Things got dicey again on Saturday morning and Pete went to ground. Dicey is subjective. This dude has most likely been extremely uncomfortable or in a great deal of pain most or all of his life.
Dicey is subjective. This is Pete on a good day:
- Sits in his basket and glares at me
- Eats and drinks
- Re-enacts the volcano scenes from Close Encounters (litter box mountains)
- Mostly stays out of the couch. Mostly.
- Follows me into the bedroom at night and lurks under the bed. This is to make sure he knows where I'm at all the time because dog knows what I'm likely to do next
- On a REALLY good day, he goes to town on the arm of the couch after lights out (I'm good with that. Rip it up, dude)
- Twice now, I've heard him batting about a piece of paper from room to room. When he's sure I'm asleep. But just twice.
- Once, just once, he gave himself an entire kitty bath from inside the kitty condo, after which he curled up with a great sigh and relaxed
This is Pete on a not so good day:
- Has to be removed from inside the couch two or three times (it's not a good place for a kitty with a bad eye to be spending his time, but I get it)
- Accepts no treats, not even roast chicken fresh from the oven
- Eats only when he thinks I'm asleep or gone
- Uses the litter box in the middle of the night as quietly as possible (on a good day he's noisy enough to wake me up)
- Huddles at the back of the kitty condo
- Has to be in a towel burrito so tight he can't move
- His eye has to be pried open for drops
- Goes to ground
Going to ground, for Pete, in this apartment, means getting as far under the bed as he can and not moving. It means not eating. It means not drinking. It means not using the litter box because he doesn't have a need. It means that the antibiotics and eye drops in conjunction with being cornered and burrito'd twice a day caused enough stress to make the cure worse than the problem.
On Monday morning he was back in his kitty condo but not happy.
On Monday morning we went to the kitty eye doctor and I was finally at that first choice point. To continue or to end his suffering. I sat there and cried in the room with the vet and the tech. They were very understanding. There was no judgement.
I agreed to try new eye drops and new pills because he took the pill pockets (empty) and treats when dropped into the carrier. That means I need to buy different treats. Treats he actually likes.
The eye drops are basically steroids. One drop in his right eye every eight hours. I've had to keep him in a death grip and pry that eye open just to spray his face and hope some of it rains into the eye. The new drops are milky white. I can see where they go.
This morning I didn't have to pry the eye open. This morning, that right eye blinked at me. He might not ever be able to see out of it again, but the swelling has gone down enough for the blink to lubricate the eye.
He's not as sick as he was on Saturday morning.
There's going to be another choice point on January 3. It could be pretty bad, but we'll see. I don't know how I'll choose. I used to know. I used to be super clear that once an animal hit its medical dollar threshold and was still suffering, it was over.
I don't know what I'll do. And that's OK.
Today is a good day. Here's to more good days.
And then there's this, and I've said it before, but it bears repeating because, as a culture, we expect certain behavior from relationships.
The vet said, when he starts feeling better he might be more of what you'd want in a cat.
I said: he owes me nothing. Absolutely nothing. He can be as feral as he wants. He can hide and run from me until the day one of us expires. He owes me nothing.
This cat is the biggest mirror I've got at the moment and I'm damn grateful for it.