There aren’t a lot of things more horrible than watching a beloved companion starve.
Coolidge pretty much quit eating two days ago. I began giving him sugar water from a syringe. He took it well, but it didn’t get him back to eating his food. This morning I diluted some of his special renal diet soft food with some water and tried to get it into a syringe. The uptake hole was too small to draw much, but what he got in his mouth he took with the same relish as the sugar water.
I dumped the remaining tinned food, along with a fair amount of water, into my Kitchen Aid’s bowl, and used the whipping attachment to make a thin slurry the syringe could draw. I fed Coolidge the slurry and he downed what didn’t dribble down his chin with increasing gusto. Oh God, my cat was never inappetent! He just didn’t have the strength to stand over his bowl and eat!
It’s not an easy maneuver to syringe feed a cat while sitting in a chair, and it’s hard on my back, sitting on the floor with Coolidge in my lap while I draw his life-sustaining food into the syringe and slowly express the slurry into his mouth. His acceptance is my magnificent reward. We knew it was going to be tough terrain along this journey—which was, after all, assigned to us.
Our vet called to check on how Coolidge is doing. We are blessed to have a vet who is so thorough, comprehensive, earnestly interested in Coolidge, and encouraging to work with. I presented some concerns about Coolidge’s ability to stand and walk capably, his receding desire to eat a sustaining amount, and urinary and bowel retentiveness. Our vet thinks these likely indicate a Vitamin-B deficiency. My syringe-habituated hands will give Coolidge a new weekly injection.
Some might consider these things heroic end-of-life measures, but I have come to see that you cannot be your cat’s hero, unless your cat is a hero.