Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Tisha, our 18 1/2 year old Persian, is suffering from declining health; while we're doing some tests to determine why, Dr. Lane warned us that the tests may not show up any particular problem. Persians aren't particularly long-lived cats, and the fact that she has been with us for almost 19 years is remarkable.

The photo shows Tisha when she was about 12 or so; as I look at recent photos of her, I can see a malaise that one rarely notices on a day-to-day basis. She's very tired, and moves stiffly; her appetite is declining, and her general comfort seems to be compromised. I worry about her; I've had her since she was six weeks old, when we saw her at a pet store and someone else remarked on how she was the least attractive cat in the bunch because of her flat face. I fell in love with that flat face the moment I saw it, though, and I knew she had to go home with us that day.

She and Asia joined us on the same day, and they were lifelong partners until Asia passed away just over three years ago. They slept side-by-side; they explored together; they played together; they groomed one another. She has been lonely since Asia's death; the addition of Anna and Mischa to the house helped to a degree, but the presence of another companion in the house doesn't replace the loss of a beloved sister.

I am burdened by the fear that today's tests might show that Tisha's quality of life has deteriorated to the point that we are doing her a disservice by keeping her with us. She's dwindled down to 6 1/2 pounds from a high of 9 pounds; as recently as six months ago, she weighed 7 1/2 pounds, so that's a pretty serious weight loss. She's losing control of her bowel and bladder as well, and I know that she feels uncomfortable because she was such a meticulous cat insofar as grooming was concerned.

I just gave her some medication, but I almost hated to wake her up to do so; the only time she seems comfortable or peaceful is when she's deeply asleep.

I worry that such a devoted and loving cat might be suffering without our being aware, and I fear that these recent problems are signs of a downward spiral that even Dr. Lane can't reverse. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't hold a great deal of hope...

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