Friday, May 27, 2005

pushing ten

as in, his tenth life.
Gus is old, in just exactly all the ways a kitty cat ages
scraggly fur (but mostly still soft and fluffy)
old bones, doesn't like to hop down from anywhere high-ish
miserable at times
but still a

regal beast.

I've had Gus since I was in the third grade, he's 18 or so now. That's getting up there in cat years, no surprise to see him looking old. But still somehow difficult to swallow. We've been living our time together the past couple of years, calling it "bonus time" since 2.5 years ago he was diagnosed with a very odd, very rare form of cancer in his ear. The vet didn't know what to do about it, the other vets the vet consulted with didn't know what to do about it. We decided to take the Wait and Hope approach, and that's when Bonus Time started.

A few months ago we headed into Bonus Overtime.
Gus got really sick, the day of my birthday. He was wheezing, barely breathing, really. Throwing up some sickly frothy stuff all over the house. We took him to the vet, me expecting the worse as I tend to do, and he came home with lots of little pills and one large bill. He has a weak heart and had been accumulating fluid in all of his body cavities which is what lead to the throwing up and difficulty breathing. I started out faithfully giving him the three prescribed pills a day, but before long I could see that although the medicine was improving his condition, taking the pills was making him miserable. Before long he was skulking around, avoiding me, never coming out of hiding. It was a difficult decision and one I really struggled with, but after coming home to a very happy, friendly cat after a long weekend away from home during which Gus didn't have any pills, I decided to stop giving him his medicine. That was almost two months ago, and earlier this week I realized that he was retaining fluid again, and now decided to give him the diuretic long enough to get his fluid levels back to normal. First pill went down fine and then not another one could I get to stay down. I'm actually pretty good at pilling a cat, but he's a stubborn old boy and just kept coughing them back out, even after I felt him swallow.

Then, a discovery.
A miraculous discovery that has worked for days now and is making me happy and keeping my cat healthy.

I call them: Cheese Pills.

Ever since he was a young cat Gus has had an affinity for cheese products, preferably Cheesies or Kraft cheese slices (well, I don't suppose he's brand specific, just cheese slices will do). So, I wrap up each little pill in piece of cheese slice about a centimeter square, roll that into a ball, and he eats it up happily. Gets all perked up when he smells cheese. It's very cute.

I'm sure the passionate cat-lovers out there are bristling at the thought of actually feeding a cat cheese, but believe me, it's cheese or death. Seriously.

Long live the Cheese Pill!

Ashley & Gus.


Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh, what a great story! Keep the cheese pills coming!


Anonymous said...

You know Ashley my last cat loved cheese! Same thing, cheese slices. We did the same thing when we needed to give her pills. So I would have suggested it if you hadn't already figured it out. Glad he is a bit better. What a long life! Good for Gus!