Underneath my yellow skin

Micromanaging my cat

We are on Day 6 of my cat being sick. Well, kind of. I mean, it’s the sixth day after he got sick, but we can quibble as to whether he still is or not. He’s mostly back to normal. He’s got the pep in his step and he’s meowing when he wants something once again. he’s fighting me when I try to squirt his meds (with a syringe) in his mouth.

Side note: I hate having to give him meds. The look of betrayal in his eyes breaks my heart. Plus the horking sounds he makes as he tries to spit it out is…not pleasant. Sometimes, he’ll eat the treats I give him afterwards and sometimes he won’t. I learned to give him his food before I dose him and not after. I have to do it twice a day, 12 hours apart, BTW. I also learned that doing it while he’s asleep is good because I can get it in him quickly, but it’s bad because it disoriented him. I don’t like doing that.

I only have to dose him four more times. That’s not bad. And, honestly, he has dealt with it fairly well. Yes, he gives me a look of betrayal when it happens, but he will let me pet him a minute or two after. He won’t come into the bathroom where the syringe/vial are, but that could be because K was here this weekend and he was discombobulated about that. He did let her pet him, though, which was good to see.

I’ve been watching him like a hawk for the past six days. The first day was terrible. He was so lethargic and I was moping around, waiting for the next day so I  could hear from my vet. Shadow was so lethargic. It’s hard to explain how I know that when cats sleep so much on the daily, but there is a difference.

The last few days, he’s been chatting away and his voice, while still high and squeaky (as usual), is stronk. Demanding, even, which makes me happy. I would rather him be feisty and full of fettle than limp and lethargic.

He strides with determination rather than walking listlessly. He is talking to me again rather than just remaining silent. Best of all, he is interested in food which he wasn’t for two days. That was the scariest of all as he’s very food-driven. I mean, I know most cats are, but he does NOT skip a meal. In fact, he will let me know precisely when it was time to be fed.

That’s how I know he’s really sick, by the way. When he won’t eat. I was freaking out because the last time this happened, it was really serious. That’s why I did the whole slate of tests because I wanted to rule out everything serious. It was such a load off my shoulders when I was told it wasn’t the big three we were fearing (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, renal failure). It turned out to be a bug or something like that.

He’s been getting better little by little every day. (Warning, graphic). He hadn’t been pooping much since then. Part of the original issue was that he was spurting diarrhea dots everywhere. He was peeing fine, but his back end was having blockage/leakage.

Once he started the antibiotics, the diarrhea dried up, but he wasn’t pooping , either. He was still peeing fine. The last two days, I found small nuggets of  poop (one a day). Small, but firm. And no diarrhea. Peeing fine. Today, he had a proper poop, and I was so relieved. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to see a piece of his poop.

Today is the first day I would say he’s been 100% (or very close to it). He’s been eating like a champ. Right now, I am giving him anything he wants and have many treats to tempt him (including Temptations). I have pate, meat tubes, salmon, tuna (the last two canned), different canned foods, and his regular cat food. I don’t want him to–he’s kneading my ankles right now (the faux throw covering my ankles) and is struggling to finish before he falls asleep. It’s adorable.

For the past six days, I’ve been giving Shadow whatever food he wants whenever he wants. If he’ll eat it, great. K and I went to the co-op yesterday and I stocked up on the good stuff. I can tell you that he’s wild about salmon–as long as it’s not fridge-cold. I think his nose is still a little stuffed up because I have to trick him to eat some of the time. Once he starts, he doesn’t want to stop so it’s not that he’s not hungry.

Into this madness stepped K. I haven’t seen her since before the pandemic, right around Halloween, so it was just about three years ago.

It was unfortunate that Shadow was sick while she was here, but, selfishly, I felt better having her around. I found myself able to relax a bit, even though I still watched Shadow like a hawk. She and I sat around and just talked. We could talk for hours–and did. Her hair is now a lovely silver, and she doesn’t look a day over forty. I told  her that we were doing well, and she agreed.

She had some shit she had to deal with at home while she was here, but we still had a great time. I can just breathe around her. I don’t have to put on an act r be someone I’m not. I cranked up the heat for her, so i was lounging around in my thin sweats and a t-shirt. Once she left, I decided to keep it warmer than I normally keep it (but colder than it was while she was here). Why? For Shadow’s sake. He’s getting old and I want him to be comfortable. Yes, he likes cuddling up with me for the autumn and winter, but I want to coddle his achy bones.

K and I have the same beliefs and opinions, just with shades of gray. I can count on one hand the times we’ve actually argued heatedly about anything. She is also the person I confess my ugly side to–and she does the same with me. I know she won’t judge me and vice-versa. We have two-and-a-half decades of history together, which means that we have developed shorthand for much of what we think. I can say one brief sentence, and she can expand it in her mind.

We were reminiscing about when we first met. It was at a nonprofit for troubled youth. She was the administrative assistant while I was a Day Treatment Counselor. It was funded by the county, and it was shut down for mismanagement years after I left. I was only there one year, but my friendship with K has lasted our whole adult life.

It’s a gift to have a friend like her. We message each other every other week or so and talk on the phone once a month or once every two months. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve talked, though, because we can always pick up as if no time has passed at all. I don’t talk to many people about my problems/issues because I tend to be the therapist for everyone else. My brother actually calls me that and my mother treats me as a de facto therapist.

It’s different with K. It’s more an exchange rather than me being her therapist. We can discuss things and help each other out. It’s because she has a high EQ as well and knows people pretty damn well herself.

Decades ago, we joked about starting a dating app together, but I think we could do well. Or with anything that has to do with helping people (or manipulating them, but neither of us are into that). She left early this morning without waking me even though I asked her to because she is kind like that. I miss her already and cannot wait to see her again. Hopefully, next time, there will not be anything that needs either of our immediate attention. We managed to eat well, talk late into the night, and have a  great time together, regardless. It was so good to see her once again.


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