My readers have probably figured out that my "outdoor" cat spends a lot of time inside. Because he is such a well-mannered, handsome, brave, playful, intelligent feline, he gets to stay inside all day if he wants to. I don't leave him in at night because sometimes I sleep very soundly, and he doesn't have opposable thumbs to open doors when he wants out.
About two weeks ago, I told Cliff more than once, "Blue i's not his usual self. He just lays around all day."
About the time I'd say that, Blue would start wrestling with Gabe and Cliff would say, "See? There's nothing wrong with him. Look at him playing."
He insisted on going with Gabe and I on our walks, too, falling further behind every day. But I knew he was "off" somehow Then we noticed him limping. We did a quick examination of his right back leg and saw no problems. Next, he gradually lost his appetite. He couldn't finish the wet cat food he always gets at night. His limping got worse, then is didn't seem so bad.
He stopped eating altogether. We have never spent money on cats, except for neutering, spaying, or food. Sort of a policy, really. It was the same with my parents, although they didn't spend money on dogs either, until both of them got old and fell in love with Meleah, the Poodle. Even then they never had her groomed. Mother just snipped off hair willy-nilly with her sewing scissors. And they let her eat anything, any time. So she was a fat, ugly dog that stank, but she was loved for 17 years. Mother did finally spend money getting the dog's teeth pulled, and again when she needed to be put out of her misery. But I digress.
Finally on Tuesday, with me holding back tears, Cliff said, "Let's take him to the vet."
"We can't do that. If his leg is broken, that could cost a thousand dollars or more."
By this time I had been crying every day over that cat. I called the vet and told them what was happening; I was told to bring him in at exactly 4:30 PM (when the office closes) and they'd look at him. By the time we left, I had discovered the wound on his leg, because it was swollen and easier to notice. At the vet, they said his temperature was 103, about 2 degrees above normal. Doc said he had an infection from the wound; he said it was some sort of animal bite: perhaps another cat, or maybe a raccoon. The way Blue hunts moles all the time, one of those could have bitten him; they have sharp little teeth.
The vet counted out some antibiotic pills into a small plastic baggie, gave him his first one, and told me to give him one each day. Now by this time Blue was vomiting often. If he lapped up some water, he'd be vomiting before long, with only foam coming up, followed by dry-heaving.
I called the vet back, and he had me pick up some pills at his office to settle Blue's stomach. I was to give him one of those, wait 30 minutes, and then give him his new antibiotic.
He kept the antacid down for half an hour just fine, but 25 minutes after I gave him the antibiotic, he threw it up.
So he is hospitalized.
I have cried and cried over a silly cat for two weeks, and have been in a deep depression. If only I'd have taken him to the vet sooner. If only I had checked his leg more closely.
The most touching thing I saw during Blue's sickness was on a day when he had stayed in his bed almost all day, barely stirring. I was walking to the living room from the kitchen, glanced down at Blue in his bed, and saw that Gabe had brought one of his toys from the bedroom and laid it down beside Blue, as if to say, "Hurry up and get well, so we can play!"
Even this morning, as bad as Blue felt, he saw Gabe resting in the recliner and jumped up beside him.
I hope he's OK.