My buddy boy Zip was a New Year's baby in 1999 and is now seventeen and a half years old. That makes him a very old man in cat years. The last few months have been pretty rough. In May or early June he came upstairs from the basement where he sleeps at night (don't feel bad for him - he sleeps on a velvet West Elm couch in the media room!) and was dragging his hind legs and barely able to walk. I immediately thought he'd had a stroke and got him into the vets. After bloodwork and x-rays he was diagnosed with severe arthritis. His hips are completely shot and his spine where the tail attaches is completely abnormal. The vet thought he'd taken a spill that may have contributed to his sudden loss of mobility. I had been noticing for several months how carefully he lowered himself down to rest so that made sense. We got him on a daily dose of Cosequin and a baby aspirin every other day. He had also lost a tremendous amount of weight - over 4 pounds in the past year and a half. His back end is nothing but skin and bones and that's such a contrast to the giant 16 pounder he was at a year and a half.
For the past couple of months the aspirin and Cosequin seemed to be helping. When Alex and Justin visited a few weeks ago they were stunned by the change in Zip's appearance. They hadn't seen him in two years. Since they were here I've managed to get Zip to put on a little bit of weight - his appetite picked up recently and I felt like he was filling out a bit.
Yesterday Zip took a fall from my bamboo chest. He still tries to jump but his abilities are not what they once were and he often misses. I was a bit afraid that he may have hurt himself. He's also thrown up a number of times this week and when that happens it weakens him in a way that wouldn't have affected him at all as a young cat.
This morning when Zip came up from the basement he could barely walk and his back legs were sliding all over the tile floor. It's been a very rough day. We got his aspirin in though I realized that due to his tummy upset he may not have gotten it in him very regularly this past week. I'm hoping that with a few more doses he'll start to move better, but I'm not very optimistic.
I feel like we're nearing the end of the road for our old boy and it breaks my heart. He has been such a wonderful, sweet companion, and I am his person, for which I'm most honored. I would do anything for him but I can't handle the thought of having to make that very hard decision. I keep hoping he'll go in his sleep but things never seem to work out that way with our furry friends. I'm trying to be okay with that and I'm hoping I will recognize when it is time to let go. Think a good thought for my sweet boy.