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Our cat Artemis had been having trouble eating for a while now, and we were under the impression from our vet that it was because of her teeth. The vet was going to do something to her teeth, but her protein levels were off, so he had us switch to a different kind of cat food for older cats to try to settle the levels thereby allowing whatever surgical process was needed. She didn't like that cat food at all, and ate less and less until it got to a point where she wasn't eating anything at all. That prompted another vet visit. This time she stayed at the vets office for four and a half days, with the unsettling prospect that we might not get her back. We finally got to bring her home on Monday, but she was *not* herself. She showed little interest in anyone or anything, she did not move around much and when she did she was extremely unsteady, and she continued not to eat or drink. We've been force feeding her watered down cat food through a syringe twice a day. She manages to spill or spit up half, so it's a messy, stinky, and all around unpleasant process. We also have to force down two pills and a syringe of whitish liquid (an antacid) twice a day. Finally, because she isn't getting enough liquid through food and water, we have to hydrate her with an IV twice a day. It has been a horrible emotional roller coaster, and I've been steeling myself by saying "just make it to Monday" when we take her back to the vet. Words cannot describe how hard this has been and how much we have cried this week. Last Monday I honestly did not think she would make it to next Monday, and I prayed she just made it long enough to get past Monkeys's belated birthday party, so that he didn't have any associations with that. (At least it wasn't his actual birthday...)

Monday through Wednesday I didn't see much hope. Thursday was a little better as she drank some water on her own and seemed to acknowledge us more when we went in the bedroom. Friday was a great day. She preened herself for the first time since she got home, and she messed with her scratching post. I was stunned. It was the first time she actively expressed any interest in the world. It was also the first time I stopped worrying about her making it to Monday. The food and IV seemed to go more easily that day, too. Yesterday was amazing. She left the bedroom, she played with Cassie's scratching post, she "ate" three syringes of food, she drank water on her own, and she finally started seeking out people to pet her. We were having a birthday party for Monkeys (which we called off and reinstated twice over the course of the week out of stress), and I had been planning on letting friends know to use this as an opportunity to go into the bedroom to say their goodbyes to Artemis. Artemis is about 15 years old and many of our friends knew her as a kitten, so it was hard for them, too. We still sent people in there, but it was much less somber as this no longer seemed like a last chance to say goodbye. In fact, Artemis came out of the room and wandered amongst us for a while. (She was probably trying to sneak out in the garage - our biggest fear is she goes out there for a quiet, solitary place to end - but still she did wander all through the house!) This morning has been awesome, as well. When I woke up, she was an inch from my face, just like the old days!! She hadn't done that all week, so it was like she was finally starting to be Artemis again, instead of the zombie cat we brought home. Everything that had made her Artemis had been missing, but now we have started seeing bits of her personality showing through the fog.

We know this is just temporary. We know when we take her in on Monday, if the tests show no improvement to her protein levels we will be saying goodbye very soon. Even if the tests are improved, we'll still be saying goodbye this year. But I have found a lot of solace in the fact that today I held the real Artemis. It's funny how the thing that annoyed me most of all - her frequent attempts to seemingly smother me in the night by sleeping on my face - is the thing that made me most happy.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 14th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she did seem a little more spritely when she wandered into the kitchen last night. She wasn't running, but I was happy to see her walking around looking at stuff.
Please keep me updated!
Sep. 15th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
You are sooooooooooooo awesome. Thank you so much for offering to come with us. I will call or email after the visit when we know more.
Sep. 14th, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, you must be so worried about her! I hope she is feeling better soon.
Sep. 15th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)
I was so happy to see her wandering around. I know how hard this has to be... I went through it with Baka too... now, everytime he seems slightly "off" I tend to freak. It's almost crazy how we attach ourselves to these seemingly frail creatures. But I wouldn't trade them for anything.

P.S. Please keep me updated too?
Sep. 15th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
When we saw the vet last week they gave her two weeks or less, so I'm stunned and hopeful over how much she seems to have improved. We'll find out tomorrow in the follow-up visit if this outward manifestation reflects an actual chemical difference within. It will be the difference between weeks or months.

The big problem is, if her levels have not improved it means she will start having painful seizures.
Sep. 15th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
I remember cradling my previous kitty at 3am in the kitchen floor, crying quietly like a girl knowing that she'd be gone soon... okay, the Captain needs to go away for awhile, he has something in his eye.... :_(
Sep. 15th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
All you can do is love her as much as you can for as long as you can. Having lost 2 cats this year I totally know how you feel. Even if things go poorly this next week.... remember you had this one week to love and charish her. That was the only think that helped with Pooka.

If the terrible happens and you have her cremated, I will always be ready to make her into beads.

I love you and if you need someone who understands exactly what you are going threw let me know.
Sep. 15th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
I was going to ask you if you could do some beads. I haven't asked Monkeys yet because I haven't gotten up the guts to ask too many questions. (It's just too sad.)

But I actually meant to talk to you about it while you were here. I would like to have her honored that way. Thank you so much for mentioning that.
Sep. 15th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
Of course! I love you too much not to do it. :D
Sep. 15th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry. I remember Artemis when she was a tiny kitten that fit in the palm of your hand. I still have her son Hermes (His original name was Sherbert).
Sep. 15th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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