Last month, during one of those really hot days, it was a Saturday, if I remember rightly, Opie laid in the sun.
It was a really hot day. It was a hot day in the shade. It was a hotter day in the sun.
Opie just laid there, stretched out. Panting. Open mouth panting. Heatstroke on the way.
I grabbed him up and brought him in the cooler house. I took him into my bathroom, shut the door and set him up with a litter box, water, a soft, clean folded up towel to lay on. I wet a washcloth, wrung it out and wiped him down with it.
I heated up some lactated ringers (fluids) and gave him 60cc. I set one of the webcams up and left him in there to cool down. I watched him on the camera, instead of bugging him with my human presence. He did rest a bit and I checked on him and wiped him down after the dampness was gone. He came out of it okay, but I was extremely cautious with him the rest of the weekend. We'd planned on hitting the theater to see Equalizer 2 on Sunday, but did not. I wanted to watch the cat.
He recovered nicely, but the fact that he didn't even move out of the sun was worrisome to me. Which means, I keep a closer eye on him than normal.
And when you figure in the COPD he was diagnosed with last year, I'm doubly cautious. Watching him breathe is something I do. I measure his respiration next to the other cat sleeping next to him. Okay, not fast breathing, no labored intake of oxygen, he's okay.
Now, the mind is an information trap of sorts. And things you've been told or read in the past, will wiggle their way up into the present brain. Like "when the kidneys are shot, the body has a hard time regulating body temperature". Hmmm...interesting. Ope is seventeen. Kidney failure is possible. He has been dehydrated on a regular basis this past week.
Wednesday, I watched him walking around the yard, looking for a place to pee. I watched him squat, but it never seemed as if there was a satisfactory result. And my mind flashed back to Oliver. His kidneys did him in. And he wasn't peeing, but he was trying. My mind compared this to Opie and came to the possible conclusion that Opie isn't peeing because there's nothing in his bladder. And I started giving him the fluids every other day.
He cried a lot this past week. He was hungry, but wouldn't eat. He's drooling more than he normally does. When he breathes, the air is coming from his mouth, not his nose. You can see the little puffs of his mouth when the air comes out. His right nostril has started to drip. There could be so much going on with him, that I picked up the phone yesterday morning and made an appointment for him. This morning, 9:30.
So, yesterday morning, after the phone call, I decided to try a chicken breast in the Instant Pot. And he loved it. I put him on the counter, put the shredded chicken on a paper towel (easier for him to eat that way) and he ate. And since then, he's been eating that chicken every three or four hours. Not a lot at once, but he is eating and I sit with him as he eats to keep the buzzards away.
So, we get to the vet's, wait for a little bit, then see the doctor. Opie has lost weight since May, when he had that weird butt thing. The vet comes in, I tell her what's been going on for the past few months, she asks some questions and he is taken into the back for blood work. We wait some more then she comes back in.
His kidneys are in GREAT shape. No problem there. She thinks one of the things I told her about (weird squatting spasm when standing to eat the chicken on the counter) is arthritis. She's pretty sure he's got some at the base of his tail and his mid to lower back. A few of his liver values were a little above normal, he'll be getting meds for that, they should be in this afternoon.
And he's getting doxycycline for the respiratory problem. And she added that any time any of the cats had problems like this, they'd just fill the prescription, we wouldn't have to bring them in. I should keep giving him the fluids for a week, since she thinks he could be losing fluids through the mouth breathing. She said the hardening in his lungs forces him to breathe a little harder and that makes it easier for things like this to take hold.
And we're home.
All in all, good news.