Friday, January 23, 2009

Someone deserves a whole can of tuna...

So Wednesday night I watched the season premiere of Lost (it’s back! Finally! After eight long months of Lost silence, we were FINALLY given some new episodes!), and then instant messaged Rick up in Chicago for a little while. And just when I was thinking about heading off to bed, I noticed Allegro standing over in the hallway. But there was something weird about the way she was standing – her back was sort of arched over, and she looked like she was hesitating about what to do next. And then she started walking – a strange, wobbly, uncoordinated walk. THAT was not right. I picked her up and put her next to me on the couch, and she attempted to jump from the couch to the coffee table – a small jump she’s executed many times before. But this time, she clumsily missed the coffee table and fell to the floor. By this time I was quite worried. I told Rick what was going on, and he wondered if I wanted to take her to the 24-hour emergency vet a few miles away. I picked her back up and put her on the couch, and this time she awkwardly arranged herself until she was comfortable, and then stayed there in listless contentment…

Now, Allegro is 17 years old, which is quite the feline senior citizen. So I’ve been preparing myself for a while for an inevitable decline in her sprightly health. It’s not something I like to think about – that this friend who has been with me for 16 of her 17 years will not be with me much longer. And I think that at this point in her life, the most important thing is that she’s happy and comfortable. So since she didn’t appear to be in any pain, I decided to just wait and see how she would do overnight.

I put her favorite blanket in a spot on the floor that gets lots of sunlight, and when I got up in the morning, that’s where she was. She was still acting rather lethargic – she wouldn’t even raise her head to look at me when I walked by. But the one bit of encouragement I had was that she still wanted to eat – I put a few of her favorite treats in front of her, and she gobbled them up quite happily. She also lapped up a saucer of milk I placed next to her nose. By the afternoon, she was picking herself up and wobbly walking to the laundry room to eat her usual food. Rick got home from Chicago in the afternoon, and we decided to go ahead and take her in to the vet's office just to see what their opinion was. After thoroughly annoying Allegro (she was NOT happy…) the vet gave us the two most probable diagnoses – either she’d had a stroke (which was my first thought when I saw her walking so unsteadily), or she had a tumor somewhere on her spine that was causing neurological problems. In the latter case, we would have to expect her to steadily get worse as the tumor grew bigger.

However, in the case of a stroke, cats tend to recover rather quickly. So I was quite pleased when I woke up this morning and Allegro was acting much more alert and more like her normal self. Yesterday, even when she was lying down, it seemed like she couldn’t figure out how to arrange her legs in such a way as to be comfortable. But today, she’s curled up on her blanket just like she usually likes to curl up. And she’s walking MUCH more steadily now. So I think we can be fairly certain that she had a stroke – which isn’t a great thing, of course, but it’s preferable to a tumor on her spine.

It seems unfair, sometimes, that these pets of ours woof and purr their way into our hearts, even when we KNOW we’ll be forced to say good-bye one day. And they always, no matter what, display examples of unconditional love – even when we humans don’t always deserve it. I know many people who couldn’t care less about cats or dogs, or any animals for that matter. And I feel rather sorry for them. Because they’re missing out on some very profound lessons – if only they’d be willing to learn.

So for now, it looks like Allegro will be with us for a little while longer. And she’ll be getting extra scratches behind the ears, and extra pats on the head, and extra kitty treats, and extra licks of my bowl after I’ve eaten ice cream, and extra nibbles of chicken when I’m eating dinner – because as long as she’s here in my life, I want her to know that she’s still the Queen of the House…

Allegro, Protector of the Sandals, roaring like the little lion she is...

6 comments:

Mom said...

Awwww! That was so sweet. And Allegro is a sweet kitty. I hope she'll be healthy for a long time to come. And as usual, you write beautifully!

Love ya!
Mom

Georgie B said...

Cute cat.

Guardian of the sandals.

A most excellent job.

JMS said...

Aw...poor Allegro! I completely understand how helpless you (as a human) can feel when you can't really help your beloved animal! I'm glad to know she'll be hanging around a while longer!

I have a friend whose cat is like my own cat (I love him that much) and several years ago, he got hit by a car. Not enough to kill him, thankfully, but definitely enough to render him handicapped. He now pushes his right front paw in front of him as he walks like a hockey stick because of radial nerve damage, but otherwise is still his fat, soft, sweet self.

Glad I stumbled across your blog!

~Jennifer (my blog: http://jennifershell.blogspot.com)

Lisa said...

Thanks, mom -- and Allegro says "meow" (cat for "thanks for caring so much about me"). :)

Georgie -- thanks! For some reason, she's always seemed to enjoy sleeping near shoes... :)

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by! You know, my grandparents used to have a cat who got a leg caught in an animal trap, and had to have it amputated -- so she spent much of her life with three legs (and she was still able to catch mice! :)).

mom said...

AND - she lived to be 22 years old!

Aunt Carol said...

And her name was Tripod. :)