. Her purr is much louder and stronger today. I think she continues to improve.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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