The decision

In the middle of recent mechanical “issues”, we were suddenly confronted with potentially, a much more devastating one.

On Wednesday morning, Grant suddenly announced “something is wrong with Toby.”

Toby is our only male cat and he keeps a very low profile, so when Grant said this, I had to make a point of locating our boy to take a look.

Immediately I knew a vet visit was needed.

Toby looked much as usual, but something was wrong.

Grant said he hadn’t been interested in breakfast which he had been offered downstairs. For starters, that was “off”, as Toby is almost always first in line for food, especially breakfast.

But quite apart from that, I could somehow feel that he was in great discomfort of some kind.

He got up and walked a bit and when he sat, he did so very slowly, as if it caused him pain.

The vet had no openings, but when there is an emergency they have you drop your pet off so they can take a look in between their other duties, for which we have often been so grateful as it is a long drive to the emergency clinic.

The last thing a sick pet needs is a long ride in a carrier.

Before long, I got a call to say that Toby was running a temperature, that his heart rate was elevated and that something might be going on in his abdomen.

An x-ray was suggested and blood work.

Of course, of course.

Which brought not terrible results, but the frustration I have become so accustomed to. An “abnormality” in the region of his heart.

For once, it would have been handy to have a fatter cat, as apparently fat acts as a highlighter in an x-ray, but Toby hasn’t a single fat particle anywhere in his body.

The only way to know for sure what the abnormality is would be an expensive ultra sound or surgery.

Toby is not a young cat and I wouldn’t entertain the idea of surgery for a senior animal.

A scan? As I said to the vet, if it revealed a tumor, there would be nothing to be done anyway, so it would be pointless.

With 10 other cats and a diminishing bank account, these things have to be carefully considered.

The vet agreed and said she would administer an antibiotic in case Toby had some sort of infection and would give him some booster fluid. Then we would wait to see what turned up in the blood test.

Toby’s last test showed that he might be developing kidney disease, so I went to pick him up and we waited to hear the new results next day.

Each of our cats is special in some way, but Toby has been my “buddy” ever since I lost Panther. Toby was living then in Grant’s condo and Grant brought him to me for comfort. (Never mind that I had a house full of cats!)

But Toby was good for me because he is so nice natured. He doesn’t really like being cuddled, but he tolerates it and he loves to be petted and talked to and somehow Toby and I have always had a “connection.”

That day, I brought him home with a heavy heart.

Perhaps it was just my frame of mind. I had the most awful feeling that Toby was going to die. He will, of course, one day. I just felt that it was imminent and I didn’t know how I could face it right then.

It isn’t that I don’t appreciate every minute that I have with my cats. I learned, long ago, that they can be gone in an instant and you don’t get to prepare. There is never a “better” time to lose a pet, but perhaps sometimes you are a tiny bit less vulnerable.

Next morning, who was waiting, not very patiently, for his breakfast? A much revived Toby.

His blood test results were as before, not terrible for an older cat. We try to feed him a kidney diet and sometimes he’ll eat it. What can you do? We will give him the best life possible and hope for as many more days as possible.

But we’ll never let any of our cats suffer.

There is no way of knowing what Toby’s abnormality is. So many of the cats I lost were undiagnosed and we assumed it was cancer. It’s hard to take, hard to watch a beloved pet waste away and try to decide the point at which they really want to be released.

Finding two cats dead was a shock, but at least we were spared that awful decision.

12 thoughts on “The decision

  1. It’s always very hard to deal with a sick cat. Sometimes it’s so difficult to make the right decision or find what’s really wrong. Glad to see Toby is doing better again.

  2. So sorry about Toby. My heart goes out to you both. I think you have made the best choice not to put him through surgery or a scan. I hope Toby will stick around for a good while yet and still has peaceful happy days.

  3. Toby’s sweet little face looks like my ginger boy, Jack, that I lost about a month ago. I had to make a painful decision that was a long time coming, but as you know, there comes a time when you just know. I will keep Toby in my thoughts and hope he has some more good days ahead.

  4. Always so difficult to know when is the correct time and what intervention to make in the meantime. We were told last week that Daisy, our British Shorthair , has a huge mass attached to her major organs and, today, we have had to decide that we will say farewell to her tomorrow.

    1. Ah Peter, I am so sorry. Toby was OK this afternoon when I took that last picture of him but by dinner time he had come over all poorly again…. I hate not knowing what is wrong. God speed Daisy XXX

  5. Best wishes for Toby. I’ve had thirteen cats so far and had to make the hard decision for four of them. Fingers crossed, he’ll pull through and live to be a grumpy old man.

      1. Of my thirteen-so-far, three remain. One collapsed and died after a kidney disease diagnosis, two were killed by cars, three faded out gently at home with old age, four made it to the vet and had to be released. They’re family. Enjoy Toby while he’s here, grieve when he leaves and remember the best times.

  6. Thinking of Toby (and you). It is a miserable time when one’s animals are sick … and I think it’s more the hopelessness that goes with that feeling šŸ’Œ.

Leave a Reply