Thursday, August 21, 2014
Then there were 8
I knew it was coming, but it's still hard.
He'd lost a bit of weight recently, but nothing alarming -- he was always overweight. His eyes had been a bit runny lately, but he was always the poster child for upper respiratory infections. He was lethargic lately, but he'd always been a bit of a slug.
But . . . put them all together, and it didn't seem right.
I put him on his standard respiratory infection antibiotics, and for two days, he seemed a bit better. His eyes stopped running, at least, but he was still sluggish and not particularly interested in food. For a cat who was 25 pounds at his peak, that was worrying.
I'm off work tomorrow, so I decided today that I would see how he looked in the morning, and if it seemed that things were truly worse, I would take him down to the University of Penn's veterinary emergency room and let him go peacefully.
Then I came home from work, and the decision was much easier. He'd moved since I left in the morning, but he'd pulled down a plastic bag to lie on, and instead of getting up to go to the litterbox, he'd messed on the bag, and was lying in it. That's not the behavior of a cat who's going to recover anytime soon.
I wrapped him in a towel, popped him in a carrier, and headed out. The hospital is only 6 blocks away, and it was easier to walk -- Penn's move-in has started and there are street closures between here and there. That ruled out taking a cab, and Mario wasn't home yet, so the car wasn't available. I ran into Mario, however, halfway to the hospital, so we ended up saying goodbye to Arch together.
The vet who looked him over agreed that there was something seriously amiss, and also agreed (as my regular vet might not have) that my choice was a totally reasonable one considering the alternative was putting a sick, 14 year old cat through tests that might well tax what little strength he had left.
Archie didn't look like much on the table, wrapped in a different towel to cover the stickiness, with an IV in his arm for the needles.
I prefer to remember him as the tiny kitten I brought home one day in November, 2001, cold and wet and having been rescued from a bunch of rock-throwing kids, zipped safely into my leather jacket next to my heart.