I am in such despair! Possum is still refusing to eat and I am having to feed him by force. It's breaking my heart, every time I have to force open his mouth and stuff food in, either with my fingers or with a syringe - and I'm sure half of it doesn't actually go into his mouth but all over him and me and the towel I have wrapped round him like a baby's bib to keep him clean. I feel like such a sadist. Cats are so very conscious of their dignity and I feel I am stripping him of his.
My stepmother says, if he's made it so clear he wants to die, why do I not let him? Why not, indeed?
But how can I? He's old, yes! But, as so many of you have pointed out, cats can live into their twenties. Possum is only seventeen. He isn't ill. Now that we've discovered the problem with the arthritis, and it's being treated, he shouldn't be in pain any more. And, indeed, yesterday, I caught him jumping down from the dressing-table. If he jumped down, that means he was able to jump up - even if it was in two stages, first to the chair and then to the dressing-table. So, arthritis or no, he is getting his mobility back. I don't know whether he has just got himself into a mindset of wanting to die, and has dug himself in so deep that he can't back out of it, or whether he's pining for Pixie, or just feels alone all day. If it's the latter - in just eleven days, I'm starting my pre-retirement leave and will be able to spend all day with him. But how to keep him going till then? You remember we were afraid, when I postponed my retirement by four months, that he might not last that long?
Einat tells me she had a couple of patients with a similar problem and put me in touch with a lady whose cat refused to eat and she force-fed the cat for three weeks before he changed his mind and agreed to eat of his own accord. But that cat was only thirteen years old and sick. Possum is seventeen and a quarter and, as far as we can tell, quite healthy except for his age. Her cat refused to eat because he was sick. Old Age isn't a sickness! So I can only think he has decided his time has come! How can I justify putting him to sleep just because he's old?!
Yet now, he looks at me - when he looks at me at all - with such sad, accusing eyes. He looks for new places to hide - or turns his back when he sees me coming. How would I feel if I were old and in a nursing home, and someone grabbed me and held my mouth open by force and shoved food in it, and half of it spattered all over me and I wasn't even allowed to die with dignity?
But if I give up now - without even trying - how will I ever forgive myself? Martha (the lady Einat put me in touch with) said it took her three weeks, during which time, she built her whole day around feeding her cat every couple of hours. Don't I owe Possum at least that much time - especially when in just a week and a half, I'll have all the time in the world for him?