1 April 2003
My Sophie-cat has been really ill for the last ten days or so, and spent much of last week in hospital on drips & drugs, on the very edge of death. A fine example of home diagnosis at its worst: I knew her teeth were bad and suddenly she wasn't eating, so she went in for dental work. Fortunately they always do blood tests before they give an anaesthetic, at my practice; and so they found that her kidneys were shutting down on her. And managed to arrest that, but by Friday she was still very weak and listless and unhappy, so they said 'maybe she just doesn't like being in hospital; take her home for the weekend, Chaz,' which I interpreted as meaning 'have a last couple of days with her, bring her back on Monday and we'll put her to sleep.'
Saturday, I nearly yelled for them to come and do it anyway, not to wait till Monday. Friday night she'd been wonderful, out of her box and straight into the kitchen for a snack, a whole plateful of turkey before bed (I'd had friends for dinner, and cooked Mole Poblano; turkeys are big birds, and there was loads left for Sophie. Which was one reason I'd cooked Mole Poblano...); Saturday she didn't eat a thing all day, and spent most of it sitting in shadowy corners with her face turned to the wall. She was dreadfully hesitant on her feet, and I hated myself for being so indecisive, not to accept that she'd had enough. But I'm a perennial procrastinator, and she'd just started a new course of antibiotics, so I thought I'd just give them another 24 hours to kick in...
...And then came Sunday, and she spent half the day with her face in her food. Never much at once, and partly I think it was the sheer temptation of variety, as I shuttled treats under her nose, but she did at least eat, and I started feeling hopeful.
Then Monday. She was due back at the vet's at 3.00; and all morning she wouldn't eat at all, and my spirits crashed again. By two o'clock, I was sure it was all over bar the mourning. At half-past two we'd started waiting for our lift, only it was a little late arriving; at a quarter to three, Sophie jumped off my knee, wobbled into the kitchen and started eating. It's natural perversity is what it is. I could've throttled her, except her neck's so scrawny, where would be the fun?
And when we did get to the vet, he was actually kind of impressed with her strolling around the surgery as though she owned it, given how weak she'd been before. So we are still a household of three, where I really hadn't expected that to be true any more; and Sophie now has her special pills and her special food, and the entertainment is to try to make sure that (a) she does eat it and (b) Misha doesn't.
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.