23 February 2010
This is Hard.
When I was growing up we always had cats. Always. There was Whitey, Rainbow, Popcorn, Pudding, Pom Pom & Stevie. When I was in my third year of college, along came Asha.
Aaah, Asha. The pretty gray cat from The Pierce County Humane Society in Tacoma, Washington. Originally, Ghosty, she had the sweetest disposition and cutest chirp. Her first night with me she climbed into bed, beneath the cover and laid on her back (with her head on the pillow) between my boyfriend and I. We laughed, but she was serious. And she's been best cat I've had. Ever. She is my 7th of 8 cats (Cyrus came along about a year after Asha when we moved to Minneapolis), and she is the best cat I've ever had. I keep saying this because it's true though a little bit monotonous.
She greets me at the door when I get home, she is everywhere I am whether it's in the bathroom taking a bath (always next to the tub) or in the kitchen doing kitchen stuff (on the sink rug gazing at me). She's the best, the most loyal. Which is why I am at odds this weekend.
A few months ago when I brought Asha & Cyrus in for their annual vaccinations the vet warned me that they were both overweight. Overweight in older cats meant risk for diabetes, especially males. So a diet ensued, and their food intake was cut in half. I joked that no cat of mine would could be diabetic as I wouldn't put up with such high maintenance of a cat.
So through out the last week my lady Asha just wasn't herself. A little slower, always hungry, ridiculously thirsty and much more tolerant of Cyrus (she typically gives him a daily ass kicking) than usual. I noted, but was not overly concerned.
Then on Saturday night I arrived home from work and she wasn't at the door to greet me. "Asha, Asha," I called, and soon enough she walked into the kitchen slowly and disheveled. I scooped her up. She was scruffy and not her chirpy self. I brought her into the living room and decided to give her a good brushing. She was happy: purring and licking my hand as I brushed her, and then I got to her hind legs. They hurt. I discovered this because she bit me when I brushed her right hind leg. I turned her over to see if the left was also sore and was given another bite and a little bit of a growl. With her ears back in annoyance, she jumped off my lap and onto our hardwood living room floor sliding on her hind legs in a way which made me feel like it hurt her to land. So I called the University of Minnesota Emergency Vet Clinic.
20 minutes later I loaded Asha into the car and to the U of M we went. The person on the Vet Clinic emergency line warned me of possible kidney failure or heart problems. When I pulled up to the Clinic that night I was prepared to say goodbye to her.
When the vet came into the waiting room after Asha's exam and told me she was Diabetic I laughed outloud. I think the vet was as taken aback by my reaction as much as I was. Cyrus was the one who was going to get Diabetes. He's the male, he's the one who's hungry all the time, he's really over weight.
But no, it's Asha.
Asha the Cat who drove from Tacoma, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 5 days on the dash of my '88 Subaru Wagon with a leash on.
Asha the Cat who sleeps with me (only when Randy's on tour) until I am ready to wake up.
Asha the Cat who chirps instead of meows and rolls on her back to tell you she loves you.
Asha the Cat who licks my hair to clean me and let me know she's watching out for me.
Asha the Cat who seems to be in tune with my emotions and willing to make all better. Seriously. I mean she licked my pants today as I cried when the vet left the exam room briefly, almost as if to tell me all would be okay. This only made me cry more.
So I stood in the exam room this afternoon, after the vet went over all the possibilities and liklihoods of a living with a diabetic cat, and silently weighed in my mind whether treating her diabetes is for me or for her.
She is a lovely cat. Our school aged nephews can tote her around the house beneath their arms and not only does she tolerate it, but when they set her down she either sits down beside them or slowly walks away. Personally, I would run if any child walked around with me under their arms.
So the initial treatment requires an overnight stay and monitoring and such. I agreed and negotiated a payment plan and kissed her little ears goodbye. Only to lose it as I paid the receptionist my first payment: "Will (dry heave) you (dry heave) put this (dry heave) blazer of mine (dry heave) in her cage? (Sob, sob, sob,) Maybe it will be (dry heave) easier for her (dry heave) if she smells me (sob)."
Oh, I am such a sad little cat lady.
I guess in the end, I did what I needed to. Handsome Randy soothed me tonight as I cried to him via Skype. He reminded me that I should at least give it a shot and see what happens as she is the world's greatest cat. And so I have and we will see.
Asha the Cat: We all wish you well. So well. xxxxoooxx.