I'm not big into crying. And I don't mean the tiny sniffles that come with one of those Humane Society commercials, or the tear that sneaks down your cheek during some terribly emotional scene in a movie/show/book/life event - I mean crying. Tears, sniffles, puffy face and eyes, feeling like your heart is breaking, crying. To me, it's a huge sign of weakness that I have never been able to afford. So, when I break down, things are usually really, seriously, bad.
At 3:30 this morning I started crying. And I quickly went past the upset cry into the had-to-shove-a-pillow-in-my-face weeping, where I was hiccuping, gasping, and thought my soul was shattering. While I've been able to maintain some semblance of control, the tears have been here all day - along with sporadic cry fests. I'm fighting the good fight, trying to gain composure and find strength again, but I feel like I'm failing.
Backstory - My cat, Princess, gave birth to Frost, Gunther, and Saphyra a little over 8 years ago. I have 5 more cats, and for the most part, everyone gets along. Princess and her kittens (who have always been called either the triplets, or the kittens - even though they're 8) are the bullies of the house - everyone is wary of them and basically lets them do whatever. They occasionally get into trouble for picking fights with the other cats, but by no means are they abused, neglected, or ignored. All 9 of my cats are ridiculously spoiled and pampered. People tell me that if reincarnation exists, they want to come back as one of my cats - their lives are that good. The cats are like children to me. They are my babies and while that may be silly to some, I love them as much as I would a human child.
They free feed on specialty dry food, have fountains and almost all our sinks have water trickling from the spouts. They get shaker treats almost weekly, along with moist food on special occasions, and people food scraps. Each cat has their favorite treat.
What's wrong - A little over two weeks ago, we went to Kentucky for 5 days to visit some of my family. When we returned, I started a new position at work - working days. So the first time in our relationship, we're working the same schedule. On Saturday, my husband randomly stated that Gunther was looking thin. As he is our lean cat, this was not abnormal, so I blew it off. We continued our weekend activities as normal. On Monday, Gunther came to beg for some table scraps because I was eating fries with Ranch - one of his favorite treats. I gave him the Ranch cup, he sniffed it, and sat back down. It was then that I noticed his weight loss. I could see his hip bones. When I pet him, I could feel his ribs and each one of his vertebrae.
We immediately took him to kitty ER where they ran a ton of tests, strapped an IV to him, and pushed fluids through him. They kept him overnight, not finding anything medically wrong with him. Some of his levels were elevated, but that could've been because of the stress of being in the ER and the 45 minute drive to get there. So I picked him up in the morning and took him to our vet, where he stayed the day, continuing to get fluids. She sent him home with us last night, along with liquid food that we are to force-feed him four times a day. He HATES this.
He still has the IV strapped to his leg, just in case he doesn't start eating on his own and we have to take him back to the vet. Last night we decided to lock him into the spare room that our oldest cat usually shares with our youngest. They were both kicked out into the living room so Gunther could sleep, eat, and poop in peace. At 3:30 this morning, he decided he was done being in that room and ran out as I was opening the door to give him some liquid food. Every ounce of food and water that had been left for him was still there. Upon his escape to the rest of the house, he pooped, and went into one of the window seats and promptly went back to sleep. This was when I finally lost it. My baby is starving himself to death - and there's nothing I can do about it. At 6, we force-fed him some food. At 9, he started vomiting. By 11:30, my vet had heard from me five times. They have limited hours on Wednesdays, so we are taking him back in tomorrow for more tests, antibiotics, medications, fluids, force-feedings, and observation.
I have never felt so terrible in my life. Helpless, frustrated and impotent don't even begin to touch on the bone-deep desperation I feel. I know I'm going to outlive my kids. I'm not in denial about that. But he's only 8 - and there's NOTHING wrong with him. I'm not ready. And I don't know what to do.
That's probably the hardest part. The not knowing how to help your kid. Watching him waste away in front of you, and not being able to do a damn thing about it.