It’s always been difficult to describe the colour of the carpet that runs along the corridor, up the stairs and along the upper corridor of this house. Not mustard, not buttercup. Sunrise? no. Baby-shit comes close. But now, thanks to Cat, I know the exact hue. It is cat-sick-bile coloured.
From this you might deduce three things. Firstly that Cat has been sick, a lot. Secondly that he’s been sick on the carpet. Thirdly that it doesn’t show up. These deductions are all correct.
In fact Cat hasn’t eaten anything since Thursday but despite this has managed to produce copious amounts of diarrhoea and the aforementioned vomit. He has lost weight. Lots and lots of weight. This morning as he crouched on my lap he was a bag of bones with a matted layer of fur on top. Despite my best efforts at home remedies, tempting food, tlc etc etc he had refused to eat anything, not even his most favourite prawn treats.
It’s distressing how distressing a sick animal is and Cat has been adding to the general gloom of an already gloomy household. Today I bit the bullet and took him to the vet. Luckily I have not cancelled the pet insurance and will only have to pay the excess for the treatment (in theory anyway). “Does he like rubber?” the vet inquired as she examined him. I’ve already mentioned his rubber fetish – apparently it’s quite common with “oriental” cats but can lead to the ingestion of rubber bands which of course does them no good at all.
He stayed in at the vet’s. She couldn’t feel a blockage but he was clearly an ill cat and needed blood tests etc. If he was seriously dehydrated she said he’d have to stay in overnight on a drip. If not he would be better off back at home. “These oriental pedigree breeds, they’re a bit too special,” she said, tactfully.
I was called to pick him up in the afternoon. His temperature was normal, his bloods were normal, he was borderline dehydrated, had stubbornly refused to produce anything from either end for the vet to examine and equally stubbornly refused to eat anything she or the doting nurses tried to tempt him with.
So there he was, in his box, throat shaved, drugged to the eyeballs with anti-nausea meds, antibiotics, painkillers, worm and parasite killers, appetite stimulants and goodness knows what else. I was given a little brown paper carrier bag containing six (yes, six) different types of specialist food to tempt him with, sachets, tins and bags. “These oriental breeds,” she said (that phrase again…) “can get themselves into a spiral of not eating if they feel unwell and of course the longer it goes on the more difficult it is to break the pattern. They don’t do well staying overnight, these oriental breeds. Bring him back first thing in the morning. If he hasn’t eaten anything he will have to go on a drip tomorrow.”
Yes, I got the message. He’s a ridiculously expensive, overbred, highly strung, effete creature who’s basically suffering from anorexia and in the process of starving himself to death. Jeeez. Just what I need right now. To spend a hundred quid on a fucking stupid self-harming cat. Besides, nobody’s allowed to have anorexia in my house except me.
I opened various of the tins and sachets from the paper bag. No. No deal. No way. Some he deigned to sniff at, briefly. Others he refused even to approach. Suddenly inspiration struck. What was it he goes wild for? tinned sardines. I usually let him lick the tin, don’t actually give him any fish, but he obviously loves them. So I opened a tin.
He only ate a couple of teaspoons worth which I mixed with a tiny number of kibbles of his normal dry food, but at least it’s something. He then crouched very very still for several hours with his eyes closed and an unutterably weary expression on his face. But that’s better than throwing it straight back up.
So it’s back to the vet first thing in the morning to see if she thinks he needs x-rays or not because, given the number of rubber bands and small toys there are lying around the house which he is quite capable of having ingested, we can’t yet rule out some kind of internal blockage.
My main worry, though, is that I end up with a cat which will only eat tinned sardines. How on earth am I going to pay for that? He’ll have to go. Perhaps I could have a small white fur collar and cuffs on my austenesque cardigan which is now, finally, under construction.