We had to put our Henry to sleep at a little after 6 p.m. today.
On Aug. 22, he stayed out all night -- which was not entirely unusual, because he did do that -- but the next day he didn't come back until about 5:30 p.m., about a half-hour after the painters had left. I guess he had been frightened of all the activity around the house.
During the next few days, we noticed that he was drinking an awfully lot (& urinating to match), symptoms we later learned were signs of diabetes. Although we didn't think much of it at the time, during the next month we noticed that his appetite had dropped off noticeably. Finally, on Friday, Sept. 22, two days before Cindy & Israel & girls returned to Tiberias, we took him to the vet. As usual, he was not happy with this.
His weight had dropped from 21.4 pounds earlier this summer to 15.8 pounds. They took blood tests & said his glucose was very high -- could be diabetes -- plus there were some liver problem indications. Israel & I took him back in the next day (Saturday) & additional blood tests with a high glucose level confirmed the diagnosis of diabetes (& the veterinarian -- we dealt with three different ones -- said that cats sometimes had "transient" diabetes), gave Henry a shot of insulin & furnished me with a supply of insulin plus the syringes with which to inject him.
Well, I gave him his shots for a week-plus (during which he ate a little, but not too much) & then took him in on the following Tuesday (Oct. 3), where the veterinarians force fed him & blood tests found his glucose back to normal. Transient diabetes!!!
We stopped the insulin. He spit up some foam the next day, didn't eat on Thursday & ate some Chef's blend on Friday. Back to the vet, where the glucose was again normal, though a bunch of the liver disease tests were threatening. Transient diabetes!! But the cat still wasn't eating. And occasionally spitting up foam. And we noticed he wasn't drinking much (if any) either.
We left on Oct. 19 for Birmingham, Ala., for the annual USAHA meeting, where I do the public relations duties, and returned a week later. Gladys, our nice neighbor who was watching the cat while we were gone, said he hadn't eaten or drunk & had gotten out a couple of nights. (Actually, when we arrived home from BWI about 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, & drove up the driveway, there was Henry, mewing & ready to come in the house!)
Another trip to the vet (more signs of liver disease) resulted in antibiotic pills & liquid to be injected with a syringe (producing an almost punctured index finger on the left hand with the first & a deep claw mark on the right ring finger with the second). Henry does not take medicine well. ("I am brown, hairy & self-contained.")
This goes on, but the bottom line is that he wasn't eating & wasn't drinking & when he did drink a little, he spit up brown stuff. The veterinarian said the only way we could get him to eat was to suture a tube in his throat and feed him that way with a syringe & liquid food. I said my Henry wouldn't put up with that & I wouldn't want him to.
So, against all odds, we hoped for the best, figuring that as long as he was not in pain or suffering, life was still enjoyable -- or at least o.k. -- & maybe there would be a miracle. But, during the last few days, his activity slowed down immensely, and the brown spit-ups the last couple of days -- particularly this morning -- told us that "life was no longer that good." His weight was down to 11 pounds, 4 ounces.
So, no more flea problems; no more worrying about whether the cat would come back in the morning when he'd been out all night; & no more friendly furry creature sleeping between us or at the foot of the bed. We will miss him.
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Footnote: When we took him in to be euthanized, there was another guy there with a cat & as we left, he caught up to me & I wish I could remember his words, because he said something about a saying on the crematorium to the effect that "though I am gone, your memories of me will remain." The words were very nice -- especially from a complete stranger -- & I wish I could remember them to put here.
Henry: March 9, 1992 - November 15, 2000