Bad News.

We had some really, really bad news this week. Kitty had been acting kind of sluggish for the last two days, so on the third day we took him in for a checkup. He’d just seen the vet three weeks earlier for his annual checkup and passed with flying colors, so we thought maybe he had a stuck hairball or a cold or something. At worst, that he’d swallowed some straw, or a bead, or a particularly large cricket.

After his weight and temperature and xrays were taken, we learned that he’d lost 1/10th of his body weight, he had a temperature of 105.3, and he had lost 2/3 of his liver mass. But it wasn’t until after the lab tests came back that we learned (after two days of keeping him in the hospital, poor thing, he didn’t understand why we were leaving him) that little Kitty has FIP, “Dry” Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Apparently while 30% of cats have the “root” virus, the Coronavirus, in 1% of infected cats that Coronavirus mutates into FIP.

It is terminal. I asked the vet how long he had, if it was a couple months to a couple years, and she replied that she would guess about one to three weeks.

Kitty is on prednisone, nutritional supplements, and antibiotics now. He seems to be doing just fine. He sleeps all the time, and he’s being more of a snugglebug than he ever was before: sitting and kneading and sleeping on us! He doesn’t seem to be in that much pain, and he’s eating very, very well (seconds and thirds and fourths and fifths…) It’s hard to believe the vet when he looks so close to normal. It’s hard to believe that the onset of this disease could have been so quick. It’s hard to believe that a three-year-old cat can have only a couple weeks to live. It’s hard to believe, period.

I remember when I would sit in my bathrobe typing papers, and as a tiny kitten he would crawl into my voluminous sleeve and sleep with his nose and the tips of his paws hanging out.

I remember how I had to teach him to clean up after himself in the litterbox. At one point I was giving him several baths a day.

I remember how he would mew and mew and mew at night because he would get lost under the bed, or because he couldn’t get up in it – he was too small!

I remember the second night we had him, we were sleeping and he came padding up Josh’s body, purring like a lawn mower, stood on his chin, and nibbled him on the nose. I expected Josh to blow up, but all he said, still half asleep, was “Oh he’s so cute!”

I remember how he would always curl up on our shoulders to go to sleep.

I remember how once he got so mad he was crouched on the ground and tried to leap at my face as I was standing up. He was only the size of my two fists, but he almost made it.

He is the softest cat I have ever known, and I think also the handsomest. His tail is longer than the rest of his entire body. He is the first cat I have owned which is close to entirely mine: I feed him, bathe him, give him medicine, and clean up after him. It is me that he snuggles with at bed time. It is me that he chooses to sit with and lean against when we’re both on the couch. I am the only person he will let pet his belly.

Losing him will be harder than any other pet’s passing has been; perhaps because I have never loved another pet as much as I love him.

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