The Magnificent Murphy had been feeling run down and not totally himself ever since his last vet encounter, which some of you might recall - when he went in for an ear operation to relieve pressure and infection in both his outer ear pinna (which was swollen to an unconscionable size) and inner ear. They probably gave him far too much anaesthesia at that time because he came home half mad and it took him some time to get himself back together - and the ear was never good after that, and neither was he, and perhaps that was why things came to the pass that they did - but on Saturday, May 30th, he ate his last can of food in a normal fashion... and then shut down. He ate nothing for a day, and it was cause for worry but not panic, it might have just been indigestion, whatever. But after 48 hours had passed he had also quit drinking, and by Tuesday, the 3rd of June, he was staggering weakly around using the walls for support. This was when he was bundled up and taken to my own cats' vet, and left there to be re-hydrated and for the underlying reasons for his sudden collapse to be perhaps elucidated. I warned the vet that he was by reputation an ornery hissy-fit imperial cat who ate vets for lunch, but it was hard to believe this, because the cat we handed over was more or less comatose.
They diagonosed a severe inner ear infection... and diabeted, so bad that he was actually in ketoacidosis and close to complete insulin shock. His blood sugar was sky high - they gave him four insulin injections in four hours and the vet told me on the phone that it had still not brought his sugars down to a "measurable" level. By the end of that harrowing day the cat's sugar was almost at 700, he was on IV hydration, and he was carted off to the overnight emergency clinic to be monitored and for more tests to be done. When we left him there, he was barely moving. That first night they brought down his sugar considerably but he was still neither eating nor drinking. My vet told me, after he was brought back to her the next morning, that she was worried about the fact that he was not rallying. They hammered another nail of death into his diagnosis - he had tested positive for FIV. And in point of fact by that night he was a limp dishrag, and I was told that unless he could get turned around miraculously over the next twelve hours it was curtains. Back to the emergency clinic with him, IV and all.
We had come to terms with the possibility of saying goodbye. We had spent the day on the phone with vets, with each other, in tears. By that night, with our hearts in pieces at our feet, we had agreed to see what would happen in the morning - and, if the cat still wasn't eating or drinking, it would be kindest on him to let him go.
But that night he sat up, and demanded food. That morning, he demanded water.
They took him back to the day-vet one more time. He was still on the IV but now he was annoyed by it and had to have a plastic collar to prevent him from chewing on it - and the vet said that he was starting to exhibit the symptoms of the cat which I had described to them when I first brought him in.
He was still on IV by the end of the day and it was not an option to bring him home, so back he went for the third night to the emergency overnight clinic.
He's at the day vet's again today, hissing and spitting and snarling. His sugar is down to a comprehensible level - more than 500 points down from his initial reading - and it is likely that he will be insulin-dependent for the rest of his natural life. There is little enough we can do for the FIV. But tonight... tonight he is coming home.
He is a big cat, and in his heyday he weighed close to 18 or 20 pounds. He currently weighs in at just over 11, a sack of loose bones in once magnificent but now dull and shedding silver-mackerel coat. He's wreck.
But he's alive. And he is coming home tonight.
We are all acutely aware that he is on bought time, and the next crisis will be his last. But he has been restored to us, if only for a little while.
Great Bast, Goddess of the Feline Race.
We are grateful.
We know that he is yours, and merely lent - but he has been on loan to us for fourteen years now, and it is hard, so hard, to think of letting go. We love him, and we are grateful that you gave him one more life to share with us. We know it is his last. When the time comes and you call him once again, we will let him come to you. But we had to try and bring him back. Just for a little while longer. We hope you understand.
Grant him a span more days with us. Let him come home, to his place, to his bed, to his food dish, to the love that waits for him there. Bless these days that remain for him and let him share them with us in peace and in comfort.
Thank you for letting him stay.
We will treasure the gift of these days that you have graciously given to him. We hope you understand how full our hearts are of him, how much love was lavished on him, how important he is to us in so many ways. We will send him back to your side when the time comes, and we will be grateful for the lifetime that we have been allowed to share with this the most extraordinary of your avatars. But just for another little while... thank you for letting him stay.
I will be offering up the requisite sacrifices.