Mat, the big white cat with black ears, paws and tail who moved into my house 13 years ago, hasn’t eaten solid food in four days. He’s declined everything I put in front of him, including his favorite treats, and takes in only milk. Mat has always loved milk, and showed no ill effects despite all the warnings in cat care books about too much dairy. He still gets excited when he sees me opening the refrigerator to get the carton, but he’s very weak and wobbly. I’m afraid he is not long for this world. Each time I’ve left the house this past week, I expect that when I get back he’ll be dead, or up and about as if nothing had happened. Cats have powers beyond my comprehension. Meanwhile I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks looking for any food Mat might feel like eating. I have haunted pet food stores and specialty groceries and tried different brands of canned sardines. It’s a pain, but a pain I willingly bear because this is an exemplary cat.
You don’t live with a cat for 13 years without knowing his likes and dislikes, and I am certain he doesn’t want to go to the vet. He’s always hated going to the animal hospital—he hyperventilates, drools, and yowls in the car as if he’s being kidnapped. I don’t want him to spend what could be his last days alone in alien surroundings, feeling like he’s been abandoned. (Koosi, who died two years ago at age 14½, spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and had to fake being well so she could come home to die.) Mat doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s been hanging out in the bathroom near the litter box—he’s always been the most polite, considerate cat.
Read Mat the Cat: A Life.
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UPDATE: Yesterday morning Mat was too weak to even drink milk. I left the house in the afternoon and expected a wake by the time I got back. When I returned not only was Mat alive, but he had walked out of the bathroom and was crouched in the kitchen. The cat wants to live.
I took him to the nearest veterinary clinic, Animal House, where they gave him fluid intravenously, administered an immune system booster, and prescribed soft food that I can feed him with a syringe and a natural diuretic (sambong). I explained that I don’t want Mat to be confined in the hospital, and I will not have him euthanized, either. All I want is for him to be comfortable and free of pain.
Mat was perkier when we got home, and I managed to get some food in him (He actually put up a fight). He’s sleeping soundly, with Drogon hovering over him. I don’t know how much time Mat has, but we will count each extra day of life as a victory. Thank you for your kind thoughts.