Last days

by Diane Duane
Squeak in winter coat

I need to write about this now, as it’s only going to get more difficult if I put it off.

Despite our hopes that Mr. Squeak would see some relatively long-term improvement in his general condition after the time he spent in the vet hospital early in April on being diagnosed with renal failure syndrome, and despite a brief period during the middle of the month when he was genuinely doing better, the tide is unfortunately turning for the worse.

When he was released from the hospital, Squeak was put on meds for blood pressure management and to improve what remains of his renal function. At first he responded pretty well to these, and around the middle of the month he started acting more like the cat we knew from before last winter — being up and around a lot more, demanding food every time someone walked into the kitchen, getting in your face in bed in the morning (normally by sitting on your chest and purring deafeningly until you surrendered to the inevitable and got up and fed him), hanging around with whoever was up and working, and snoozing on and off when he was convinced that tthings were going well enough that he could relax his attention.

But it didn’t last. Last week his appetite started slowly dropping off again. This week he’s eaten very little: not even the roast turkey for which he would have in better days nearly knocked you down is sufficient to tempt him. When he does eat, he has trouble getting it down. He’s grown visibly weaker. He spends almost all the day curled up and sleeping in the box where his much-missed mate Beemer used to sleep before she was killed by traffic nearly two years ago.

It’s getting to be time to make the final call to the local vet.

We’re going to give him a last couple of days to see whether there’s some change in his fortunes. But frankly, I’m not betting on it. I’ve seen often enough what it looks like when someone stops responding to their medications. It was always a long shot that the meds would have any significant effect with a cat whose kidneys were probably down to 5% or 10% of their normal function.  This time I think the dice have fallen against us. And there is no kindness to Squeak — and no respect for his lifelong, considerable dignity — in trying to keep him around any longer in hopes that things will magically get better. Here as elsewhere, entropy is running.


I want to take a moment to thank everyone very much who took the time to stop by the shop to buy things that would help defray the expenses of renal diet food and so forth. Squeaky really did like it, for as long as his appetite was improving, and it won’t go to waste; Squeak’s padawan apprentice Goodman likes the k/d food too (and at thirteen-plus is of an age to be eating it anyway. An upcoming priority is to get him over to the vet too in fairly short order to have bloods drawn and see how his own kidney health stands).

And now we wait, For the moment, Squeaky is lying out in the sun, snoozing — the first time in months that we’ve seen him do that (but we’ve been kind of short on sunshine around here until very recently). I hope the next couple of days stay sunny.

One postscript here: Peter tells me he won’t be blogging about this, but he too thanks eveybody for all the kind thoughts we know will be coming our, and Squeak’s, way. And I thank you all too.


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