the cat is looking his age

Oscar has always been a beautiful cat and he still is in many ways, but he’s somewhere around 20 years old now and has slowed down considerably. We’re using an old photo here – he’s a bit on the vain side and prefers the older photo for public consumption. He was a stray, so I’m not sure how old he is – he was about 2 when I adopted him almost 18 years ago. While he is hanging in there, we had one of the worst days of his life a few days ago.

I slept in until 6:30 in the morning. Unusual because Oscar usually wakes me up at about 5:15 am with a paw tapping me – firmly but gently – on the cheek. But when I awoke at 6:30, he wasn’t in bed. He was on the floor near my bed. I carried him to the kitchen to give him breakfast. He ate and drank a little but seemed out of it a bit. I went to pick him up and he collapsed – fainted in my arms. He has done this once before. My poor boy. I carried him to the bathroom because last time he pooped – this time he peed. I held him as he came to. I tried to stand him up but his legs wouldn’t hold him, so I put him on the rug near my bed, where he slept the previous night. It was the first time in 18 years that he didn’t make it into my bed.

It took him a while to really come around. He stayed on the rug all day – only getting up to eat or drink a little something. I don’t think he purred all day. I checked on him and he barely acknowledged me. I was afraid we had reach “that point” but wanted to give him more time to recover.

In the morning, I felt the familiar tap on my cheek indicating that he wanted a treat. He got a bunch of treats! My boy was back! He did his usual routine – breakfast, followed by a nap on the rug by my bed – moving to the perch by the bedroom window for a few hours, followed by a nap on the rug by my bed – moving to the perch in the living room for a few hours, followed by a nap on the rug by my bed – dinner, followed by a nap on the rug by my bed …. You get the picture. He engaged with the roommates (me and mom) to keep us happy. Purred a lot.

This is the second fainting spell in as many months. I haven’t called the doctor because I know what will happen. There will be tests … lots of them. And maybe new medication that may or may not work. The reality is that Oscar is pretty healthy for the equivalent of a mid-90-year-old person. He’s comfortable, engages with us, moves around to his favorite spots, gets treats on a regular basis and generally runs his own life, doing as he pleases. Doesn’t sound bad to me!

I had hoped we were past the worst. But last night, he could hardly walk. I had given him his medicine as usual, but there was clearly something wrong. I carried him back and forth between his food and his rug. I petted him while he purred. So we face the other reality: Oscar is mortal, he will likely have more bad days coming, and I will probably need to make a decision that I don’t want to make.

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