my cat Toby.

For almost 13 years, I’ve had my cats at my side. My entire adult life they’ve been my sidekicks and seen me through all sorts of ups and downs . . . and now even sharing a home with two dogs . . . they’ve taken it all in stride.

A few weeks ago I noticed Toby started getting this horrible hacking cough. It was dry and so I assumed he was having a rough time with a hairball or something. It progressively got worse and within a few days, he went to hacking up phlegm to hacking up blood tinged phlegm. He’s also lost a lot of weight and I knew I had to get him into the vet for a thorough check over.

So, on Friday, I dropped him off in the morning – balling in the car as I left him – so he could spend time getting all the appropriate tests run. I was prepared for the news not to be good. When they called to ask me to come in and discuss everything, I couldn’t help but ask though, “Is it bad news?”

I was met with a . . . “Well. There’s a just a lot going on. It’s complicated, so we’d prefer to sit down and chat about it.”

I immediately freaked out. He Who Shall Not Be Named was in a meeting an hour away, but I called his phone four times in a row anyway hoping he’d step out and take my call. I was going to beg him to come right home and take me to the vet because I just couldn’t handle it. (Turns out he left his phone in the car. Good thing I wasn’t in labor, sheesh!!!!!!)

With He Who Shall Not Be Named unavailable, I called my mom and I didn’t even have to ask – she came right over so I wouldn’t have to be alone.

I got to our appointment and the vet sat me down and showed me all the x-rays and walked me through it. And they were right . . . it’s all so complicated and a lot going on.

He has an enlarged esophagus that isn’t pushing food down well (possibly from sucking in air, they can’t really say), lungs riddled with either a bunch of tumors or some sort of thick scarring tissue making it hard to breathe, a distended stomach with pockets of air from his gulping harder to take in air, and the worst of all, as if all that isn’t bad enough . . . his right kidney is full of kidney stones and the blood panel indicated he is in renal failure.

I cry just typing all of that out. My poor little, one of a kind gray cat. My spunky little guy who sounds more like a dinosaur when he meows than a cat. Life without Toby just doesn’t seem possible.

The ONLY saving grace in all of this . . . Toby’s personality hasn’t changed and he isn’t acting like he is in pain. And the vet agreed he does not believe he is any acute distress. Which is hard to believe considering the things he has going on in his itty bitty body.

As for the prognosis?

We really don’t know. Our vet couldn’t diagnose the source of each specific issue or even say if they were all related are separate occurrences. To find out more, we’d have to seek out multiple specialists for more in depth testing . . . but, with Toby’s age and preparing for a baby . . . specialists just aren’t an option. And he’s spent so much of his life in and out of the ophthalmologist with his eye surgeries, I don’t want to have to put him through more.

I just want him to be comfortable and happy, for as long as that is possible.

So, for now, the vet put him on a round of antibiotics and steroids in the hopes that helps his lung situation in the event it is some sort of acute bronchitis or allergies. We’ll get him rechecked in two weeks to see if there’s been any improvement.

As far as his kidneys – really nothing we can do except put him on a special kidney diet. He’s now on wet food for chronic renal failure. It will keep him more hydrated and be much easier to digest. And he LOVES it, which is great!

I just love this cat so very much. Tate and Toby are my first pets as an adult and thinking about losing either one of them is heart wrenching. (Thankfully, Tate is continuing to be healthy, fat and happy.)

All I can do now is continue to love him as much as I can and be prepared to make that hard decision once he’s no longer living with any sort of quality of life.

Animals are heartbreakers :(. But they are so worth it.

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