Wow, it’s hard to believe how time flies! Yes I know what a cliché this statement is, but so true! I happened to see an article I wrote seven years ago when I first brought Skylar into my home as a rescue cat. I explained how he came into my life through a local pet shelter, how he lost his excess weight by following me around the house in just six months and how my other cat died soon after he arrived. It was all so sad… losing first one of my fur babies to kidney failure (Hercules in April of 2011) and then my female Judas in January of 2012. Skylar never met Hercules, and he never really bonded to Judas so when she didn’t come home one day he wasn’t upset. Of course I was. I’ve never had human children, but I almost felt that Skylar was an intrusion as I just wanted to mourn my fur baby of 18 years. Yet, I had to attend to him. He didn’t bond to me so easily either. It was a process for both of us.
About 4 years ago Skylar had his first major episode of really being sick. Although he had a tendency to vomit his food, I assumed he had a sensitive stomach and rotated his food until I found a brand and type he seemed to tolerate. In the process, he seemed happier and his weight normalized. Then he had an attack of a bladder infection that set up a major stream of vet visits. I felt like the animal hospital had a swinging door. At the time, the vet I was using was very close by but the various vets kept doing the same things over and over. Needless to say, the bills I was paying were really adding up; that is, until another pet lover at my aerobics class suggested I try a different type of vet – one that uses Chinese Medicines. Dr. Chau turned out to be a lovely person who treated Skylar according to both Western and Eastern medical disciplines. After some testing, she found that he not only was in renal failure but he also had pancreatitis. We started him on sub-q fluids a couple times a week and some Chinese medicine pills, as well as antibiotics for his infection. It wasn’t very long before the cat I thought was dying came back to life. He turned around in many ways. Somehow he recognized that I was trying to help him even though he hated the fluid treatments early on.
After about six months of this process, he started to settle down about the whole thing and cooperated… not fighting me so much. Each time I would take him in to see Dr. Chau, she’d say, “he looks good for a dying cat!” Although she initially gave him 2 years to live, he’s now well past the 4 year marker. So indeed, he’s doing well for a dying cat!
Meanwhile, Skylar became more and more attached to me, eventually coming over and wanting to sit near me. In the evening, he likes me to sit with him while I watch TV. He always lets me pick the show as he normally sleeps through it anyway. His new thing is to curl up between my legs as I lie on the sofa. Sometimes he climbs up on my chest for a hug. It warms my heart when he does this, as he was quite cautious for a very long time. I have to believe that the little guy was badly treated during his early years. Since he’s a rescue, it’s difficult to know exactly how old he was when he first came to my home, even with the vet checking his teeth. I’m guessing that he was about 7 years and he’s now with me 7.5 years making him close to 15 years old this year. This is pretty amazing considering how sick he’s been over the years.
During the years that Skylar has been with me, I’ve learned to give him prescription medications in addition to the Chinese meds (all of which Dr. Chau has prescribed) to manage his symptoms. What’s interesting about this situation is that I dilute each medication to about 1:7 so that one might wonder how such a small dose could be helping. Apparently, they are helping because without each one (and now there are 4 plus the Chinese tea pills morning and night) as well as the fluids which have increased to daily with the progression of his disease.
The photo is Skylar on my bed, one of his favorite spots for sleeping. And more, recently, he sleeps curled up close to me. I don’t know how long my fur baby has to live, but for now, I’m his pet parent and he’s my little boy. We both seem to like it that way.