Spud died a few years ago after developing a carcinoma in reaction to a feline leukemia shot, but Spike carried on, despite his significantly overweight 10 kg bulk. In December, my mother emailed me let me know that his health was deteriorating, but after a few weeks he rallied and regained his energy and appetite. Then, as I walking up 24th Street in Washington last week, on my way back from a day of meetings on the Hill to my hotel in the west end, my mother called to tell me he had taken a sudden turn for the worse, that the vet had drained 90 ml of bloody fluid from his lungs, and that he might expire any day.
I arrived a few days later to find Spike sitting on a towel in his favourite spot, where one of the overhead spotlights in the living room created a warm spot on the floor. His breathing was laboured, and he uncharacteristically was refusing all food. He rarely moved over the next few days, his legs unsteady and clearly exhausted by moving just a few meters. Occaisionally he would drink water, but rarely took any food. But gently stroking his ears or his back still elicited a gentle purring. A couple of days later he emitted a pained yowl, something he would do with increasing frequency until Thursday, when he began complaining almost constantly. He stopped purring in response to my attentions. He was so weak that he was unable to make the trip to his litter box and urinated on the floor. Finally we made the decision to have him put to sleep early Friday morning. Thursday night I spent sleeping on the sofa next to him, stroking him and calming him when his yowling let me know he was suffering.
26 April 2008