Dear Reader, you see this lovely specimen of a feline in repose. Reading is hard work, you know, especially of The New Yorker (such long articles!).
The girl does love to sleep. And she deserves to sleep as much as she wants because she is at least 20 years old.
What Luisa doesn’t like is going to the vet.
Unfortunately, we’ve had to take her in twice in less than a week. Last week, she started throwing up her food. Nothing terribly unusual. She often had these spells of puking up food and then begging for more, and then she would be fine for awhile. But last week was different. The frequency of her throwing up increased until the point where all she could throw up was frothy liquid because there was no longer food in her stomach. And of course this was in the wee hours of the morning. So I laid in bed and told myself that “if she has one more episode, I’m taking her to the emergency vet.” And of course all was quiet after I made that decision, as if she had read my mind.
Of course, I was in denial and, to a degree, I still am. I wanted only for the vet to prescribe over the phone some anti-nausea medicine and an appetite stimulant. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention: Luisa had stopped eating.
So the first visit to the vet involved Luisa getting subcutaneous fluids to hydrate her, an anti-nausea shot, and an antibiotics shot (her white blood cell count was elevated). We took her home and observed her, tried to feed her, watched her every movement. Oh, did I mention that she was also constipated?
By Monday, she had only eaten a spoonful of food that I held in front of her. She would have no more. So back to the vet we went. I saw a different doctor this time, one that I was more comfortable with since she had treated a few of our other cats as well. It’s very simple: we can try a few non-invasive procedures and if they fail, well, there’s euthanasia. We can try invasive procedures and if they fail, well, there’s euthanasia. Luisa is at least 20 years old.
We found her in a local park almost 18 years ago. My husband fell in love with her and as days past and she seemed to always be on the top of the restrooms whenever he came to the park to run, he grew more anxious. There were student apartments nearby so we suspected the usual. When the nighttime temperatures started to fall, my husband grew even more anxious. So one day I drove out to the park, coaxed her off the roof of the restrooms, and cajoled her into a pet taxi, and off to the vet we went. I left behind info on the vet … just in case, but of course, no one ever called. So. She was ours. We named her Luisa because we found her in San Luis Mission Park.
It hasn’t been all roses with Luisa. She is a “crazy tortie.” Until recently, she wouldn’t tolerate being petted. She always wanted to be in the same room with us, but we were to look and not touch. It was hard not to laugh when I would go to pet her and she would hiss and slap my hand.
But in the last couple of years, perhaps you could say now that’s she is in her dotage, she seems to enjoy being petted. In fact, she sleeps with me, often curled up on the inside of my left arm. Or on my pillow where her whiskers tickle my face. She is still with us, as of this writing. We are trying the non-invasive treatments: anti-nausea medicine, appetite stimulant, another round of subcutaneous fluids. But if this regimen fails, we can do no more. We will do no “heroics” for our aging queen. All we want to hear her purr and know that she does not suffer.
So, if I seem to be absent from blogging or distracted when I am here, she is my cause. I don’t want to let her go. Of course, it’s inevitable. She’s not getting any younger, and keeping her beyond her comfort zone would not be fair to her. But right now, she does not seem to be in distress. She still seems alert. But she still won’t eat.
For now, dear Reader, understand that I am rather preoccupied because Luisa is still here and I need every minute with her that I can get. Even if she spends most of those minutes sleeping.
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.