He is strong. Stronger than you or I. Certainly stronger than I.
He has battled gingivitis, which prompted all of his teeth (save one lower) to be removed, and restrict him to a life of canned food.
He battled high cholesterol, which caused him to have pancreatitis, which put him in the hospital for three days. After which, he struggled to eat for two weeks, forcing me to find something that he could stomach until he returned to his version of normal.
The ultrasounds that were done during his illness told us that he had smaller than normal kidneys, and the prognosis was negative. Cats like him didn't survive much past the age of seven. So, we knew - for whatever good that did us. Good for him, I guess.
The deterioration was slow. The numbers decreased as he started eating special kidney diet food and I gave him IV fluids. Inevitably, the disease would catch up with him, and by his mortality he would succumb. It was so slow that I didn't realize it myself until a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped eating the special kidney food. I blamed myself for not being more devoted to giving him his IV fluids, but I wondered if that was the cause or merely my guilt? He's my boy.
And then, he started vomiting. Last week. Vomiting up ... nothing ... just a white bubbly fluid. The kind of thing that makes one realize, "Wait ... what?"
A quick call to the vet, and Thor was on the table. His weight had dropped a pound (something else I had noticed) and his bloodwork numbers were off the charts - in a bad way. What was within Stage 3 of kidney failure was now well outside of Stage 4 in less than eight months. And yes, there are only four stages. The kind of numbers that, if you had a lottery ticket, would make you a millionaire for life. Only this lottery, you don't want to win.
I got the call on Tuesday. The call I suspected but didn't want. That Thor's behavior was excusable due to his extreme sickness. His smaller-than-normal kidneys were failing, and it was just a matter of time (a short time) before he had to give-in to an illness that affects 4 out of 5 cats. There are some extreme measures that could be taken, but none that could extend his life beyond the next 4 to 6 months. The end is inevitable.
Which leads me to think: Couldn't a big pharmaceutical company like Eli Lilly, Merck, or Pfizer come up with a cure for a disease that affect 4 out of 5 cats? It seems like a BAZILLION dollar idea, right? I suppose not. At least not in time for my Thor. But I digress.
Here we have my Thor, lying on the carpet in his version of agony, with me scrambling to find something for him to eat. The verdict that came was Meow Mix which, while not on his diet, I figured was within tolerance of a cat about to become ashes. After all, he has less than a month, so why not make it as happy as possible? Take the kids to McDonald's.
As it is, he is sitting in the living room (you call that living?) apart from me, while he usually sits with me, wherever I am. It's a "cat thing" that they don't seem to want to disappoint us by being less than their best around us. It translates to us, as I do not want to be less than myself among you. Thor and I are kindred spirits. I am struggling to live without him. Nuts, right?
He is on a path. It's a short path, and I do not know how long it is - but I will live it with him - because he as lived so much with me. He has been my best friend through some of my worst days. His nose has been at my front door every day. His body has lied next to mine every night, and he will be next to me on the day when I finally have to say 'goodbye' to my friend and companion.