the all-important cat update

Sorry for the delayed post. It has been a complicated few weeks.

Oscar, at age 18, has had a challenging year. It all started about 6 months ago, when Oscar started pooping outside his litter box. He had never done this before (outside of the occasional accident) so I took him to the vet. Thus began a concentrated focus on cat poo that I never thought possible … and roller coaster ride of emotions.

First came the blood tests, then urine tests, then the cancer screening. That latter one was a kick in the gut. I know he is the equivalent of a person in their late 80s, but the thought of Oscar having cancer broke my heart. I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

So, what’s up with the lad? In the end, things seemed fairly normal and he there is no sign of cancer or other horrible disease. His calcium is a little high, but not too bad. My sense was that, with the changes in his dry and wet food that were related to mild kidney disease, he was just not eating right. When he ate the new wet food, he sometimes got diarrhea, so he didn’t eat it – he also just didn’t like the taste. Then, he would get dehydrated and it was hard to go to the bathroom.

Rather than spend a small fortune on testing, we made some pragmatic changes. His diet included a mix of the old and new dry foods. We went back to the old wet cat food in the evening and added more old wet food in the morning. Occasionally, I throw in some of the new wet food, but, let’s be honest, he doesn’t like it and won’t eat it.

We switched out the litter box for one with a low entry, so it was easier for him to walk in and out instead of jumping. We added a second box over near where he was pooping. Unfortunately, it is near my mother’s space. Good sport that she is, she went along with this. I guess she figured: better a litter box nearby than stepping in something, um, icky first thing in the morning.

And … it all seemed to be working fine … until one morning a couple of weeks ago when it was no longer working. Now, we frequently have cat poo on between the litter box and my mother’s bed. Also, his walk has changed. Oscar always had a slow, low-slung lanky walk – like a lion ambling across the savannah – but now there is almost an arch in his back, his legs are stiff and his steps minced. He is in pain.

So, we have moved into the “let’s spend a small fortune” part of our program. Back to the vet we go. The doctor very thorough: his back and both hips have gotten worse and yes, it is painful. So it’s painkillers for a week and shots to help his hips – for the rest of his life. Waiting for test results ….

My poor boy. I love him so.

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