Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Wind-up

Well, I had intended to blog about our latest summer vacation and an interesting reading my energy-working mother did for me, but one of my cats is doing badly and it's distracting me from all else.

We got home on Sunday night and a few minutes in she had a sort of seizure: her legs went all wonky and she sort of fell shaking into my hands onto her side and pulled her paws in very tight around her face. A minute later it was over and she was purring and seemed relatively okay, although obviously disoriented.

The next day it happened twice, so I freaked and called the vet. I got her in yesterday (Tuesday) morning and my vet, who is very nice and usually pretty good with whatever the issue is, got very focused on the fact that she was breathing heavy. Breathing issues usually mean fluid around the lungs which usually means heart issues.

Sooo, he kept her all day and took x rays and blood and urine, and in the evening I picked her up and was told that she seemed normal and to call later for the blood and urine test results. On the way home she had another seizure, and later in the night as well. Blargh. Put in another call.

Tonight we got home and noticed that she's always looking to the right, and seems to have to circle to the right to get anywhere. So that's pretty obvious, whatever it is it's neurological. She's there, but she's not really "there". She is clearly not herself and spends all her time curled up in a hiding spot, unable or unwilling to jump up anywhere, sleeping most of the time, visibly confused.

This particular cat, Lila, is the most "ordinary" of my animals, although she is very pretty. When I adopted her I was actually trying to adopt a golden Persian cat from the crazy cat lady who had her and about 15 others. The woman had actually put a screen in her bathroom door so she could shut some of the fosters in there. I imagine that's a pretty clear sign that your dating life is over, the minute you seriously consider a screen in the bathroom door. And she kept giving me reasons why I couldn't have the cat I wanted, and why I should take this other cat "Rifke", a fairly large tortoiseshell and white female housecat that she had stolen from an abusive deli.

I was not amused. I like fancy cats with mushy faces. But as I looked at this cat shaking my head I realized that while all the other cats clamored for food and attention, this one kept her back to us, quietly looking out the window. And it dawned on me that she was very sad and purposely refusing to participate because she didn't need any more rejection in her life. Maybe that was only me attributing human emotions to a cat, but I swear that the vision came over me so quickly that I felt what she was thinking. And so I said, "Yes. Give me that cat."

Rifke became Lila and turned out to be the nicest of my pets. She refuses to fight back no matter what the situation, and she will sit over you on the couch and lick your forehead if you are depressed or sick with a cold. The first time I picked her up and put her on the bed she looked absolutely stunned with happiness, she couldn't believe her fortune. She welcomes any other animal immediately into the apartment with warmth, and has helped me rehabilitate my fucked up dog by quietly spending time with him. He's completely attached to her and they usually sleep near each other. She is the most generous animal I know.

So although she is in my apartment at this moment and purrs when I pet her, I know that much of that is gone and it makes me very sad. I don't have a lot of hope that there is a miracle cure from the vet coming that will snap her out of this obviously serious issue in an aging cat. Interestingly, the vet called me just now while I was in the middle of typing this (9:52 pm, pretty decent guy) and told me it sounds like it's either a stroke or a brain tumor. Either way he said to be prepared to put her down as these things can turn worse quickly. Tomorrow we'll go back in again for another visit to decide whether to put her on palliative drugs to postpone the inevitable, or to simply go with the inevitable.

In the meantime, we're all in suspended animation. Drew sad at work, the dog keeping a respectful but concerned distance, Roquefort confused and sniffing her every few minutes, and Monty, my beloved familiar and the king of the household, actually deigning to lick her on the forehead and admit that he cares.

Lila just lies curled in a ball, when you pet her she presses her head into your hand and sleeps there, purring. Its one of the cutest and most poignant things I've ever had the privilege of participating in, completely quiet and full of acceptance. She's recuperating from one more seizure at the moment and when she's a little less dazed I'm going to talk to her and tell her its okay to go, although truthfully, I'd really rather she didn't.

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