We moved into the new house last week. The first night we all (cats et al) spent under the new roof was Friday night. Starting a day or so before the move, Jess started going downhill. For anyone who might not know, Jess has been diabetic for the past year and recently developed a form of congestive heart failure – but we’ve been treating him with meds and he’s been happy as a clam, for the most part. Well this time he completely stopped eating. And drinking. For Jess, the no eating thing is significant; that cat eats his weight even on days when he feels like total crap. I knew it was bad.
It was really bad. By Saturday he wouldn’t come out from under my old bed, which is now in the guest room. When he did emerge to use the cat box (all was not totally lost), he couldn’t use his back legs very well. He would take three steps and then lie down and rest a few minutes before going another few steps. He had no balance and seemed very tired. My heart was breaking. Saturday night we opened up the front door of the house and encouraged him to come sit outside with us, which he loved to do in my Austin house. He hobbled down the entryway, the first time he’d walked more than three steps in two days, but he kept veering to the right, even bumping into the wall before bouncing back into a straight line. Veeerrrryyyy slowly. His eyes and coat were dull, but once he made it to the porch he seemed happy to be in the fresh air. We sat outside with him and shivered while he crouched in the cold wind and stuck his nose in the air, eyes closed in ecstasy, tail gently swishing. He stayed out about 15 minutes and then wanted to be carried back inside. We complied. I spent the night with him on the couch, while he stayed curled in a nearby chair, and I woke up every time he rustled. I don’t think he was really even sleeping; he was just breathing and being still.
Sunday morning he went back under the bed and wouldn’t come out. We coaxed him, and he let us pet him, reaching with our stomachs and faces pressed into the carpet, but he wasn’t budging. We spent the morning trying to locate a vet that could come to the house on a Sunday; we didn’t want to drag him to an ER for his final moments, but we also didn’t think it was humane to wait until Monday. We had no luck, but by then my sister and her family had arrived and we went to lunch nearby. When we got home, Jess was ON the bed instead of under it. Hmm. We moved a shallow water bowl (ok, a cake pan – we’re still unpacking, people) into the room and some dry food, and to our shock, he started drinking. And drinking. And drinking some more. The cat was soaking wet from his chin to his chest, as he was leaning into the bowl – poor pumpkin was so weak he could barely hold his head up to drink. Then he started nibbling on dry food. And nibbling. And nibbling some more. By Sunday night he was moving around a bit more, but still only taking a few steps at a time. Still, he wasn’t under the bed anymore. We gently carried him into the master bedroom and put him on the new bed, hoping he’d make the transition and I wouldn’t have to sleep in the other room with him again. He stayed. In fact, he climbed onto my head for the first time in a week and purred softly all night. I was thrilled, but still so so sad. Then, it was Monday morning. And the cat was fine. By “fine” I mean, eating, drinking, and walking around. Meowing insistently for us to lift him onto the bathroom counter so he could drink from the faucet. Following us around. Getting underfoot. EATING. AND DRINKING. His legs were still a little shaky, but he had perked up considerably. I went to work, and he was even better when I got home.
It is now Thursday and it’s like nothing ever happened. His coat and eyes are shiny again. Gray man sat perched on the verge of death, a calendar day away from the end, and now he’s totally back to normal. Only he hasn’t needed insulin in a week. His blood sugar (we tested it throughout the ordeal) is exactly the same as when we were giving him the shots. We haven’t given him his diuretic because he was so dehydrated. And still, he is happy.
We are mystified. The vet is mystified. But Jess?
Jess is … Jess. And I’m so, so glad.
We’re putting grass in the backyard for him ASAP so he can feel the wind in his whiskers for the rest of his remaining seven lives.