Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sometimes, birthdays aren't all they're cracked up to be

Monday, the adorable little fellow you see above celebrated a birthday. His name is Mulder, and he turned 15.

Today, he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

He showed no signs whatsoever of being sick until Monday, when I noticed that he wasn't quite as spry as usual while I was getting ready to go to work. Monday night, he didn't come running up to see me when I got home, and he was moving lethargically around the living room. And Monday night, he didn't come with me when I went to bed (where he usually curls up beside me as we watch TV and go to sleep). At first, I was hoping it was just the sniffles, or he had eaten a spider or something that didn't agree with him. This morning, I dropped him off at the vet. They did all the requisite tests and bloodwork, and the news is decidedly not good. His little kidneys are failing, and there's really not a lot we can do about it.

We gave him an IV bag of fluids and some antibiotics. I'm going to take him in tomorrow, and they're going to run two more bags of fluids through him while I'm at work, with the hope of hydrating his system. And I'll probably bring some more bags home this weekend, to continue to the process over four or five days. I've got some "kidney special" food for him to nibble on, but the realistic outlook, especially for a kitty his age, isn't very good.

In the decade and a half he's been with me, I've lived in two states and three houses. I've been divorced, engaged and had friends, girlfriends, dogs and even kids (!) live with me. I've had four different cars and worked for four different companies. I've traveled to six different countries. I've lost my father (my mother, who passed on her love of cats to me, died even before I adopted Mulder). The one constant through all of this has been Mulder, and I couldn't have had a more steadfast, true, affectionate and sweet-natured friend.

Intellectually, I can come to grips with the way things may unfold over the next few days, or weeks or months. Emotionally, I'm not quite ready to deal with it. There are still some tests and treatments to come, and who knows, the prognosis could change. But I'm not prepared to say goodbye just yet.

If you have a pet, go give 'em a hug. Tell 'em that you love 'em, no matter how many times they try to drink your coffee, eat your pizza, leave hair all over your black clothes or chew up the toilet paper roll. Soon, you'll really, really miss those things.

All I know is I'm gonna sit down on the couch tonight and do some serious cuddling.


  1. Really sorry Shan. I had a cat go through a similar thing. I hope he rallies. Will be sending good vibes your way.

  2. Sorry to hear that Shan. Our black lab Jake was my equivalent to your Mulder. I still miss him dearly. Hope the fluids work some magic.

  3. Thanks, Jen & Bernie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's also touching how his "sister" (not genetically, just by virtue of the guy who empties their litterboxes) can sense something is up, and is being extra sweet to both of us. She would probably type a kind comment like you guys, except for, you know, that opposable thumbs thing.

  4. I'm so very, very sorry. I know how distressing and depressing this news is.

  5. DUDE! SO SORRY! Please pat the little feller on the head for me and Meg. He was the first cat I ever lived with. :-( Hope the prognosis does change and he can continue to share your coffee, whiskey and pizza.

  6. So sorry, Shan... It's the worst part about loving these little critters. Hang in there - Mulder is lucky to have you. :)

  7. Hang in there. Went through that several years ago with a younger cat. Keep on doling out the love.

  8. Shan - So sorry to hear this. In that weird and wonderful way of the Internet age, I consider you something of a friend, and my heart is breaking for you today.

    I know you don't necessarily believe in prayer, but I'm praying for you today, and sending as many positive thoughts your way as possible.

    Hang in there...and as it has been said, Mulder has been very lucky to have someone who has obviously loved and cared for him the way you have.

  9. Thanks so much for all the kinds words and good thoughts, everyone. We're aggressively treating it now, and I never thought I'd add "give cat IV fluids to act as a makeshift dialysis" to my morning routine, along with brewing coffee and checking twitter. But he feels nominally better, and we'll know more next week.

    I feel the love from y'all, and I'm sure though the magic of the internets, he does too.

  10. Really sorry to hear this. I went through this about two years ago with my cat Dexter.
    He did rally and stuck around for another year and seemed pretty happy.
    I'll keep my fingers crossed.