I was on a cemetery tour I’d organized for the Obscura Society on Saturday, when my phone buzzed. I didn’t check the message until the tour had ended and I was getting back into the car. My husband’s text said, “I think Morpheus needs to see the vet. When will you be home?”
I texted, but when that didn’t get an immediate response, I called. Still no answer. I was an hour from home, if traffic was in my favor. I tried not too worry and hoped my husband had the sense to call a cab.
Instead, he’d waited for me to get home. Morpheus had a blockage and was crying any time someone looked at him. My daughter made him a nest in my grandmother’s afghan. He purred briefly as I petted him, but he couldn’t get comfortable. His cry sounded like, “Mom!”
Our vet couldn’t see us, so they sent us to another vet in the neighborhood. I gathered Morpheus’s medicines and all the paperwork I’ve collected over the 16 months we’ve owned him. Off we went to the new vet.
The nurse seemed to grasp what I was saying about Morpheus’s allergies to chicken and grain and kitty laxatives, but the doctor, when he bustled in, immediately discounted the last year and a half that I’d struggled to find a cat food that wouldn’t poison my cat. “Oh, they always say it is a food allergy,” he said, waving his hand. “Have you had him tested?”
No, I said. My vet said those tests were expensive and unreliable.
“I am treating three cats for mold allergies and they are doing very well.”
I argued, trying to tell him all the different things we’ve tried with Morpheus, all the medicines he’s on now. The vet spoke louder and faster, drowning me out. He kept talking over me until I gave up.
18-month-old Morpheus had a urinary blockage, probably caused by the high protein no-grain diet he’s on to treat his allergies. The doctor planned to send him home with a special diet for his bladder problem. The diet only comes in chicken flavor, one of the things to which I think Morpheus is allergic. The doctor said, “It doesn’t matter if he’s allergic to it. You don’t know for sure he’s allergic to chicken, because you haven’t had him tested. The diet for his urinary problems is more important than his skin.”
Which would be true in another cat, I’m sure. But when he has a reaction to something, Morpheus pulls out his own fur by the mouthful. He licks his skin until it splits, until it gets infected. I have dragged him to the vet over and over for EGC outbreaks, which he’s suffered since we first brought him home from the SPCA.
If I had been alone, I might have had the courage to ask the doctor to put Morpheus to sleep. He hasn’t had his vaccines in the last year, since he’s an indoor-only cat with a compromised immune system. He’s on three daily medicines to boost his immune system. His body is resorbing his teeth, which need to come out. His body is attacking him from mouth to bladder. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on this cat since we brought him home at Christmas 2012.
My husband okayed the surgery to clear Morpheus’s bladder, even though it meant anesthesia, two kinds of catheters, and two nights stay at the vet. I hoped he wouldn’t bring home anything to our healthy cat.
The vet left us alone while he prepared for surgery. We talked to our daughter about taking Morpheus back to the SPCA after this is over. Our hope is that someone with veterinary skills will be looking for a cat who needs two daily pills, cortisone rubbed into his ears once a day, small measured feedings four times a day, and whatever kind of magic diet that won’t inflame his allergies but will also keep crystals from building up in his bladder — oh, and who can also afford to have his teeth pulled out. We’re hoping for a miracle worker.
Morpheus came home from the surgery last night. He’s got three more medicines to take now. His foreleg has a horrific bruise where the IV needle went in. His fur is greasy from lack of grooming. Our other car keeps hissing at him because he smells so weird. Despite the ibuprofen, he’s in too much pain to climb onto the furniture. Mostly he’s dragging himself from one sunbeam to another to nap today.
I’ve visited the last two vets who’ve seen him and gotten Morpheus’s files. I’m trying to remember all the different cat foods he’s had. I’ve gathered all his drugs together. Now I’m waiting for the SPCA to return my call and tell me if they will accept him back, if they think there’s any home for him where he’ll be an only cat and someone can stay will him all day to doctor him. My fear is that he’ll live out the rest of his life in a hospital cage, quarantined from all other animals.
I’ve been crying about this for days. I wanted so much to fix him. I think I may be too sensitive to have pets.