Something is wrong with one of the cats we adopted as an adult from a shelter 9 years ago. Antibiotics, special food and diagnostic tests have not revealed why she refuses to eat like she used to (like a pig). Willow, once nicknamed “Willow The Pillow” because of her lively chubbiness is now just plain Willow.
We keep saying once we do this test or try that medication, we will stop and let nature takes its course. The cat is about 12 years old, which is up there but not ancient. But then test results send us down a path of decisions we did not anticipate. If there is something to be discovered that is easily correctable, we will do it. If it is not easily correctable, we will not. Unfortunately, there are no clear indicators of how to move forward because our good vets have not been able to discover the cause. We continue to push antibiotics and now have added two heart medications for a mild cardiomyopathy that while troublesome, does not warrant the severity of her anorexia.
We agreed to try her for two weeks on the new meds before making the “E” decision.
When do you stay, now we stop? This is highly subjective and never to be judged. Some cat owners do nothing while their pets become sicker and eventually wander off to die. Others go to extraordinary lengths to extend the life of a beloved companion. Many times, decisions are based on finances but I have known owners who could easily afford veterinary care but refuse to get it for a suffering animal because its “wasting” money, while others crash and burn in debt to hold on to the hope that one more treatment, one more medication, will bring a sick pet back to life.
We are balancing Willow’s ability to recover and our ability to afford to make that happen, if that is possible, knowing that relieving her suffering is more important than our pain at losing her. As Antoine St. Exupery says in The Little Prince, “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed….”