The little ball of black and white fur came barreling around the corner into my room and only stopped when it ran smack dab into my foot. I reached down to pick up the tiny kitten.
“Did you run away from your mommy again?” I cooed down at him. He looked up at me and purred.
That kitten ran away from his litter-mates to come see me so often that we soon referred to him as my cat and he stayed behind when all his siblings were sold. He slept on my lap when I studied, sat at the dinner table with us, and even spent every night in my arms. (He used to sneak into my room after I fell asleep, pull my stuffed rabbit out of my arms with his teeth, and slide himself into the spot the rabbit had been in. I would notice the switch hours later when I went to turn over.) He was my baby, my friend, my confidante.
When I moved to the states I took him with me, and when we went back to France, and then on to California he came along. We worried that he wouldn’t appreciate the arrival of babies into his world, but he took it in stride. As much as he dislikes other children, he tolerates, and even seems to like C and Little L, letting them snuggle with him and pet him.
He’s not a young cat anymore. Those kitten days are long gone. Just before we left for NJ he was diagnosed with a heart murmur and I realized that he really was getting old. Three days ago we noticed that he wasn’t feeling well. Nothing specific, just not his usual spry self. Two days ago he stopped eating and I started to worry, but he was still drinking so we decided to see if he’d get better on his own. Not so much.
This morning he was so much worse that I opted to take him to the vet as a walk-in rather than waiting for our afternoon appointment. I’m glad I did. He had an obstructed urethra caused by a bladder stone. He was in a lot of pain. They x-rayed him and put him under general anesthesia to insert a catheter. They would have operated to get the stone out, but his heart is making all of this very dicey. Just the fact that they were willing to risk putting him under goes to show just how sick he is.
The vet is not being very encouraging. His lab results are really bad. It seems that his kidneys may be shot. We’ll know more tomorrow, but she didn’t seem to think there would be much good news.
It’s the first night in 14 years that I’m home and my cat isn’t. I keep wanting to go call him in, but there’s no one playing in the yard. We don’t have to make sure the cat food is locked up. We don’t have to make sure to take the trash out. It’s a weird, sad, empty feeling.