Had a huge scare last Thursday night.
Got home from work and was home for about a half-hour or so and noticed that Chester was nowhere to be found.
I eventually found him in the bedroom closet – where he had been all day.
Side note: We keep the cats out of bedroom closet because we don’t want to have cat hair all over all our clothes!
Now Chester is fourteen and a half years old, and he has a tendency to get dehydrated. When he gets dehydrated, he gets constipated. When he can’t go, it makes him throw up/dry heave. This happens when he hasn’t been locked in a closet all day.
I found him asleep on top of a pile of my sweaters (of course on the black one!); he sleepily blinked at me, jumped down and started high fiving and snuggling with me. Everything seemed fine!
Until he went downstairs to use the litter box.
He went from happy and energetic to lethargic, weak and dry heaving. And he started making these moaning noises…like he was in some serious pain…and it made my blood run cold.
I immediately (at 4:50pm!) called the vet and thankfully they were open until 6 and they told me to bring him in as soon as possible. I looked at my poor orange man limp on the floor and at the cat carrier in my hand and I thought “there’s no way I’m going to be able to shove him in there like this!”
As I’m doing that, I called Tim to see where he was – and he was less than 5 minutes from home. I told him to get his butt home ASAP because we have to take Chester to the vet. He asked me what was wrong, I said “I don’t have time to tell you – just get home!”
I felt bad for leaving him in suspense, but I didn’t have time to talk on the phone; I thought my cat was dying in front of me!
I went into the closet and emptied out the clothes basket (full of clean laundry that I was going to put away that evening), grabbed a few towels out of the hall closet, laid one on the bottom of the basket as a cushion, gently laid him on it and covered the basket with the other towel. I wasn’t worried he would jump out; he was in no way able to even move, much less jump out of a clothes basket.
I sat by the front door and waited for what seemed like an eternity for Tim to get home. The whole while I petted Chester’s head and told him to “hang in there” and that I wasn’t ready for him to leave me yet. 🙁
Tim finally got home. I ordered him around to help me get him in the car and answering his “what’s wrong?” questions with “I’ll tell you when we’re driving to the vet…I can’t focus on that right now.”
Again, I felt bad for making him wait…but I was so focused on getting on the road, I wasn’t wasting any time talking. I let him know what was going on once we started driving. He felt horrible as he was the last one home that morning. I said it was nobody’s fault. However, we have implemented a “cat check” before we go anywhere now.
Got to the vet, where after they weighed him (while on top of one of our heavy bath towels!) all we got was a constant lecture from the vet how he was “overweight” and kept harping on us that he was “too fat”.
For fuck’s sake, lady, my cat is DYING and all you can talk about is that he’s a couple pounds overweight?! (a lot of which was TOWEL?!)
Long story short, she finally focused on the issue at hand (after I yelled at her “fine, we get it…but we have bigger things to worry about right now!”) and said he probably had a UTI (and despite us telling her he was constipated). They brought in a litter box to see if he would go, and he immediately went to it and got into his “#2 stance”. She still insisted he was trying to pee.
Lady, I’ve seen my cat do both #1 and #2, and he wasn’t trying to pee.
After an x-ray (where it showed a normal-sized bladder, meaning no UTI), she finally admitted that he “might” be constipated.
We went home with some kitty painkillers (to calm him down and alleviate some of the pain), some wet food and a laxative. We also had to isolate him from the girls all night so we could be sure he was going to the bathroom normally again. Thankfully, he did both before we went to bed.
I couldn’t sleep at all that night worrying about the little dude. Friday and Saturday, he was still pretty lethargic…but by Sunday he was starting to be back to his old self again.
Got me thinking about how I picked up this naughty, six-month-old orange cat named “Mischief” from the Humane Society on Halloween back in 1998. Bottle-fed from the age of two weeks since his mama died, he was raised by people around a lot of other cats. The first three days we had him home, he never left my side (not even while I showered…he had to be in there with me). He wasn’t with me for about 5 years (he stayed with my ex), but one snowy day in February 2007, I met my ex in Mankato to pick up my orange man and take him home.
The worst thing about being a pet owner is that you will outlive your pet, no matter how much you love them.
I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to live that reality this past weekend. I’m not ready for that.
But, I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready.