Warning: this post references lots of bodily fluids and yucky stuff.
I took Rex to the vet yesterday. He hadn’t eaten since Thursday or Friday of last week. You might say I’m a bad cat owner, but hold on a minute. Rex is a predator. He eats lizards, mice, moles, voles, insects and squirrels. And who knows what else. It seemed entirely possible that his stomach might be upset from digesting whatever the heck he ate. I wanted to give him time to get over it.
Rex isn’t much of a vomiter. If he does start, he will at least trot to the linoleum. Chloe holds the honor of chief vomitess. She used to throw up at least weekly, green gushy stuff that stains. So when I found clear spit up on the carpet, I knew it had to be him. Then I found some green soupy stuff pooled upstairs on the study floor. Time to get serious.
When I put Rex into the cat carrier, he felt lighter. He didn’t struggle, like he usually does. I opened the door and shoved. He tried bracing his legs, yet I won. He complained a bit on the way to the vet, but it was as if he knew he needed to go. I heard no protests from the blue box.
The vet tech had me put him up on the shiny examination table, on top of a white towel.
“He’s a big boy,” she said, petting him and admiring his shiny black sleekness. Rex looked peeved.
“He’s usually around 20 lbs,” I said.
She leaned over and picked him up.
“I’m guessing about 15 lbs,” she said as she placed him on the scale. Rex weighed in at 15 lbs, 3 ounces. She reminded me of those labor and delivery nurses who can put their hands on your pregnant belly and accurately predict the size of your baby, like my cousin. Instead of baby whisperer, she was a cat whisperer.
The tech looped a bungee-type leash around Rex’s neck so he wouldn’t bolt. She took his temperature. Rex didn’t even peep. Not even a hiss. I knew he wasn’t well.
We waited for the doctor. A dog outside in the waiting room barked. Rex started. He did not like the idea of a dog right on the other side of the slider. He listened, ready to bolt. The dog calmed down. Rex turned his head away from me. He leaned against the wall. He closed his eyes. Anywhere but here, his expression said.
The doctor joined us. He asked Rex’s age.
“Rex is 9, I believe, ” I said.
“Ah,” he said. “Well, he doesn’t have a temperature.”
Whew! I thought.
He palpated Rex’s abdomen. He felt up Rex’s bladder. Rex looked alarmed. He stuck a narrow flashlight into Rex’s ears. He forced open his mouth and examined his teeth.
“Look at those teeth,” he clucked. “They’re awful. Both sides.”
Years ago, we were told we should be brushing Rex’s teeth. The vet offered to do it for $250. Gulp. No! And Rex would bite our fingers off or scratch us to pieces before we got his teeth brushed. No dopes, us.
“Well,” Dr. Eddie said, sitting himself down on the bright yellow vinyl bench seat. “Rex’s age makes it a real possibility for kidney or thyroid trouble.”
I knew this. Our old cat, Rita, died of kidney failure. What a miserable way to go. She drank more often and peed more often. Then she started throwing up bile, green goo. She got weaker and weaker. We had her put down.
I swallowed, listening, sending a silent prayer for Rex’s healing.
“Let’s give him an anti-nausea shot, and a pill and do a blood draw. We’ll try and figure out what’s going on with him.”
I took Rex home again. He meowed several times to let me know he didn’t appreciate the trip. At all. Once safely in the carport, I opened the carrier and released the cat. He strolled out and kept on meowing. He wandered around, in and out of the house. I went back to work.
When I got home last night, he was still talking. He had lot to say. So much, in fact, that I dumped the old food out of his bowl and replaced it with a little fresh. Then, miracle of miracles, he ate a few nuggets. I know because he started cleaning his face. Things started looking up.
I should mention the vet wanted us to try giving him some canned cat food – emergency type stuff.
“You should mix it with water and put it in a syringe. Then, down his gullet,” the assistant said.
“Not happening,” I said. The last time we tried medicating Rex, it took a lot of sweaty effort, an old towel and a few choice words under our breath.
Zac, Rex’s rightful owner, dutifully opened the small can of cat/dog food and mixed it with water. He put it on the floor in front of Rex. Rex sniffed it and walked away. Chloe, not one to waste anything, scarfed it up. Rex can be a bit of a gourmand. Plus, anything that smacks of medicine, he avoids.
Today, he ate a couple of slivers of rotisserie chicken. Don’t worry, I gave some to Chloe too. He drank a couple of dainty sips of milk. Chloe slurped up the rest. Rex reminded us again about how maligned he was, getting poked with sharp objects and dosed with medicine.
Me, I couldn’t stop grinning. I think he’s going to make it after all.