This is not the cat. It is the Wooman. I haven't felt able to write because there has been no good news, but in the last two days he has been doing better.
These five weeks have been a rough roller coaster with the kitty. I know the date precisely because his health took a downward swing on September 6th, the day after a dinner party on the terrace. He was there with us, that night, begging for bits of lamb from friends, very happy. Later, walking through the dark bedroom on my way to bed, I collided with him accidentally, kicking him. He is black. I didn't see him. The next day (after some earlier warning signs) his litter box habits changed, and he stopped eating.
I reported that to the vet when we took him, but on examination they found no correlation between his condition and my kick. But I remember. On that vet visit he was X-rayed, sonogrammed and his blood was drawn, and based on tests a diagnosis of diabetes was given. We returned for a re-examination, diabetes lecture and instructions, and insulin was started.
The litter tray was a perplexing mix and match of painful constipation and diarrhea. Fun.
Really, really not fun.
I'll skip the excruciating detail of the inbetween bits of some weeks, where his glucose levels went from vaguely elevated to normal to super-high, where he was on-insulin, off-insulin, and fast forward to now, where he has not had it for a week, and glucose is fine.
As far as I can tell, his occasional diabetes is just a symptom of something else. True to form, Estorbo has something special.
What ails him may be related to the enlarged adrenal gland, and perhaps his low potassium levels (hypokalemia) are more causative than I realized - that last alone has a list of symptoms which fit Estorbo quite well. But initially we were all focused on diabetes. I guess you have to start somewhere.
He was rallying until a week ago, voluntarily eating canned food well (two small, 3oz cans a day! seems like years ago), and putting on some of the weight he lost. Then last week he stopped eating again, and turned wobbly on his legs after a few days. The most he would eat at the worst times would be 15 treats (only 1-2 calories each; somebody needs to develop a super-calorie treat for very ill cats).
I actually said goodbye to him a few nights ago. I thanked him for being such an excellent cat, and felt we could not go on like this. I realized how terrible it is to watch a creature suffer. Or perhaps, how terrible it is to feel helpless. I am a fixer, a doer, and when everything you do is not good enough and doesn't fix it, you feel despair.
I thought we would lose him. But I kept waking him up every few hours to feed him one treat, or one sliver of liver. I brushed him very gently, and that always made him purr. When he started to get up then, and and rub against furniture, I knew things were improving.
The last two days have been much better. He has woken me to help him get on the bed, then has put his nose in my face and has pawed me till I got up, with exaggerated purring. What has changed is that I have found I can give him his Tumil K - a potassium gel supplement - by syringe, in the mouth. He hates it, but I wish I had thought of this earlier; till then he'd have none of it. "Palatable," my foot. Or his foot. I had been rubbing it on his feet and he would just leave it there. Poor cat. He would not even wash it off.
Perhaps the supplement is helping. His appetite is returning, his coat is looking good for the first time in months. He blinks at us slowly and lovingly. He looks up, instead of at the floor, glassily, or lies stretched out, rather than hunching on the balls of his feet with his shoulder blades sticking out.
Chicken liver, piece by piece
Most of his meals are still fed by hand. One piece at a time. Chicken liver is tops. Fillet mignon is kaka. Ditto ground beef. Ditto every kind of top notch canned food imaginable. Today he ate some Hill's pellets, on his own (rejected Wellness: super-kaka). Frankly, right now we don't care what he eats as long as he eats. If he wanted buttery snails in their shells he'd get buttery snails in their shells.
He is seeing Dr Slade on Friday, for more blood tests. I have no idea what they can tell us.
This cat has been through so much (so have we! and you!). The broken jaw, before I adopted him; the urethral blockages and kidney issues (till I figured out that his pellets should be fed to him IN water - canned food did not help; the mysterious, obsessive licking where he made patches his arms bald and had to wear shirts (as well as some..uh, other interesting outfits); then the hyperthyroidism and the radiation, and now, this new...thing. It took us by surprise.
Forgive the long cat story. He is my friend. And I love him. And I know some of you care about him very much, too.
It is pouring with rain as I write. It has been very dry, for very long.
Surely that is good sign.