Thursday I made a Saturday vet appointment for Newton, who has been sniffling and sneezing for a week or so. I’d expected he’d just need another round of antibiotics, as he also had a cold in January, with an outside chance that it was something worse.
Thursday night when I got home it started looking worse: He was walking around the house crouched down, kind of crabbing along with his hind legs, and never standing up straight on them. Plus he was having trouble jumping. He also seemed to not be eating his dry food anymore, though he ate wet food. He’s been getting thinner and thinner (he was never a big cat to start with, and now he has hyperthyroidism), so I gave him a lot of wet food for Thursday and Friday.
But Saturday morning he was only walking a few feet at a time before resting, and he didn’t have much interest in the wet food. He just wanted to curl up and sleep on the bed. So I was really worried that the end was near. He turns 18 next month, and he’s outlived his brother Jefferson by 2 years at this point. I know the day will come sometime, but as late as last fall I was joking that he’d outlive all the other cats, as he seemed immortal. We spent parts of Saturday hanging out with him and snuggling him in case this was it for him.
On the drive to the vet he was a little more alert, looking at things out the windows (which he’s always liked to do) and meowing occasionally (he hasn’t meowed much in quite a while).
To cut to the end of the story, Newton has a number of problems, but none of them seem life-threatening by themselves. Taken together, it’s hard to say, but it seems like he could overcome them. He has a cold, and he’s lost some more weight (he’s not quite half the cat he once was, but he’s getting close). He also is dehydrated and is constipated (which may be related). The mystery is why he’s been walking the way he has, as he doesn’t seem to be in pain, doesn’t seem to have arthritis, and doesn’t seem to have any tumors. (I say “seem to” because it’s difficult to be certain – something could always be missed – but they haven’t found any of those things.) My theory is that his constipation is either making him uncomfortable when he walks, or it makes him feel like he’s going to dump everything if he walks normally.
So he spent last night at the vet, and she says he seems a little brighter today. He’s going to spend tonight there too, and then we’ll see. He’s getting antibiotics and hydration and a few other treatments. Maybe a lot for an elderly kitty, but he’s my elderly kitty, dammit!
It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t last the rest of the year, but maybe he’ll surprise me. And in any event I just want him to be comfortable and happy until the time comes.
Meanwhile, we came home from the vet yesterday and found that Roulette had caught Newton’s cold. So I guess it was a real cold and not just reaction to his other ailments. Sigh. So we’ll take her in this afternoon to get her some meds, and visit with Newton at the same time. I don’t know if we’ll have Roulette visit with Newton, but I think she is a little baffled and sad by his absence; she’s been pretty snuggly with us recently.
The bright spot in all this is that yesterday we discovered that Blackjack is able to jump some places we didn’t think he was able to jump anymore due to his own issues. I guess having us pick him up to put him places has made him a little lazy, but when we refuse to do so because we don’t want him to crowd out Newton he just has to take matters into his own hands. The little rascal!