Moochie is one of a few outside strays that I have been taking care of for over six years now. As black as coal and full of spit and vinegar, Moochie is a force to be reckoned with. A very aggressive cat, he would often chase the more timid ones, much to my aggravation. If I ever heard a cat cry out I would run outside and most likely find Moochie chasing Chloe or Toby up a tree. So, I was taken aback when about two weeks ago, I saw him slink past a couple of the more timid cats, almost like he was afraid of them. I bent down to pet him and was amazed at how thin he had gotten. How long had it been since I last pet him? It couldn’t have been that long ago? I kept my eye on him and saw that he was indeed moving quite slowly and while he would run to his food plate when I put it down, I saw that he would only take a few bites and then lie down. I starting bringing him in at night and throughout the evenings and mornings try to get him to eat. He was almost totally off of both wet and dry cat food. I took out the Nutri-cal supplement that I used with Butterball and luckily Moochie liked the taste. I knew that he LOVED chicken so I bought one of those roast chickens at Whole Foods thinking he would get the dark meat (that I don’t like) and I could eat the white meat. I cut up the meat of a leg and brought it to him. He picked up a piece and then promptly spit it out. Wow, he won’t even eat roast chicken. Hmmm, I then cut up a few pieces of white meat and put that in front of him. Wouldn’t you know, he chowed down on that--so much for my chicken dinner. I knew that roast chicken wasn’t nutritious enough for him so I thought I would try some white fish and tuna wet cat food. I NEVER serve this to my cats because it is just SO stinky. But, that might be just what he needs to stimulate his appetite.
(Moochie, lounging in the brush a couple of years ago.)
It worked. He is still not eating his usual amount but he is eating the wet cat food and will even crunch a few pieces of kibble at a time. I also bought some vitamin fortified cat treats that he loves. His energy level has also improved. I almost canceled his vet appointment for yesterday but I thought better and took him in to get checked out.
Very bad news. The vet felt a large baseball sized mass in his abdomen--most likely gastrointestinal lymphoma. My vet was very sorry but he said he wouldn’t even refer me to a specialist. That might sound harsh, so I need to point out that my vet knows me, knows all the cats I have, knows my finances. Even if this were my beloved Butterball, I wouldn't put him through a series of poking and prodding tests and/or surgeries. At this advanced stage and size, the vet said it would be a matter of weeks, if not days, before I would need to bring him in to be put down. I asked about his increased energy level and my vet said it was because of two things, 1) I was getting food and supplements into him. Without coaxing, he would have probably (and indeed almost) stopped eating all together a few weeks ago; and 2) I was spending a lot of time with him.
Here I am, back at this familiar juncture. I was so hoping that I wouldn’t have to deal with another cat illness and death this year. Moochie is now inside and getting lots of TLC.
...Yes, I am still frazzled.