(Warning--graphic cat health issues to follow)
I think the reason it took me so long to get that last post finished may have had something to do with the two emergency vet visits that took place this week. When we got back from Rhode Island, Leo was moping around, not eating, and his hind legs were weak and wobbly. Now he's not really THAT vintage; when you've had a 20-year old cat (the lovely diva-like calico, Newt), 13 doesn't sound incredibly old.
But Leo has had a long history of medical issues, and is literally on his eighth cat life. I don't even want to guess at how much those eight lives have cost me. (Sigh. And I was thisclose to that brand new Apple laptop. Again.)
When he was two, he ate all the thread off the spool of my sewing machine and had to have part of his stomach removed (#1). (I used to refer to this as the Carnie Wilson surgery, as he would vomit if he ate too much, keeping him from gaining weight. I think it's irrelevant now though)
Between 2002 and 2003 his urinary tract got blocked -- three times (#2, #3, #4). The fourth time (in 2004) his male appendage had to be removed as the vet could no longer "unblock" him (#5; he actually crawled into the sink at the vet's office to die).
When he came home from the animal hospital (and I was nursing a colicky newborn) he managed to get past that crazy head cone and rip out his stitches. I found him bleeding profusely all over the kitchen floor (did I mention the colicky newborn?). The vet took him back to perform emergency surgery as he was bleeding internally (a big #6).
No more illness until August of last year; there was blood in his urine. He was so traumatized when we got home from the vet's that he was panting and gasping for breath. (His brother Mickey had a similar reaction three years prior and died within minutes of being in the vet's office, which is why she now does house calls). I was sure that this was it. Miraculously, it wasn't (#7).
Now I know all these medical problems sound exhausting, but after he passed through each crisis he was none the worse for wear. No lingering side effects or debilitating consequences. Like a kitty reborn.
So now this (#8). In addition to his pre-existing heart murmur and hyperthyroidism, he has a bacterial infection, potassium deficiency (may be kidney disease) and is dehydrated. His blood glucose level is normal, so at this point it's not diabetes. I think a diagnosis of diabetes would have been the clincher; I don't think his little body could take the stress of twice-daily insulin injections (not to mention MY stress level). Hopefully the antibiotic and potassium supplement will make him feel well enough to eat and he will perk up soon.
It's not looking good, though. I feel at this point that we've done all we can, and I don't want him to suffer through anything more. I will give him the medication (squirts in his mouth so not so traumatic) through the weekend, but if on Monday he still looks the same I think he's telling me it's time to go.
(Please excuse the dark photos from my iphone. It was the closest thing on hand and I didn't want to disturb him).