I had planned to spend the day finishing up chores and contemplating a New Year's Resolution blog.
I had not planned to spend the day half preparing myself for the pet owner's Decision.
Sutu the Amazing Shrinking Cat, as you may know, has been losing weight for completely unknown reasons. My wonderful vet has tested him for everything under the sun, but all tests have been negative.
We tried medicine, we tried dietary supplements. We've tried anti-anxiety meds (for the cat, not me).
His weight stablized at about 7 pounds (his normal weight was 10 pounds) and since we could find nothing wrong and he didn't seem to be in any unusual distress (he is one of those extreme scaredy-cats), we just let it be.
Last week, I thought I noticed a little weight gain around his belly. Then a couple of days ago, I really noticed a rounded belly. At first I was pleased, but when I thought about it, it didn't make sense. He is still pretty emaciated and if he were gaining weight, he'd fill in his muscle mass first, not put on a round belly.
Yesterday, I could really feel a round, firm belly. It didn't seem to cause him any discomfort when I touched it, other than a general "stop poking my belly" reaction.
Then this morning, Jason said Sutu didn't come out of his hidey-hole for breakfast. I didn't give it too much thought, I opened the cabinet doors and he looked up at me, bright eyed. I mean, this cat isn't in the best mental health.
But when Jason left for work, Sutu didn't come out to sit on my lap like he usually does. He was just laying there, in the cabinet, not doing much of anything. Three hours later, he is still there. I gave him some water and he took a few drinks, but wouldn't touch the food I gave him.
I called the vet who says I should bring him in this afternoon.
So of course, now I'm in half panic mode. What if's running through my mind. Trying to figure out what I'm going to do if it's something serious. Trying to balance what I want against what would be best for this particular cat.
And I know what that is. If it is anything ultimately fatal, that might be delayed by medical intervention, Sutu won't stand for it. He hides for days after a routine vet visit. He runs in terror when I have to give him a pill. He throws up if furniture is moved to a new position.
I know I'll have to put him down. So I'm preparing myself for that. Jason asked me if I was prepared for that. Yes. No. Yes, I'm prepared to do what is going to be best for Sutu. No, how are you ever really prepared to order the death of a pet?
The least conflicted I've ever felt about it was with my old Miss Kitty, who was almost 17, diabetic, arthritic to the point of hardly being able to walk and in kidney failure. It was a kindness at that point.
And so I'll spend today mentally girding myself for this visit and it'll probably be that he's constipated and just needs to poop and he'll be around for another 10 years or so, happily hiding in his cabinet.