Greetings to all Possum's friends.
Well, I took everyone's advice and went to a different vet. This one has a much better bedside manner and, what's more, her clinic is only a five minute drive away instead of on the other side of town.
When I took Possum to see her yesterday afternoon and started telling her how he's stopped eating, practically the first thing she said was: "Does he want to die?" and then she turned to him and said: "Do you want to die? We're going to have to change your mind about that, sweetie."
Oh, and she also said she likes senior kitties - they're more of a challenge!
I told her all Possum's history and she asked a lot of questions about how he had reacted to the loss of Pixie. Then she took blood samples but it wasn't possible to take urine samples, she didn't think Possum (who was severely dehydrated) had any urine to give.
I told her about the appetite pills Dr. Adrian had prescribed. She agreed about the pills, but not the dosage. Dr. Adrian prescribed Mirtazapine 15mg, a quarter pill 3 times a day. Dr. Einat said that's too high and recommends a quarter pill once every three days. Then she administered fluids by infusion and "force-fed" Possum some A/D Critical Diet with a fraction of the pill inside. Possum resisted at first but afterwards, actually licked some of the food from her hands. She sent us home with instructions to administer saline subcutaneously, about 40 ml a day and to force-feed Possum if necessary for the next few days. She promised to send the blood tests to a very reliable lab in Tel Aviv and get the results to me today. Somehow, I went home with a feeling of hope - further buoyed up when we got home and Possum actually ate almost half a can of Fancy Feast without me having to resort to force. I was sufficiently encouraged to leave out more food for him overnight, in the hope of waking up in the morning to find he'd eaten most of it.
I was bitterly disappointed this morning to find the food untouched. I decided that, since Dr. Adrian had specified a dose of one quarter pill three times a day and Dr. Einat specified one quarter every three days, I would take a chance and give him another quarter this morning. It was a battle, I can tell you! Pill Pockets, or whatever they're called, don't seem to be available in Israel, so I made a Do-It-Yourself version with a morsel of chicken from the soup left over from Shabbat. I was afraid he was going to choke on it when I forced him to swallow it. It still hadn't had any effect an hour later when I went to work.
In the late afternoon, Dr. Einat called me with the results of Possum's blood tests. "I've got a surprise for you," she said.
"Good surprise or bad surprise?" I thought, but did not say, though I was pretty sure from her tone of voice that it was good news.
"All of Possum's results are okay," she said. I asked what about urine tests. She said we could do them later although, in view of the blood tests, she, too, is wondering whether this is necessary at this time.
As you can imagine, I went home in much higher spirits than I had been in all day - only to have my hopes dashed once more when I opened the door, and Possum didn't come to greet me (as he used to before this crisis began). I also saw that the food I had left out for him hadn't been touched.
I administered his subQ fluids (I managed to prick my own thumb on the needle - I'm out of practice in the art of administering infusions, it seems) and then offered him a treat I had bought especially for him - sardines. People food. To my bitter disappointment, he wouldn't touch it. I decided there was no option but to force feed him, which I attempted, not very successfully.
But the worst was yet to come. I mentioned before that, even if he is trying to starve himself, at least he is still drinking. But this evening, I measured the water left in his bowl (which I had filled this morning with a litre of water - it's a big bowl, and it was 30 degrees Celsius in Jerusalem today).
The bowl still held a litre. I could have sworn I saw him drinking but it seems he just leans over the bowl and goes through the motions of drinking. Before that, he had been drinking about 250 ml of water a day, but I'd stopped measuring his water intake.
Now I am beginning to think he really does want to die and I can't understand why. Apart from his age, he's not been having any health problems. He's slowed down a bit but he was still playful and enjoyed being petted and having his tummy rubbed. For the last few days, though, he's shown no interest in that either, though he still came and snuggled up next to me last night for a while. True, he's alone for long periods throughout the day, now that he no longer has Pixie to keep him company. But it's 9 and a half months since she's been gone. Is it possible that it's only now that it has really begun to sink in that she's not coming back? Did I make a terrible mistake in not getting another furbaby to keep him company? Is it too late now?
How can I make my sweet baby want to live?