When I wrote, Monday, that we were having a sad day with the cat, I didn’t know what the outcome would be. Bosco has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and way too early. This is a cautionary tale, as well as a very sad one. I’m trying very hard not to beat myself up about this. It’s also a long story.
Bosco was my daughter’s cat. My daughter moved out nearly three weeks ago and was packing long before that. Bosco’s things were moved to my son’s room a couple of weeks before the move out date. Transitioning him to his new room and person, y’know? Bosco couldn’t go with Maybelline because there was already a cat in the apartment, belonging to the girl who holds the lease. There were a lot of little reasons, but Maybelline was sad about leaving him, while being glad he was staying in the same home.
Bosco lived upstairs with the kids. The dogs and parents live downstairs. Meaning I didn’t see the cat too often, then only usually across the room (there’s always a dog on or near me, and the cat and dogs didn’t get along at all). With the hustle and bustle of our oldest child moving out, as well as Easter and stuff, in addition to other things happening in our lives that I don’t need to talk about on social media right now, I missed the signs that something was wrong with the cat. That the cat was sick.
So when I picked Bosco up last Friday, I was shocked to see and feel hip bones. This once fat cat was skinny. I started asking questions. Turns out my son, walking into adulthood as he’s doing, was trying everything he could think of to get Bosco to eat. He thought he could handle it. I probably would have done the same thing at his age. There are multiple bags and cans of cat food littering his room, his attempt to get the cat to eat. Bowls of milk. Cans of tuna. He’ll be taking all that cat food to a local shelter today.
I still didn’t understand the severity of Bosco’s problem. I researched cats not eating, losing weight. And I got pretty sick on Friday (still battling it pretty heavily) and couldn’t leave the house. But we got Bosco to the emergency vet over the weekend. They said that he had anorexia and fatty liver issues. Jaundice. They hydrated him. Monday morning, early, we got the cat to our regular vet.
So when you have an anorexic cat, one which has stopped eating altogether, here’s the why and what happens.
- Depression is a big trigger for cat anorexia
- Other things can cause the cat to stop eating – a toothache, for instance – but the change in people and environment is most likely what caused Bosco’s rapid decline
- When a cat stops eating, the fat reserves are used and the liver is taxed
- The vet explained that once the cat stops eating, food makes it nauseous, meaning it doesn’t want to eat anymore, even though it’s starving
- Because the cat doesn’t want to eat, it has to be force fed, usually tube fed
Bossy cat was in pretty bad shape, so the vet kept him overnight to hydrate and try syringe feeding. They called me Tuesday morning and I expected to hear that they’d been successful in getting food into him. Unfortunately, the opposite was true. He’d gone down hill pretty dramatically. Even tube feeding at this point would be a tentative fix, and we’d still probably lose him, at great expense and pain to him. I asked them to humanely help him cross the Rainbow Bridge. And because I was sick, I couldn’t be there with him. It broke my heart.
The vet seemed relieved that I’d made this choice rather than attempt Herculean means to keep him alive. She seemed to think I’d just be throwing money at it with very little hope of it working, only making things worse for the sick cat and extending his misery.
So. What have I learned through all of this? First, I’ve never, in all my 47 years, had a sick cat. Swear. This took me totally by surprise. But here’s the take away for going forward (eventually – I think it will be a long time before we get another cat):
- Cats truly can be finicky – both in their eating and in their habits – so pay attention to them
- When a cat is sick, it hides the symptoms, much more so than a dog, so by the time we figure out something is wrong, it can be disastrous
- Cats are very attached to their people – don’t mess with that
Y’all, I don’t even know what I’ve learned. I’m just heartbroken about poor Bosco. Given the circumstances, I don’t know what else I could or would have done. My heart is broken for my poor daughter. She’s beating herself up about it. This, as she moves into adulthood and independence. I’m trying to keep people in mind, how it’s effecting her. There’s nothing I can do for the cat, but I’m trying to figure out how to love my daughter in this.
So there’s our story. There’s more to it. Things like bloodwork that the vet ran. White blood cell counts were all good. He looked healthy in every other respect. No parasites. He’d just stopped eating. And he crossed the Rainbow Bridge way too early. So if you’re a praying person, please say a prayer for our little family?
Until I write again …